Category Archives: Just for Fun!

2016 Car Show Winners

2016 Car Show Winners!

Under challenging conditions, nearly 400 car enthusiasts competed for recognition at the 22nd Annual Orange Plaza Car Show on April 17th in beautiful Old Towne Orange.  Thousands of spectators enjoyed the warm weather (91 degrees), light breeze (25 mph gusts) and fabulous local restaurants (yes, they really are fabulous).

Thank you to our many sponsors for making this show the premier event in the Southland!

Elwyn Bowl 2016

Bye-Bye to Bowling

Orange Plaza Rotary members and special guests gathered for the last Elwyn California Bowl-a-Thon on April 9th.  Elwyn is shifting their fundraising efforts to other events, such as the “Pinot and Palettes” event on June 26th and the 3rd Annual Fall Fling, set for September 24th.

Our club has sponsored bowling teams for more than 10 straight years, often including students from our Interact Club at El Modena High School, RYLA students, and other special guests.  Over the years, we have claimed the “Rotary Challenge” trophy several times, in a tough category of competitors from the Rotary Clubs of Huntington Beach, Anaheim Hills, Fountain Valley and Long Beach.

We will miss this opportunity for fun inter-club rivalry and fundraising with our friends.  However, we will continue to support Elwyn and their mission to provide vocational training and job placement for persons with disabilities.



Car Show Sponsor and Vendor Opportunities Now Available

2016 Car Show LogoOld Towne Orange will be rockin’ to the classics, customs, hotrods and streetrods on display at the 22nd Annual Orange Plaza Car Show, April 17, 2016.  Orange Plaza Rotary is the proud host of this Southern California tradition, which attracts 15,000 spectators to view 400 vehicles, enter to win fantastic prizes and sample the tastes of the many restaurants in this foodie mecca.

Vendor spaces and sponsorship opportunities are now available online at the event registration website.  Vehicle entry registration opens on February 1, 2016 at 8 a.m.  sharp.  Bookmark the registration page so you don’t miss a thing!

For more information about the Orange Plaza Car Show, please see the links on our website, or contact us at carshow @



July Cruise-In to Fight Polio

Orange Plaza Rotary welcomed local car enthusiasts to our regular meeting spot at Marie Callender’s on July 29th.  The “cruise-in” was a chance to check out some great cars and catch up with old friends.  Many participated in our “Dine-In and Donate” fundraiser, taking advantage of happy hour specials at Marie Callender’s.  The restaurant donated 20% of the proceeds to Orange Plaza Rotary, which will use the funds in the battle to End Polio Now.  Join us for the next cruise-in event on August 26th at Marie Callender’s.

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Announcing our Summer Cruise-In!

Cruise into the Marie Callender’s parking lot on July 29th or August 26th for cool cars, happy hour specials and great food!

Present your ticket when you dine and Orange Plaza Rotary will receive 20% of the sale. And don’t forget to order some delicious pie to go!

Eventbrite - Orange Plaza Rotary Cruise-In

 For Cruise-In July 29th and August 26th

Proceeds support the community and world service projects of Orange Plaza Rotary.  Check out our website to learn more about Rotary in your town.

Members of Orange Plaza Rotary with 2015-2016 District Governor Kevin Padilla

A Rededication to Service

Orange Plaza Rotary celebrated another year of service over dinner with family and friends at Orange Hill Restaurant on June 24th. The club, which marked its 30th anniversary in March, completed numerous youth and community service projects during the the 2014-2015 Rotary year.

These projects and more will continue, under the leadership of President Tracey L. Curtis:

  • Mentor Meals – this partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce matches at-risk high school juniors with adult mentors to discuss career and academic issues.  The program will begin its third year at El Modena High School in September.
  • Interact Leadership Program – also at El Modena High School, the Rotary sponsored Interact Club is open to all students on campus. Interact members provide service and support for numerous nonprofit events around the county each year.  Orange Plaza Rotary will expand its efforts with Interact this year, adding a mentoring and leadership skills program for student members.
  • Police Explorer Recognition – Orange Police Explorer Post 266 is a nationally-recognized unit, instilling discipline, self-confidence and leadership skills in its teen members.  Members of the program (a part of the Boy Scouts of America system) often struggle with difficult personal issues including poverty and the threat of homelessness.  Orange Plaza Rotary, in partnership with Orange Rotary and the Rotary Club of Orange North, will offer additional cash scholarships to assist Explorers as they continue in their studies and careers.

These and other service projects are funded by the Annual Orange Plaza Car Show, a premier Southern California event.  The 22nd Orange Plaza Car Show is scheduled for April 17, 2016.

At the club’s June event, Rotary District 5320 Governor Jim Paddock presented member Jack Sappington with a bejeweled pin in honor of Jack’s $5,000 donation to The Rotary Foundation. The Foundation manages donor funds, directing them into projects around the world to improve water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development in third world countries.

Orange Plaza Rotary is a network of neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.  The club meets Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at Marie Callender’s, 307 E. Katella Avenue, Orange.  For more information, visit the club website:




Walk this Way!

We had a great time taking in the sights of Old Towne during our walking tour on June 17th. Using information provided by the Orange Historical Society, our self-guided tour set out from the Grand Street Center past historic Craftsman and Victorian residences.  Taking a turn down Palm, we admired the classic architecture of Chapman University before heading south on Glassell toward “the circle”.  Along the way, we looked up at cornices with human faces and lions, examined exterior walls still bearing early 20th signage and appreciated the history of the many theaters that made Old Towne the entertainment center of the 1890s.

It was beautiful weather and we chatted in small groups as we made our way south, past the historic Sunkist Fruit Exchange, and finally arriving at Avila’s Ranchito, once the home of a Victorian styled church.  Under the glow of the stained-glassed windows, we sipped cold margaritas and enjoyed a meal and great company.

We’ll do this again!



21st Annual Car Show Rolls into Orange

The crowds really pick up around 10 a.m., but here’s the best kept secret about the Orange Plaza Car Show:  come at dawn.

As the sun comes up over Saddleback Peak, 400 classics, customs, hot rods and street rods rumble into the circle to take their places.  Against the backdrop of Old Towne’s early 20th century architecture, the ’32 Ford coupes look right at home alongside the 1950s Chevys.

Once in place, car owners pop open thermoses of coffee and polish chrome and glass for showtime.  As they work, they keep an eye on the competition and start to compare notes.  Tales are told of years of work, lovingly restoring a rusted castoff into a showpiece. Seasoned car veterans share tips with new owners about the finest metal shops, the best parts outlet and more.

By 9:00 a.m., when the Orange Police Explorer color guard marches into the Plaza and a high school choir performs a pitch-perfect rendition of the national anthem, the “car guys” have settled in for another day in sunny So Cal, prepared to greet the 15,000 people that will ooh and aah over their handiwork.  At 2 p.m., the best of the best will collect their trophies, while others will trade in long strips of raffle tickets for car polish kits, gift baskets or high end electronics.

And then it’s time to pack up and roll out, down Chapman Avenue and back home again.  Until next time, when the sun comes up over Saddleback Peak.


2015 Elwyn Bowling Teams

An Ohana Kind of Day

Hawaiians use the term “Ohana” to describe an extended family and the feeling of belonging. When we bowl for the special clients of Elwyn California, we know that feeling!  Since 2007, Orange Plaza Rotary has sponsored teams at the annual Elwyn California Bowl-a-Thon, which raises funds to support Elwyn’s programs providing vocational training and job placement for the disabled.

In the early days, we sometimes brought in “ringers” so we could claim bragging rights in the “Rotary Challenge” portion of the tournament.  These days, we are happy to congratulate the Rotary Club of Huntington Beach or Anaheim Hills Rotary Club for their wins, as we now recruit our bowlers from some very special groups of people.

In 2015, we welcomed RYLA students Josh and Sam, along with a couple of Sam’s friends.  And how terrific to welcome the Smithson family, bowling to raise autism awareness.  As always, we love to see the smiling face of Aiden, a Colombo cousin, as he bowls from his wheelchair at our side.


They Only Come Out at Night

IMG_20141030_162431Orange Plaza Rotary members and their families enjoyed mingling with thousands of ghost, ghouls and goblins (and a fair number of Disney princesses) at the annual City of Orange “Treats in the Streets” event.  The fall party shuts down the historic Orange Plaza so that attendees may trick or treat safely at local businesses, play games and create crafts at booths hosted by local organizations, and vie for the “best costume” award.

Orange Plaza Rotary ran its popular bean bag booth, handing out candy to all who played.

See you all next year!