What to do in SoCal this Easter weekend

Cooked and coloured Easter eggs on a conveyor belt. What are you up to this holiday weekend?
Cooked and coloured Easter eggs on a conveyor belt. What are you up to this holiday weekend?
Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

We've curated a list of Easter-centric events to help you celebrate, minus the horrible holiday puns.

Start your Friday with an egg-filled meal at The Coop, a pop-up restaurant serving brunch. Top chef runner-up Marcel Vigneron and former executive chef for Chaya Brasserie, Haru Kishi, will take over the old Gonpachi space in Beverly Hills for three days.

On Saturday, join hundreds of spectators at the Olvera Street Merchants Association's "Blessing of the Animals." For over 80 years, the association has invited participants to bring their pets for a sprinkle of Holy Water and animal parade. The organization's vice president Mike Mariscal said at least 400 animals will be present for the ceremony, and to expect critters of all sorts. In previous years, guinea pigs, goldfish and even python snakes have come to get blessed.

"The procession is usually led by a cow. We have one family that's been coming for over 50 years, they bring practically a whole farm," he recalled.

Though the tradition always falls on the Saturday before Easter, relations to the religious holiday end there. "We thank [animals] for all their gifts that they give to us. Whether it's love and companionship, or whether it's food and clothing," Mariscal explained. According to him, it's Olvera Street's most raucous spectacle of the year.

For those not attending a religious service, Easter Sunday can be spent giving back to the community. Midnight Mission, a nonprofit focusing on helping the needy in Skid Row, will be hosting their annual Easter/Passover brunch and feeding meals to over 2,000 people.

Here's a photo montage of some of the faces at Midnight Mission's event last year:

Check out our list for more Easter weekend ideas:

Friday, April 6, 2012:

Spring Beeping Egg Hunt
What: The Blind Children's Center is hosting an egg hunt with beeping eggs for blind or partially-sighted children at its school.
Where: Blind Children's Center @ 4120 Marathon Street, L.A.
When: 10 a.m.
Admission:Free; you can sponsor a beeping egg here.

The Coop
What: Chef Marcel Vigneron and Haru Kishi are opening a pop-up brunch spot in Beverly Hills for Easter weekend. The 5-course tasting menu will include Egg and truffle; salmon mi-cuit with deconstructed egg; nesting egg with bacon; black tiger chawan mushi; and strawberry & sabayon with bread pudding.
Where: Gonpachi @ 134 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills.
When: April 6, 7 and 8; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Admission: $38 per person; email ReserveTheCoop@gmail.com to snag a spot.

Big Bunny's Spring Fling
What: Hop over to the Los Angeles Zoo's annual three-day event. Children can take photos with Big Bunny, make bunny ears and other bunny-related crafts, learn about bunnies and pet them too.
Where: L.A. Zoo @ 5333 Zoo Drive, L.A.
When: April 6, 7 and 8; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: Admission is free with paid admission to the zoo, minus the cost of souvenir photos with Big Bunny and face painting.

Saturday, April 7:

6th Annual Easter Festival and Treasure Hunt
What: Children can visit the Orange County Market Place vendors to pick up free candy and toys. Six of the treasure hunters will find a gold ticket in their plastic eggs, earning an additional prize. The first 500 hunters in line will also receive a free gift from the Market Place. Puppet shows, a photogenic bunny, stilt-walking butterflies, crafts and face painting are just some of what's in store. Bring a camera and Easter basket, though free bags and maps will be provided.
Where: Costa Mesa Fairgrounds @ 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
When: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; the treasure hunt starts at 10 a.m.
Admission: Free.

Easter Hoppening
What: An Easter egg hunt for both children (ages 1-10) and adults (18 and up; special prizes for adults include: Dodgers tickets, food coupons and movie tickets). They use disposable eggs for the event. Free arts and crafts and photos with the Easter Bunny.
Where: Malibu Bluffs Park @ 24250 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
When: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Children's egg hunt starts at noon, adult's egg hunt at 12:15 p.m.
Admission: Free; bounce house costs $1.

Blessing of the Animals
What: This Saturday marks the 82nd annual Blessing of the Animals, a tradition dating back to 1930 where Archbishop Jose Gomez from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will sprinkle all animals present with Holy Water. There will also be an animal parade, vendors, live music, pony rides and a petting zoo.
Where: Olvera Street @ 125 Paseo De La Plaza, L.A.
When: Noon – 5 p.m. Procession begins at 2 p.m.
Admission: Free; bring any pet, whether it be dog, fish, cow or iguana.
PDF flier

Sunday, April 8:

Easter/Passover with Midnight Mission
What: The Midnight Mission in Skid Row will take over part of 6th Street to serve an Easter meal to those in need. There will be two Easter Bunnies present, live blues entertainment and baked ham with pineapple glaze. Guests will receive a bag stuffed with food, clothing and toiletries, instead of a conventional Easter basket.
Where: The Midnight Mission @ 610 S. San Pedro St., L.A.
When: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., or until everyone has eaten
Info: Email volunteer@midnightmission.org to sign up for a shift.