Queen Mary Scottish Festival

Bagpipes, plaid, and sheepdogs rule the big ship.

QUEEN MARY SCOTTISH FESTIVAL: There are so many interesting parts to this two-day Long Beach party that we're pressed to land on a favorite. Is it Plaidpalooza? The whisky tastings? The bagpipes and dancing? The fact that the famous ocean liner was built in Scotland, hence the big bash? Nope, we still have to go with the sheepherding dogs. Watching them coax their fluffy flock under the palm trees is such the delightful sight. Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19

DOCTOR WHO CON: Gallifrey 2012 is the North American Doctor Who Celebration, meaning caboodles of celebrities and writers and people associated with the nearly 50-year-old genre phenom will be in the house -- or LAX Marriott -- to visit with sonic screwdriver-wielding fans. We like the costume-sweet cosplay and all of those in-depth panels. To the TARDIS! Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 19.

MARDI GRAS: It's the weekend before Fat Tuesday, meaning that pots of gumbo'll be set to boil around town. We like the Original Farmers Market party. One, it is free. Two, the Gumbo Pot is right there -- helloooo, sugar-dusted beignets. And three? The music, the pet parade, and the beads add to the convivial spirit. Also, it happens over a few days, not just one, like the parties down N'Orleans way. Feb. 17-19 and 21

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