Hello Kitty is smitten with Irvine.
The iconic Sanrio character, who has a temporary cafe at the Irvine Spectrum Center, will be making appearances throughout the year at Tanaka Farms in Irvine. The partnership, a first of its kind for the global brand, kicks off Sept. 30 when Tanaka launches its seasonal pumpkin patch.
Hooking up with Tanaka, owned by Glenn Tanaka and his family since 1940, is part of Sanrio’s community outreach initiative, the company said.
“Tanaka Farms has been a staple of the community, a working farm dedicated to providing families with quality produce and educational experiences,” Sanrio said.
As farm ambassadors, Hello Kitty and her friends Keroppi, Chococat, My Melody and Pochacco will be part of year-round festivals held at the 30-acre farm. Tanaka Farms will host educational seminars to promote responsible farming and healthy eating. The Sanrio characters will be available for free photo opportunities.
Tanaka and Sanrio branded merchandise also will be available for purchase such as tote bags and plush toys.
Character visits have not been finalized, but expect them to appear frequently during the year for pumpkin, strawberry and Christmas tree seasonal events held at the farm.
The annual Tanaka Farms’ Pumpkin Patch kicks off Sept. 30. Entry is $3. Visitors also can purchase tickets for wagon rides, a petting zoo, a corn maze and a “pick your own vegetables” excursion. The festival will be held every weekend during the month of October. A Halloween event with a Sanrio costume contest is slated for Oct. 28.
Hello Kitty, described by Sanrio as “a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold,” made its first appearance on a vinyl coin purse sold in Japan in 1974. She was later introduced to American consumers in 1976. The character, who Sanrio insists is not a cat, has more than 50,000 branded items sold in 130 countries and 15,000 U.S. retailers.
Last summer, Sanrio’s first Orange County pop-up cafe opened at the Irvine Spectrum Center. Housed in a metal shipping container, the shop is bedazzled with pink and white Hello Kitty hues. The menu features baked goods, and hot and cold beverages.
When it opened, throngs of fans lined up to buy merchandise and menu items. It’s unclear…