The popular summer art festival comes alive for three weekends in the wintertime.
The city of Laguna Beach has been the epicenter of the Orange County arts scene for nearly a century, when the first round of plein air artists migrated from San Francisco and started painting the area’s striking shoreline, majestic rock outcroppings, and dazzling oceanic sunsets. One of the mainstays of this city-defining movement has been the Sawdust Festival. Founded in 1965 by local artists who felt the long-established Laguna Festival of Arts had turned their back on the community, the festival’s celebration of nearby talent in several artistic mediums has evolved into one of Orange County’s most popular arts and crafts gatherings.
Because the Sawdust Festival happens during the summertime, a lot of people who don’t live in and around Laguna Beach tend to think its sprawling grounds go completely dormant after Labor Day and remains so until it gets aroused into activity the following June. Yet for the past two decades, the sacred location of creative merit has been getting its snow on, in the form of Winter Fantasy.
Over the next three weekends, this special holiday treat will be happening, proudly featuring several local talents as they create, exhibit, and sell the fruits of their artistic visions. Just like its summer cousin, Winter Fantasy displays items that stretch beyond the realm of the usual painting and sculpture stuff. We’re talking hand-made jewelry, woodwork, blown glass, ceramics, and much more. An additional infusion of family-friendly activities will also be on hand to round out your experience, including live music, art demonstrations, and interactive art projects. And you better believe Santa Claus will be making an appearance.
As you come on down to check out the festivities, remember that the venue is not only outdoors, it’s less than a mile from the beach. So be sure to don that winter coat before you head on down. If you’re a total wimp, you should probably grab your scarf, gloves, and hat, too. But even if you somehow forget your jacket and other such accoutrements, you can at least take comfort in knowing that the event will warm your heart.
Sawdust Festival Winter Fantasy
935 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Dates: November 25-27; December 3-4, 9-10
Time: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Cost: $6.00 for Adults, $5.00 for Seniors, $3.00 for Children (6-12), Free for Children 5 & Under
Rich Manning is an Orange County writer who blogs at Foodie a Go Go.