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An artistic eyeful

Three major festivals are set to open in Laguna Beach in the next few weeks. Each offers a unique blend of art using different media and activities for attendees.

June 18, 2008|By Candice Baker

The 42nd annual Sawdust Art Festival will feature almost 200 artists, and is known for its wide blend of arts and crafts, including everything from hand-blown glass to metal sculpture to textiles.

Formed in 1966 by artists who were rejected from the Festival of Arts across the street, the Sawdust has gained acclaim as an “alternative” event with more edgy art, traditional crafts and a festive atmosphere.

Visitors are welcome to try their hand at a children’s art booth, ceramics and glass blowing booths, and summer evening art classes at 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday throughout the run of the show. Tours will be held frequently throughout the week.


Restaurants, cafes and a bar are sprinkled throughout the outdoor venue, set in a eucalyptus grove. Roving musicians and balloon artists are joined by bands performing on several stages, every day.

A locals’ favorite is the Artists Benevolence Fund auction, which will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 3; original art is auctioned at often cut-rate prices to support local artists in crisis.


The Art-A-Fair is the only summer festival in Laguna that invites artists from around the world to participate, and hosts 125 exhibitors who offer their paintings, sculpture, digital art, jewelry and more.

It will bring back the romantic Venetian carnival theme it introduced last year, adding more elements to immerse visitors in its “Palazzo Laguna,” making the Art-A-Fair a perfect date night option.

The Tivoli Too! restaurant on site features fine dining in a beautiful glen; drink specials are often available on the grounds.

Daily workshops from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. give visitors the chance to create their own work. They include animal painting on Mondays; Venetian mask painting on Tuesdays; craft and gift making on Wednesdays; birdhouse making on Thursdays; 3-D tribal or animal masks on Fridays; palette knife painting on Saturdays; and scratchboard art on Sundays.

The Art-A-Fair also will feature live entertainment on the weekends, from jazz guitar to steel drums to surf rock.



WHEN: 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily, July 6 to Aug. 30 (closed Aug. 23)

WHERE: 650 Laguna Canyon Road

COST: $7 for season pass; $4 for seniors and students; free for Laguna Beach residents, military personnel with ID and children younger than 12

Information: (949) 494-1145 or

INSIDER HINT: Admission is only 75 cents after 7:50 p.m. daily, to commemorate the event’s 75th anniversary.

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