If you are in Laguna Beach, you can’t miss the Sawdust Art Festival. It is a fun, exciting and funky place where local artists display and sell their clothing, ceramics, textiles, woodworking, mixed media, and a lot more. It is a great event that you and your family should visit if you are in Orange County.
The more laid-back and casual sister to the world-famous and exciting Festival of the Arts with its incredible art performance/stagecraft Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust Art Festival is a nine-week open-air art venue instead of an art gallery. The festival is great as it shows off all things crafty, artsy, and local, and it does it exceptionally well.
The organizers of this event believe that art is essential, and artists are innovators. They think that the world needs the beauty and history that art brings us now, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. It is worth noting that in 2020, the offering from this famous art and craft festival will be considerably smaller and more intimate and safe because of the pandemic.
For 9 weeks, the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach draws over 200,000 visitors each year. They are invited on a fun journey to shop along the beautiful sawdust-covered paths via a handcrafted village of beautiful arts and outstanding craftsmanship.
As a visitor, you can enjoy unique artwork, eye-catching and fun artist demonstrations, live entertainment on 3 stages, art workshops for different ages, and sumptuous food and drink. Isn’t that amazing! Did you know that the Sawdust Art Festival, as well as its unique sawdust-strewn walkways, is a village that is built of diverse hand-built wooden booths? They are equally fun and entertaining to look at as the art pieces for sale. It is a place where free and innovative artistic expression rules.
The Sawdust Art Festival was started by a rogue and dissatisfied element of Laguna Beach resident artists about fifty years ago. Now the festival has grown up to accommodate over 200 artists from all types of art media you can imagine, which is excellent. However, it is worth noting that Sawdust Art Festival is much more than merely toe rings and a fantastic and amazing art walkabout.
The festival is also a great educational center, where many art classes taught by talented Sawdust artists are also held. Keep in mind that the nonprofit Sawdust Festival has 2 missions. These are to support artists and art in Laguna Beach and to inform and educate the public on valuing and appreciating art in its many different forms.
History of the Festival
You may know that in 1965, a group of hippie-type artists in the area were dissatisfied and frustrated with the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts as well as its jury system. They believed that the system was rigged and a part of The Establishment. Note that this group of artists held their first exhibit back in 1965. It was held on the vacant Peacock lot in Laguna. Some people in the media as well as at the FOA, called it The Rejects Festival. Not long after, the group held its second exhibit in 1967. This was held on the Kronquist lot located in North Laguna.
It is worth noting that in 1968, the art festival moved to its current 3-acre site on Laguna Canyon Road. Did you know that at this fantastic location, Sawdust artists started developing wildly conceived and mostly wooden quasi-dwellings? These dwellings were a little heavy on the rustic theme, and no two were alike. By the 1980s, note that the Sawdust Art Festival was gradually becoming a bigger and more important tourist attraction in the area than the famous Festival of Arts.
Sawdust Art Classes
If you or your kids are 18 and older, you are in for a treat. This is because the Sawdust Art Festival has a slew of year-round studio classes that you or your kids can try. These include glassblowing, jewelry-making, painting, and photography. They are all taught at 3 locations within the expansive Festival grounds.
Art Classes for Children
Note that if you are younger or not ready for the serious classes that are held throughout the year, don’t worry! This is because the Sawdust Festival also has some special classes for the younger kids that only run during this festival. As a result, if you are 14 and under, you may still take part in art classes that may spark your hidden artistic talents.
Food and Drinks
If you need a little break from shopping, there are many other amazing things that you can sink your teeth into. For example, many food vendors in the area will serve you everything from Mexican to Greek food. You will even find a coffee bar, which is excellent. And note that while you decide between a hot dog and kettle corn, you do not need to sit out the fun and excitement.
The two stages at the Sawdust Festival are near the food area, providing an excellent place to listen to the best local musicians. Although the music selection varies from one band to another, it is always top-quality.