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Don’t Miss out on All the Fun at This Laguna Beach Tradition

Written By: Ameihia Turingan
Photography Provided By: Mark Sanderson, Mary Hurlbut & Sabrina Lentini

The Sawdust Art Festival shares the magic of fine art and crafts with the community. As an Orange County native, I have always been drawn to Sawdust and the creative energy the event exudes. By attending the 53rd annual summer festival, I had the opportunity to connect with local artists and support their work.

The festival, which runs June 28 to Sep. 1 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., celebrates local art by featuring works created by Laguna Beach residents. This year’s theme, “Expect the Unexpected” not only captured the artists and makers’ creative processes but conveys an attendee’s visit—there is so much beautiful art just waiting to be discovered.  From merchants to live music, visiting the Sawdust Art Festival truly feels like you are transported to another magical, creative world. This Laguna Beach festival is a can’t miss summer event and here are five highlights from my experience at the Sawdust Art Festival!

1 | Shop to Your HeART’s Content Sawdust Art Festival

The Sawdust Art Festival is a wonderful gathering of people who appreciate arts and craft.  As you go deeper on the sawdust-covered pathways, you are surrounded by art all around. I enjoyed shopping and admiring all the art in the over 200 different booths. Brimming with personality and character, the booths are constructed and decorated by the artists to reflect each one’s personal style and taste. While moving from one booth to the next, I felt that I got a chance to step into the artist’s world. The festival celebrates works across different mediums such as paint, resin, metals, pottery, leather and glass. From sculptures to jewelry, there’s something for everyone at Sawdust. Watch all the action at the glassblowing booth, find the perfect painting for that empty wall and buy a new pair of earrings for your loved one.

Native Knowledge: Found your newest art piece but can’t find the artist? Take your purchases to the Sales Booth near the Sawdust Festival exit for easy checkout.

2 | The Show Must Go on

Along with the beautiful art displays, Sawdust Art Festival offers live performances by local artists. Located in three different stages, Sawdust brings together musicians, dancers, poets and magicians who share their craft with the Sawdust audiences. Over 200 musicians and bands across all music genres perform throughout the summer festival. Each day, every stage hosts two to three bands who energize the crowd with their music. My favorite part was seeing families sit on the benches with popcorn in hand to enjoy the performances. I spent time listening to a performance on the main stage and loved hearing the saxophone play while browsing the nearby booths.

3 | Feast Fit for a Festival Sawdust Art Festival

Feeling hungry? Spending time at Sawdust will work up an appetite. Bring your tastebuds and try out the delicious food on the festival grounds. Sawdust offers seven different vendors who plate up items like hot dogs, organic salads, Mediterranean kebabs and hand-rolled taquitos. I loved the pita sandwich from GG’s Mediterranean Express and got to satisfy my sweet tooth with Dippin’ Dots. Not in the mood for a big meal? Visit drink and dessert vendors like Espresso on the Go, Fran’s Popcorn and the Sawdust Saloon where you can order an espresso, pick up some fresh kettle corn or guzzle down a beer. With so many options, you’ll want to come back for more. Make sure to bring some cash or utilize the ATM machines on-site as some vendors are cash-only.

4 | Do It Yourself

Throughout the event, I felt inspired by all the art and wanted to start creating myself. Luckily, Sawdust has opportunities for people to improve their craft by taking classes with Sawdust artists. Sawdust Art Festival offers Sawdust Art Classes year-round in a variety of different mediums and topics for beginners and advanced students. During the summer festival specifically, Sawdust Art Festival offers classes that are geared for children and adults! Visit the Children’s Art Spot, Studio One and the Ceramic Center to learn different art styles and use mediums like the pottery wheel, printmaking, illustration, watercolor painting and more. During my time at Sawdust, I got to see a kids’ class in action and loved how engaged and creative the young artists were! 

5 | All Dressed up

To make the event even more fun, Sawdust Art Festival offers themed days. On these special days, visit the festival for themed events and entertainment. Some special events happening this season include Mardi Gras Day, Speakeasy Day and Beatles Day. Head to the festival on Mondays at 5 p.m. for Art Alive live artist demos and get ready to have fun on Tropical Tuesdays! While I went on Saturday, I can’t wait to return on a theme day and make more memories.

Native Knowledge: Tickets cost $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for children. The festival offers free admission after 5 p.m. for residents in Orange County and other nearby counties. Check the schedule for the days your city gets in for free!

Sawdust Art Festival
935 Laguna Canyon Rd
Laguna Beach, CA 92651