You have just ONE week to get your friends or family organized into a memorable excursion at the Laguna Beach Sawdust Art Festival. The doors close for the summer at 10:00 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29th. If you haven’t made it down there yet, this is a show you’ve got to see.

The Sawdust Art Festival was first put together 44 years ago as a local revolt against juried art shows that were bringing in out-of-town artists over the resident artists who helped make and mold our “artist colony.” Since its first inception, the Sawdust has only been available to artists who claim residency here, and not all of them are the kind with galleries. You’ll find a whole hodge-podge, from fabulous art to kitschy stuff – it’s all part of the flavor of the Festival.

With more than 200 artists participating this year, you’ll be sure to find every kind of art here – glass blown standouts, wood sculptures, all kinds of jewelry, paintings, sculpture, garden ornaments, photography, ceramics, fabrics, clothing and more, more, more.

The most memorable part, though, about this somewhat medieval setting with its rambling range of artist booths is the atmosphere they’ve created here, right down to the sawdust on the floor. There are great, lively (and I mean LIVELY) bands playing on three stages; you have four restaurants to dig into (and the wines and beers are actually high quality sippers); you’ll find interactive art classes and kids’ art workshops, the famous glass-blowing booth where demonstrations happen daily and, one of my favorites – actually one of the artists’ booths – the toe ring booth.

This is such a great place to meander around. The artists are usually in their booths and quite friendly, and you’ll find more than a fair share of items to spruce up your own home or purchase for coming holiday gifts. Just writing about it makes me want to hit it again myself before this last week wanes down. I’ll see you there!

How to find the Sawdust Art Festival:

The Festival sits on the south side of Laguna Canyon Road (the 133), about a half-mile up from the city core itself. Park anywhere in town or at the meters lining the 133 (again, make sure you PAY those meters), or find one of the parking garages in town and take a free trolley to the grounds.

Costs for the Sawdust Art Festival:

Adults: $7.75; Seniors 65 and over: $6.25; Children (6-12): $3.25; Children five and under are free.

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