I love the Winter Fantasy Festival at Sawdust more than our summer affair, the Sawdust Art Festival (which I happen to like a lot). This year, it’s back in full swing and opening on Saturday Nov. 20th for FIVE full weekends. Aside from 150 artists’ booths in this cool outdoor setting, you have a “Towne Square (sorry grownups, this is kid-size only), live bands and chorales on three stages, wandering carolers, pop up festival classes (make your OWN gifts!) plenty of hot, steamy drinks (along with quality beer and wine) and, of course, Santa for all those last-minute requests.

Dates are: November  20th and 21st, then on the 26th (Black Friday), 27th and 28th from 10am-7pm
December  4th and 5th, 11th and 12th and 18th and 19th from 10am-7pm

One of my favorites at Winter Fantasy. Mike Brennan’s Raki pottery

For me, the Winter Fantasy Festival is most memorable because the majority of artists focus on gift-giving items. This is where my friends and relatives LOVE to see me shop. I often wonder if I told them I was leaving Laguna Beach if they might all take up a pool to keep me here just to continue receiving the glorious gifts I always find at Winter Fantasy. You’ll still have gargantuan paintings and sculptures here and there, but you’ll see a greater supply of handmade jewelry, scarves, reasonably priced framed photos and paintings, pottery and Raku, garden accessories and everything else gifty-minded.

Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, 65 and up, and $5 for children, ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and under are free. Season tickets are also available. Go to SawdustArtFestival.org for tickets.

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