If you’re one of those types who buys socks and coffee makers for people at the holidays, this column is not for you. You’ll have absolutely no interest in going to Laguna Beach’s annual “Winter Fantasy FEstival” on the Sawdust grounds because you would find WAY too many amazing, creative and one-of-a-kind gift ideas for the people you love.
The Laguna Beach Winter Fantasy Festival opens this weekend, Nov. 21, with 175 artists’ booths and all sorts of other stuff (more on that in a minute). Even better news, now the Winter Fantasy has extended an extra weekend in December for last-minute shoppers.
The 24th Annual Winter Fantasy Festival, Holiday Tradition, begins Saturday, Nov. 21 and will run over five weekends, including the Friday after Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
This year’s dates are Nov. 21, 22nd, 27th, 28th, 29th, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Dec. 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Adult admission is $7; $6 for Seniors (65+); $4 for children (6-12); free for children (5 & under); and $10 for a Season Pass.
Honestly, I love the Winter “Sawdust” more than our summer affair – the Sawdust Art Festival (which I happen to like a lot). Now … granted … I’m an admitted Christmas/holiday freak. Throw me under twinkle lights with a hot cup of wassail and there can be no happier human being … but even if your more Ebenezer Scrooge-like or Grinch-like in your attitude over the holidays, you’re STILL going to find something to enjoy at the Winter Sawdust.
The Winter Fantasy Festival invites its summer artists back, and this year, they’ve added 44 new artists to the festival. The great thing, though, is that most of the artists focus on gift-giving items this time around. 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, windmills, garden accessories and just about everything else creative under the sun. (I, for one, go to the Winter Sawdust to purchase beautiful hand-blown Christmas ornaments for my clients and friends – they make great hostess gifts, too.)
Aside from 175 different artists’ booths in this cool outdoor setting, you have a petting zoo, a holiday playhouse (sorry grownups, this is kid-size only), jiving live bands and chorales, wandering carolers, plenty of hot, steamy drinks (along with quality beer and wine), food everywhere and, of course, Santa front and center for all those last-minute requests. (This year, Santa’s hours are 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)