28th Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival
“It’s the best time of the year,” at least it is here in Laguna Beach. Saturday, November 17, 2018, marked the opening of the 28th annual Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival. The Top of the World Elementary Honor Choir kicked off the celebration and was followed by the lighting of the magical Christmas tree.
Santa has settled in for the festival to talk to every good girl and boy. When talking to Santa, he wanted to let the kids know, “He would like peace in the world, all the forest fires to be controlled, and for all people to be kind to each other.”
The Winter Fantasy was just that; as snow randomly fell frantically from the sky. Kids and adults alike enjoyed chasing the snowflakes and jumping about to catch a flurry or two.
Throughout the grounds, you will find 13 beautiful Christmas trees that have been decorated by area organizations. December 1st at 5pm, is Community Tree Night, an evening honoring the local organization that decorated a tree for Winter Fantasy. Holiday gift ideas abound at the 182 booths filled with artists and makers of one-of-a-kind designs. Several artisans are also very dedicated vendors, Dazzle owner/designer, Sandra Searle, is a 43-year veteran to the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival. She designs and sews her own goods to sell at the festival.
While roaming around, I talked to Andrew Soliz, a wood crafter and his wife, Carrie Rae Woodburn, an artisan who hand sews her leather goods. Andrew commented, “The Sawdust is an institution of Laguna Beach. It all started here”. He and his wife have been selling their wares at the festival for many years.
Kids have a plethora of arts and crafts opportunities at the festival this year. Your child can try the pottery wheel and take home what they created, hands-on paint lessons to make their own Gingerbread Man, along with many other fun things for the kids to enjoy. Roving Carolers, Balloon Diva, Rene’s Marionettes, glassblowing demonstrations and a picture opportunity on Santa’s lap or in Santa’s sleigh are a few of the happenings.
Live music is on hand entertaining visitors with songs of the season. Lead singer Celena Maria of local band Moonshine explains, “I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl and had always wanted to perform at the festival. I use to admire the bands who were playing”. Moonshine is one of many bands and performers who will take the three stages during the five-week festival.
Food stands are Deb’s Deli, Espresso on the Go, Fran’s Popcorn, Sawdust Saloon, Evan’s Gourmet Bistro, Taco’s Durrell and GG’s Mediterranean Express. The refreshments will be offered throughout the five weeks along with wine and beer. This event will take place for five consecutive weekends until the 16th of December.
Hours are 10am-7pm. For a listing of all the performers, times and date go to https://sawdustartfestival.org/festivals/winter-fantasy/
Marlo Jackson is a freelance writer based in Laguna Beach. She loves to write about interesting people, events, and unique businesses.