During the summer, thousands of visitors to Laguna Beach venture into the canyon to experience three annual events: the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters and Laguna Art-A-Fair. The summer festivals offer one-of-a-kind works of art, classes, live music and entertainment, food, wine and cocktails, art auctions, special events and more.
Pageant of the Masters
July 7 – Aug. 31, Festival of Arts grounds
What it is:The 2019 Pageant of the Masters, “The Time Machine,” takes audiences around the globe and into the past, present and future in search of amazing stories and great art. Taking its cues from science fiction and steampunk fantasies, “The Time Machine” is a ticket to thrills, laughter, beautiful music and living art under the stars. Set in an outdoor amphitheatre with a professional orchestra, original score, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting and hundreds of dedicated volunteers, the pageant presents “tableaux vivants” (living pictures), faithful re-creations of classical and contemporary works of art, with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces.
Art and music:At the Festival of Arts grounds is a juried art show of 140 OC-based artistsand live music offered most days of the week. On Tribute Tuesdays, some of Southern California’s most well-known tribute bands will entertain. On the grounds, visitors can pack a picnic and relax outdoors daily, but on Saturday afternoons (except Aug. 24), they’re treated to the Concerts on the Green series, which brings award-winning musicians to the stage. Visitors can also enjoy the sounds of lesser-known talent with its new Friday evening Step Into the Spotlight series.
Take a class: Pints, Pinots and Prints is a new Friday evening series for those 21 and over, during which exhibiting artist Vinita Voogd teaches basic printmaking techniques. Guests will take home a completed masterpiece—and enjoy a beverage (included in the class price) while they work. For kids, the festival will also offer a new Art Explorers Program; by enrolling in the program, children not only gain access to unlimited art classes all summer, but they’ll also enjoy fun perks, like a special VIP entrance pass and a kid’s art apron.
Grab a bite:The brand-new, on-site Terra Laguna Beach offers a more upscale sit-down dining destination spotlighting California cuisine and, from the upper terrace, a bird’s-eye-view of the festival grounds. Intermission by Terra features a new grab-and-go concession window for those who prefer a quick bite to a full-service meal, and the Terra Wine Bar will pour vino as well as libations from the nearby Laguna Beach Beer Co. Or join the Thursday evening Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate series, which features samples of Kendall-Jackson wines and a chocolatier (brand to be announced). (foapom.com)
Sawdust Art & Craft Festival
June 28 to Sept.1, Sawdust Art & Craft Festival grounds
What it is: The 53rd annual Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, set in a 3-acre eucalyptus grove, spotlights the work of 200 artists, all of which are Laguna Beach residents. three stages for live music with two to three bands per day, ranging from rock to folk, country and reggae.
Take a class: Sawdust offers more than 500 classes throughout the summer, and at least seven different art projects daily, most of which are free. The grounds feature a Ceramic Center for all ages, as well as Studio One, for artists ages 7 and up, and the Children’s Art Spot, featuring classes and activities for kids ages 4-7. Families and artists of all ages can enjoy classes in printmaking, collage, ceramics, textiles, leatherwork, illustration and more, taught by Sawdust exhibiting artists or local art instructors. For those who are more inclined to observing art being created, the festival’s Art Alive program provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creative process of a different Sawdust exhibiting artist each Monday evening.
Grab a bite: The Sawdust Saloon claims to offer one of the largest selections of cold drafts in town, in addition to wine and other adult libations. For those who enter Sawdust on the earlier side, Espresso on the Go offers hot and cold espresso and coffee drinks, as well as gourmet pastries and bagels. And, for larger appetites, longstanding vendor Deb’s Deli serves up sandwiches and wraps, hot dogs, salads, smoothies and onion rings, while Tacos Durrell makes burritos, nachos, tacos and more, and GG’s Mediterranean Express offers mouthwatering items such as pita sandwiches, kebabs and baklava.
Do good: The festival’s 33rd annual Benevolence Fund Art Auction is a celebrated fundraising event showcasing the work of Laguna artists in silent and live auctions, with proceeds benefiting the Artists’ Benevolence Fund, which offers financial assistance to local working artists in times of crisis. (sawdustartfestival.org)
June 28 to Sept.1, Art-A-Fair grounds
What it is: Also celebrating its 53rd season is Laguna Art-A-Fair, featuring more than 100 award-winning artists—both established and emerging—in nearly every medium and from around the world.
Take a class: At Laguna Art-A-Fair, the art class offerings have expanded this summer with more opportunities for younger guests, which will include a mommy-and-me class, a youth oil painting class and special kids’ crafts, including a Fourth of July event titled Flags & Fans. Meanwhile, adults can try their hand at mediums ranging from watercolor to oil, acrylic, jewelry, mixed media and woodcarving.
Grab a bite: At Laguna Art-A-Fair, Seven7Seven (formerly Tivoli Too) boasts a full-service bar and takeout menu—and a can’t-miss cocktail, perfect for summer nights. An annual ice cream social event (July 28) and the summer long silent auction fundraiser (bids are accepted through Aug. 18), which comprises pieces donated by exhibiting artists that are on display throughout the season, complement a Laguna Art-A-Fair itinerary. (art-a-fair.com)