Laguna Lovely: Summertime Is Sawdust Time

Laguna Beach's painting- and jewelry- and craft-packed event is up next.

FINE WEATHER, FINE ART: It can be hard, come summertime, to not run into a painting in Laguna Beach. Not literally, of course -- please don't do that -- but the cottage-y ocean-close burg is pretty painting-packed throughout the entire year, what with the galleries and the museums and the shows and the artworks. But summertime brings more art in the forms of the Festival of the Arts, outside the Pageant of the Masters, and, just a pip down the road, the Sawdust Art Festival. Both art shows have their distinctive individual character (spoiler: one has sawdust on the ground, one does not) and both are much visited by warm-weather daytrippers looking to get a jump on some holiday shopping or just lookie-loo around. But one typically debuts just a smidge before the other, come late June and early July, and that's the Sawdust. Can you smell that fragrant ground covering now? The 2014 Summer Sawdust Art Festival debuts on Friday, June 27, a week ahead of the Festival of Arts.

AT THE SAWDUST: The winding-pathed, sunlight-twinkling space is beloved on its own for its elfin qualities and cottage-cute quaintness. It's outdoors, but the booth situation isn't like booths you might find at a temporary art fair, all here-today-and-not-tomorrow. Rather the Sawdust's woodsy structure stays up all year, lending it oodles of charm. There's an admission fee to get in, and small food court, and musicians are often playing on the ground. (Sometimes stilt walkers or other merry performers show up.) As for the necklaces and pottery and hair clips and garden ceramics and beach photos and everything for sale within? You'll usually, almost always, have a chat with the person who made it. It's one of our state's quintessential art festivals, and a quintessential slice of OC summerdom, too. How often do two quintessential qualities intersect? The answer: Not nearly enough.

DATES: The 2014 Sawdust Art Festival is on from Friday, June 27 through Sunday, Aug. 31.

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