Laguna Beach

Lots (and Lots) of Sawdust Arrives at a Famous Fest

The Sawdust Art & Craft Festival opens later in June, but first: The ground must be covered, one wheelbarrow at a time.

Sawdust Art Festival
  • June 24 through Aug. 28, 2022 (daily)
  • Laguna Beach
  • $10 adults, $7 seniors, $5 for children ages 6 to 12; children under 5 admitted free

Honestly? We don't often associate a celebrated art happening with what's on the ground.

There are some unusual exceptions, of course, like the Pasadena Chalk Festival, a look-down delight that is ready for its literal time in the sun (or perhaps the June Gloom) on June 18 and 19, 2022.

But there is another look-down curiosity on the California arts calendar, and it has flowered every summer in Laguna Beach for well over a half-century now.

Every summer, and around the holidays, too, with pop-up events happening here and there.

It's the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, that painting-packed, jewelry-filled, vase-vivacious, glass-blowing fantasia that fills the rambling alleys and picturesque walkways of the woodsy Sawdust Art Festival building, an indoor/outdoor structure that looks like it sprung from a storybook.

The storybook spot will open again for its summer run on June 24, 2022. But before that can happen?

Sawdust, lots and lots and lots of sawdust, must cover the ground found throughout the location's turny-twisty thoroughfares.

The woody and fine material is the festival's best-known feature, after all, and the festival requires enough sawdust to amply fill three acres.

That sawdust just arrived, and hardworking employees are busily "sawdusting" the entirety of the outdoor space.

Of interesting note to Sawdust superfans?

The famous festival got its name from the media, back in 1967, when reporters began referring to the event as the "Sawdust," thanks to the fact that organizers were using sawdust to tamp down dust.

The notable nickname stuck, and then grew into a legend. Now art lovers well beyond the Golden State are familiar with this quirky and charming handle, and the real sawdust that covers the ground of the festival each summer.

If you're wondering how often the sawdust is replaced, the team behind the fest supplied the answer: twice a year. And, you bet, the sawdust is recycled from used wood chips.

So if you're planning on wielding a wheelbarrow over the weekend, ponder this: You might just be carting around a bit of soil in your yard, but there's a fabled place, in Laguna Beach, that requires enough sawdust to cover the walkways wending through a capacious festival space.

Yep, this job is big. Really, really big.

It's but one unique feature of the fest, which spotlights hundreds of regional artists working in photography, ceramics, textiles, and more. The 2022 Sawdust Art Festival is open daily from June 24 through Aug. 28; tickets are available here.

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