Traffic to Laguna was very light for a weekend, but once we hit Laguna Canyon Road, it suddenly got really slow. [below]

As we waited in the bumper to bumper, one lane traffic, we had flashbacks of last summer's Strawberry Festival, where it seemed that everyone in Ventura County had decided to go. On Laguna Canyon Road, we watched several drivers get fed up and hang a U-turn, but we opted to press on.

Finally, several miles later, we saw the problem - a broken telephone line was being repaired and the two lane highway had been reduced to one lane.

Minutes away, we observed posted road signs led us to 'Parking and Free Shuttle.' This gravel covered slope had plenty of space, and at $7.00, it was right on par with just about every other parking fee.

Sure enough, a free Laguna Beach shuttle pulled up within about 60 seconds, and took us right to the Sawdust Festival grounds.

Sawdust Festival Admission is very reasonable

Adults: $6.50
Children: 6-12: $2.00
Seniors 65 and over: $5.50
Children under 5: Free

Since the festival runs from July 2 - September 5, Season Passes are also available for $12.00. Annual Passes [which includes admission to the holiday themed Winter Fantasy in November and December], is $16.00.

The Festival first came to be in 1966, as a revolt against the local art community in Laguna. Over the years, the event has grown, but the idea is to maintain a sense of 'a happening' rather than a stuffy exhibit.

The festival is now held in a rustic, open-air space. Surrounded by a perimeter of to keep visitors flowing into the one entrance, it has no roof, lots of oak and eucalyptus trees, plenty of shade, a great, undulating path, and, as advertised, sawdust on the ground. It's one of the best festival venues I've experienced.

Upon entering, we were definitely struck by the laid back, hippie vibe. We heard live music that wasn't too loud, we were part of a nice group of visitors that didn't feel crowded, and were welcomed by a comfortable ocean breeze. This is what I call a festival. A cute sign [above] sets visitors off in all directions to see just about anything. And away we went.

Jewelry, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, clothing all displayed in booths sitting along a winding, tree lined pathway. Artists and vendors receive their location on a lottery system, and once they are assigned, they build and decorate their own display space.

Unlike the 20' x 20' tents that are so pervasive in festivals, these spaces seemed more open and each certainly had a unique flavor. We literally walked right in to the booths to look at the wares for sale. Because it wasn't jammed packed with other visitors, it was fun to browse, check out the art, and in many cases, talk with the artists whose work was on display.

More Saw Dust Festival on Page 3
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