Update for 2021: Friday, July 2 – Sunday, September 5, 2021.
Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival is a fun, funky place for local artists to display and sell their ceramics, clothing, textiles, mixed media, woodworking, and more. The more laid-back sister to the world-famous Festival of the Arts with its brilliant stagecraft/art performance Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust is an open-air art venue, rather than an art gallery, that shows off all things artsy, crafty and local, and it does it very, very well.
The Sawdust Art Festival and its actual sawdust-strewn walkways is a permanent village built of eclectic hand-built wooden booths that are just as much fun to look at as the art for sale. Its purpose? To be a place where free artistic expression rules.
How fun and funky are we talking? The toe ring booth does custom fittings.
But Sawdust Art Festival is more than just toe rings and a really awesome art walkabout – It’s also an educational center, where art classes taught by working Sawdust artists are held year-round. The nonprofit Sawdust Art Festival has two missions: to support art and artists in Laguna Beach, and to educate the public in appreciating and valuing art in its many forms.
And it does all that by hosting a 9 week-long art party that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Laguna Beach every year.
What’s drawing those 200,000 people? A lot.
The spirit of the Sawdust Festival itself is one of joy… joy in the beautiful environment of Laguna Beach, joy in companionship, and definitely joy in the many creative arts. Whether you‘re an art newbie or a long-time collector… whether you’re shopping for a gift, a new piece of décor or a new necklace, the Festival has something for you.
Ready to dive into the Sawdust Festival? We’ll give you all the information you need to have art-themed fun in gorgeous Laguna Beach.
Everything You Need to Know About the Sawdust Art Festival
- The Festival begins July 2, 2021 and runs through Sunday, September 5, 2021.
- Sunday – Thursday 11AM – 7PM and Friday – Saturday 11AM – 10PM
- 168 Artists & Makers plus live music and entertainment
- Admission varies between $10/person for adults, to $7/person for seniors (65+) to $5 for kids ages 6-12. Tickets can be bought online or purchased at the Box Office. Children five and under are free but a ticket is still required for admission.
- If you do buy your tickets online, please allow up to 2 hours for the online sale to process.
Pop-Up Festival Classes
For 2021, classes will be conducted pop-up style! Choose from a selection of festival classes with new and different options added every week. Classes are either free or include a minimal cost of $5-$10 for materials.
Sawdust Art Classes
If you’re 18 and older (or 14 and older if you want to try pottery), the Sawdust Art Festival has a variety of year-round studio classes for you to try. Glassblowing, painting, jewelry-making, photography, ceramics and pottery are all taught at three locations within the Festival grounds.
Art Classes for Kids
If you’re not up for the more serious classes held throughout the year, or if you’re not quite old enough, don’t worry! The Sawdust Festival has special classes for the younger set that only run during the Festival itself. So if you’re 14 and under, you can still participate in a fun make and take art class that might spark your hidden artistic genius.
What kind of classes do they have?
- Figure drawing
- Wet chalk art
- Throw a pot
- Glass fusing and jewelry design
- Make your own Mardi Gras mask
Parents, please note that minors taking a class must always be accompanied by a parent. Ages will be posted with the class description so that you’ll know what class is good for your budding Picasso… and you (parents can take some classes, too. Why should the kids have all the fun?)
When you need a break from window-shopping (and actual shopping) there are plenty of other things to sink your teeth into. A variety of food vendors will serve you everything from Greek to Mexican food. Heck, there’s even a coffee bar.
While you’re deciding between the kettle corn and a hot dog… or choosing to go organic at the Bistro… or drinking a craft beer… you don’t have to sit out the fun. The Sawdust Festival’s two stages are near the food area and provide a great place to listen to the excellent local musicians. The musical selection varies from band to band, but it’s always high-quality.
The Sawdust Art Festival is easy to find off Laguna Canyon Road, but be warned… rush hour traffic can be unpleasant.
Metered parking is available at very reasonable rates and there are pay lots within walking distance that are run by the city. Rates vary between $9 – $20 dollars.
If fighting for street parking isn’t your thing, don’t worry. During the summer months, a free trolley from Act V Lot 16 is available to whisk you to the Festival entrance. The parking might not be free, but the trolley will at least save you the 5-10 minute walk from the city lots.
While the Sawdust Festival is technically an accessible venue, the paths really are lined with sawdust, which can create some mobility problems. Walkers tend to have trouble navigating the paths due to the wood shavings, so please be aware that you might need help if you’re mobility challenged.
Does the Sawdust Festival Allow Dogs?
Please be aware that companion animals are not allowed, with no exceptions. ADA-approved service dogs are not companion animals and are definitely allowed.
Ack! I missed the Festival this year!
Don’t worry! The Sawdust Art Festival returns in the winter as the very appropriately named Winter Fantasy. Sawdust Festival transforms itself into an artsy Christmas wonderland on weekends.
Winter Fantasy runs Saturday and Sunday only, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Sawdust Art Festival is only one of the ways to support the arts in Laguna Beach, but it’s also one of the most unique art venues in Orange County. Give it a try. You won’t regret it.
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Kelly Smith is a freelance writer living in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side. Find her at www.bluerosecopywriting.com.