When I first moved to Orange County, it seemed like every single time I drove into Laguna Beach there was this section of road that was just packed with cars. Like jam-packed, nowhere at all to park. And I always wondered, where in the world are all these people going? What is so popular right here in this spot?!
My curiosities lead me to this cool funky looking building with the word “Sawdust” on it. It kind of looked like a weird old witch house or something, but awesome.
After doing some Google research (as I always do), I found out that the Sawdust building is actually an Arts and Crafts Fair! Of course it is; Laguna Beach is like THE art mecca of Southern California.
I am not an artsy type of person, so I figured it probably wouldn’t be something I would enjoy. But after driving by this place over and over and seeing the crowds of people going there, I figured I better just check it out. At least once in my life, why not.
So that’s what I did. I decided to make a scheduled stop at the Sawdust Art Festival’s Winter Fantasy, dragging my husband along with me.
In this post, I will share with you what the Sawdust Art Festival is, what to expect, what you need to know before you go, and if it’s actually worth it or not (plus, some things the men can do if you decide to drag them along too).
Visiting the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy in Laguna Beach
What is the Sawdust Art Festival?
The Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy is an arts & crafts fair that takes place every year in Laguna Beach, California. It is a place where artists go to show off their unique work, and where locals and visitors go to find some awesome unique gifts or even make some art themselves.
There are actually two art & craft festivals that take place here every year, the Summer Festival and the Winter Fantasy. You can also find year-round art classes here.
The mission of the Sawdust Art Festival is to educate the public and promote local artists.
What to Expect Inside the Art Festival
First of all, the building is just the cutest thing and if you are anything like me, you will want to take some photos before you even get in. Before you go inside you will need to stop and buy a ticket, and I recommend taking a map.
Once you buy your ticket at the door you will head inside to Towne Square. The inside is actually an open space, not a building, and the floor is covered with sawdust.
You will see so many booths you probably won’t know which way to go first. Follow whichever path your heart desires, just don’t forget to use your map to make sure you walk through each section!
As you are walking through visiting around 180 different artists, you will also find demonstrations like glassblowing, and hands-on experiences you can try like a pottery wheel. I didn’t try the pottery wheel, but for only $10 to create your own project to take home it seems worth it!
There were so many varieties of art such as paintings, metal art, jewelry, clothing, photography, glass items, home décor, and lots more!
I found so many gorgeous items, but the thing that caught my eye was this owl ring. The ring was actually a little too big for me, so the lady made a new one right in front of me. Pretty cool!
There is also an entertainment deck with live music, beer, and wine. If you brought the husband with, you can drop him off right here.
Once you get hungry you have about 7 different options for food including a deli, tacos, and burgers.
Before you head out of the festival, make a stop in Towne Square again to see the snow and say hi to Santa.
What to Know Before You Go
935 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach, California
Where to Park:
There is metered parking on the street directly in front of the festival. There is also a parking lot down the street at 805 Laguna Canyon Road. If for some reason you cannot find parking in either of those, you could park in downtown Laguna and walk or take the shuttle.
The Winter Fantasy Festival 2018 is only open for five weekends in November and December.
November 17-18 and 23-25
December 1-2, 8-9, and 15-16
10am to 7pm
$8 for adults
$6 for seniors
$4 for children 12 and under
$12 for a season pass
The Laguna Beach art festival and activities line-up are quite impressive. You can find museums, classes, art walks, theatrical productions, and galleries all over the city.
I do believe that The Sawdust Art Festival is one of those Laguna Beach activities that shouldn’t be missed if you have any appreciation for art, or if you love finding unique gifts or souvenirs! If not, you can probably pass on this one.
If it was free I definitely would have added it to my list of the best free things to do in Laguna Beach.
I did enjoy the Sawdust Art Festival’s Winter Fantasy because it gave me a little feeling of Christmas. Being from Wisconsin and having REAL winters with snow and all, I have grown to have this understanding of what Christmas “should” be like, and Christmas in California is nothing close to that feeling. Being on the beach with sunshine, palm trees, and warm weather is just not my idea of a “real” Christmas. But, the Sawdust Art Festival actually gave me a little Christmas spirit!
Do you plan on visiting the Sawdust Art Festival, or have you already?