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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 42  |  May 26, 2020

Sawdust Festival dons its holiday duds and transforms into a Winter Fantasy


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Everywhere you look, there’s magic. For 29 years, the Sawdust Winter Fantasy has been a holiday tradition, and the enchantment hasn’t waned.

A little boy runs past me, eyes wide, exclaiming with delight, “There’s a Christmas tree, there’s another one. There are Christmas trees everywhere!”

In the newly designed Towne Square area, there are trees galore, decorated in bright ornaments of every color and design – along with Santa’s House, a sleigh, a gingerbread house, and even snow. It’s as if a wizard has cast a spell on the Sawdust Festival, restaging it into a Winter Wonderland.

Have your picture taken with Santa or in his sleigh, and listen to music from three different stages, dine at the numerous restaurants, or participate in a workshop. There is something for everyone.

Sawdust Festival sign

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Sawdust Festival has a new window

The Winter Fantasy features 180 artists from all over the country. Unlike the Summer Festival, the Winter Festival doesn’t require that exhibitors live in Laguna.

Right next to the Santa pavilion area, with a ringside seat to the excitement, is Trevor LePenske’s Jewelry booth with boxed gift sets on display. He’s been exhibiting for five years at both the summer and winter events.

Trevor says, “Opening weekend of Sawdust Winter Fantasy was fantastic. It’s a wonderful feeling walking through the gate to find Laguna’s own winter wonderland, a beautifully decorated marketplace filled with holiday cheer, great entertainment, and artisans working on their craft. I’m looking forward to four more weekends of this magic.” 

Diane Valentino of Mysdiva Designs has been exhibiting for several years. Her hats and purses are favorites. She says, “Our first weekend was so good...thankful for all who came out to enjoy and support us as artists and very small business owners. Winter Fantasy is a fabulous way to share the spirit of the holidays with friends and family. Four more weekends to go!”

Sawdust Festival Towne Square

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Newly designed Town Square 

Linda Ward, who does ceramic sculptures, has a wide variety of Christmas ornaments, every animal you could think of, and if she doesn’t have it, she’ll make it for you. She’s paid for two trips to the Amazon with the sale of her unicorn ornaments. 

It’s the fourth year for jewelry designer Alejandra Velazquez, who has painted an array of giant poinsettias on her booth. “I’ve won twice for best decorated booth. I want to win again to make it three.” 

Robert Holton, whose public art installation Changing Station is in the red phone booth downtown is exhibiting next to his wife Marita of AristoKrown (custom headpieces and accessories). Holton says, “This is my sixth year at the Winter Festival and my wife’s third time. We love it.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit. Winter Fantasy is open November 29, 30, December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22 from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. at the Sawdust at 935 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For all activities and information, go to


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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