Art fans flock to Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Festival

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It looked a lot like Christmas at the Sawdust Art Festival on Saturday, as guests walked through the doors of an enchanting outdoor market with festive holiday reminders throughout.

Winter Fantasy, which runs through December 19, offers collectors and art enthusiasts the opportunity, once again, to interact with over 150 artists and purchase their work.

The winter showcase, now in its 31st year, saw the public return to the grounds of the Sawdust Art Festival after the traditional festival season.

Winter Fantasy only opens on weekends, making it a flagship with a total of 11 days of access. There will be three days left from Sunday.

“I feel like the season has been very popular,” said Franky Duschane, director of marketing and public relations for the Sawdust Art Festival. “Everyone is hungry for unique art, unique gifts, and of course people are coming together for the holidays again.

“They see their families and loved ones again, so I think they try to commemorate them with special unique gifts, and especially experiences, so they come here and have a great experience outside in the canyon with the arts. “

Artist Nikolai Erngren, center, in his booth during Winter Fantasy on December 4 at the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna <a class=Beach.” srcset=”https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/cf6ba46/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2000×1333+0+0/resize/320×213!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia-times-brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F7f%2F09%2F634cba2441abb55da87d135b0906%2Ftn-photos-staff-s1-daily-pilot-880629-tn-dpt-me-sawdust-winter-fantasy-20211204-4.jpg 320w,https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/01790f5/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2000×1333+0+0/resize/568×379!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia-times-brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F7f%2F09%2F634cba2441abb55da87d135b0906%2Ftn-photos-staff-s1-daily-pilot-880629-tn-dpt-me-sawdust-winter-fantasy-20211204-4.jpg 568w,https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/105eb28/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2000×1333+0+0/resize/768×512!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia-times-brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F7f%2F09%2F634cba2441abb55da87d135b0906%2Ftn-photos-staff-s1-daily-pilot-880629-tn-dpt-me-sawdust-winter-fantasy-20211204-4.jpg 768w,https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/765df57/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2000×1333+0+0/resize/840×560!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia-times-brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F7f%2F09%2F634cba2441abb55da87d135b0906%2Ftn-photos-staff-s1-daily-pilot-880629-tn-dpt-me-sawdust-winter-fantasy-20211204-4.jpg 840w” width=”840″ height=”560″ src=”https://ca-times.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/765df57/2147483647/strip/true/crop/2000×1333+0+0/resize/840×560!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalifornia-times-brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F7f%2F09%2F634cba2441abb55da87d135b0906%2Ftn-photos-staff-s1-daily-pilot-880629-tn-dpt-me-sawdust-winter-fantasy-20211204-4.jpg” data-lazy-load=”true” bad-src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”/>

Artist Nikolai Erngren, center, in his booth during Winter Fantasy on December 4 at the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Nikolai Erngren, who said he exhibited his work at the Sawdust Art Festival for more than 20 seasons, had an assortment of mixed media designs, including heart-shaped magnets, nature creatures, and clocks, some with tails which stir the seconds.

“I learned pretty early on, when I came to this country I had to make up a job for myself,” said Erngren, who is Swedish. “I have never been an employee, and I never will be, because that thought is horrible. I made myself an artist. I have made the decision that I will try to make a living from my own minds.

“I also realized that to sell much easier, it helps if what I’m selling is immediately obvious. I created some particular shapes that I couldn’t sell if they didn’t have a function, then realized that when I put the clockwork mechanism on, then they become a functional thing that people can immediately identify themselves.

Suzi White and Courtney Finch shared a booth after working as neighbors in previous festival appearances. Their booth drew a crowd, as White had colorful Santa hats supplied with yarn and Finch had an assortment of handcrafted jewelry available.

Joe Selph entertains children and parents during Winter Fantasy.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“Santa hats started about four or five years ago,” said White, who added that she had shown her work at Winter Fantasy for nine years.

“Since then, it’s just picked up, and it was actually a lot of artists wearing them, which was pretty cool. It’s so much fun to see people walking around with it. It makes it so festive and just super fun and cute.

Admission to Winter Fantasy is $ 10 for adults, $ 7 for seniors, and $ 5 for children 6 to 12 years old. Participants also have the opportunity to take photos with Santa Claus.

The live musical performances take place on three different stages, with a dedicated area for the audience to sit and watch.

A crowd stood by the entrance on Saturday afternoon, as the El Morro Elementary Honors Choir lit up the facility with their rendition of various holiday songs, including “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells”.

Eric Smith of Monterey Park shared his experience at Winter Fantasy, indicating that it was both mutual and independent interests that guided his trip to Laguna Beach. While his partner comes to shop, he enjoys taking pictures of the atmosphere and the works of art on display.

Children play with the animals at the Itty Bitty Children's Zoo.

Children play with the animals at the Itty Bitty Children’s Zoo.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“My significant other is shopping for herself,” Smith said. “I do a little shopping. I’m a photographer, so I walk around, take candid photos, sit and listen to music while she’s shopping.

Smith also noted that Winter Fantasy is coming back into shape, leaving parking spots in high demand for those who wish to attend the festival.

“It’s surprising,” Smith said. “Last time we got out at about the same time, around 10 am, and found easy parking. This year we went down at the same time, and we had to park in one of the parking lots and take a shuttle, which is fantastic and easy, but I’m surprised at how many people showed up this year.

Visitors explore the grounds of the Sawdust Art Festival during Winter Fantasy.

Visitors explore the grounds of the Sawdust Art Festival during Winter Fantasy.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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