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Tenth Sawdust Winter Fantasy Holiday Festival Opens Saturday

The Sawdust Art Festival is ringing in the 2010 holiday season with its annual Winter Fantasy. The 10th such holiday fest, it features 170 artists under the banner “A Palette of Holiday Treasures.”

All items for sale are original and hand-made, consisting of a mix of holiday oriented and multi-seasonal works. Forty-four artists are first-time exhibitors this year.

For four weekends, from November 20th to December 12th, the grounds will be festively decorated. From the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting on Saturday, Santa will be around all day, and at 5:30 p.m. Mayor Elizabeth Pearson will light the main Christmas tree while the Top of the World Elementary School Honors Choir sings holiday carols. Visitors will also have a chance to drop off gifts under the Toys for Tots tree.

This year’s newcomers include jewelry maker Elizabeth Bendarzeski who works with natural components like shells and stones. “My favorite thing about being an artist is to create what I feel and not what someone would like me to do,” she said.

Scott and Naomi Schoenherr collaborate on ceramics, multi-media wall hangings and metal jewelry. This is their first time at the Sawdust where they hope to find a lively market for a few holiday oriented works and their season-less works. “We also exhibit at the Festival of Art but wanted to try the Sawdust this year,” said Naomi Schoenherr.

The couple also created a piece of public art this year by designing the wall of the public rest room on Forest Lane.

Patti Jo, a ten-year winter fest veteran creates jewelry from freshwater pearls and metal. Along with her copyrighted bracelets, she also crafts holiday specific jewelry like snowman and Christmas tree earrings. “People like to adorn their homes and themselves for Christmas,” she said.

Glassblower John Barber has been exhibiting for eight years by now and says that he is busy making pieces that would make wonderful Christmas gifts. “There will be some unique Christmas ornaments that I don’t make year around,” he said.

As in previous years, 12 community groups including Girl Scout Troops #308, 1440 LB Parents Club, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Laguna Presbyterian Preschool CSP, Inc., Daisy Troop #1725,  Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters, the Chamber of Commerce,  American Legion Auxiliary, LB Girl Scouts #1250, Girl Scout Troop #1165 and First Thursdays Art Walk will each decorate their own trees. The best one will be chosen at the end of opening day.

Although the bucolic Laguna Canyon setting has yet to get a “white Christmas,” the festival’s website advises visitors to dress warmly—with all the crazy weather we have had all year, one just never knows.

Winter Fantasy 2010 opens Nov. 20 and runs Nov.21, 26, 27,28, and Dec. 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Santa till 5:30) Admission: General $6, Seniors $5, Children 6-12 $3.

935 Laguna Canyon Road. 949-494-3030  www.sawdustfestival.org

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