Pageant of the Monsters attracts sold-out crowds, sets attendance new record

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The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters brought ghoulish delight to Laguna Beach on Oct. 27, 28, 29 and 31 during the long-awaited return of Pageant of the Monsters. The Halloween festivities attracted sold-out crowds of over 9,000 locals and visitors – shattering the previous record set during the last event in 2018.

The Demented Chefs serve up spooky fun at the 2023 Pageant of the Monsters. Photo/Lily Fassnacht

“We’re delighted with the overwhelming success of this year’s Pageant of the Monsters. The enthusiastic participation from our volunteers and the excited response from the community is what makes this event so special,” said Diane Challis Davy, Pageant of the Masters director and creator of the Monsters event. “We’re grateful for everyone who contributed to making this event a memorable and magical experience. We can’t wait to do it again in 2028.”

The Maze of the Minotaur haunted house brought guests through the Pageant’s amphitheater, workshops and stage, which had been transformed into the labyrinth from ancient legend by the Pageant’s creative team. Welcoming guests into the maze, a Greek oracle was projected over the stage and told the story of the brave warrior Theseus and his quest to rescue captives from the savage Minotaur. Greek mythology inspired the haunting vignettes throughout the maze with appearances by Zeus, Medusa, Pandora, Poseidon and Aphrodite, among other gods, monsters and creatures all performed by over 100 volunteer cast members. Volunteers also helped with make-up, costumes and other behind-the-scenes roles to bring Challis Davy’s haunted maze to life.

At the entrance to the Festival of Arts grounds, guests passed under giant green monster claws and spider webs to be greeted by thirteen scarecrows for the return of the Pageant of the Monsters’ Scarecrow Contest. Attendees voted for their favorites for the People’s Choice Award. On Halloween night, Challis Davy chose the winner and the top three. Taking first place was a minotaur scarecrow created by Joseph Feinberg titled “Maize of the Minotaur.” Second place was awarded to “Wednesday Scares Crows” by James and Kristen Yates and the third-place was “The Watcher” by Jayne Dion, who also took home the People’s Choice Award.

In addition to the haunted house and scarecrow contest, Pageant of the Monsters offered multiple festivities, like Alien Autopsy and Demented Chef sideshows.

Laguna Beach arts organizations, including Laguna Art-A-Fair, Sawdust Art and Craft Festival, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Playhouse and LOCA Arts Education, filled the Festival of Arts grounds with free Halloween-themed art activities. Families enjoyed face painting, art displays, having their fortunes told, and meeting snakes and other creatures from the Reptile Zoo. The Halloween ambiance was sweetened with costumed stilt walkers, Pageant sets, silent movies, and live DJs.

The lodging establishments and the city of Laguna Beach partially provided funds for this program.

Pageant of the Monsters will return in 2028 for the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters 95th Anniversary Celebration. For more information on upcoming events, follow the Festival and Pageant on social media at @FestivalPageant and visit www.foapom.com.

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