Wisdom Workout


Through the Looking Glass

By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

It’s 6:05 p.m. at the VIP artist preview party, a ticketed event held this past Monday, July 2, which kicks off this year’s season of The Festival of Arts 2018.

Well-wishers of the 140 talented artists and members of the many non-profit organizations that consistently lend support to this anticipated event line up early awaiting entrance to the festival grounds.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum have entered onto the dance floor, joyfully and skillfully navigating on three-foot stilts to the delight of on-lookers, who secretly wonder how they can effortlessly gyrate without a flicker of fear that they could topple from their perch.


One of the stilt walkers, who later in the night managed to boogie to disco tunes even while elevated. Photo by Dondee Quincena
One of the stilt walkers, who later in the night managed to boogie to disco tunes even while elevated. Photo by Dondee Quincena

The 6 p.m. entry ticket holders file in and head for the multi-balloon decorated tables loaded with finger foods of cheese, fruit and delicate pastries. Some split off to turn in tickets for their first glass of wine for the evening.

The mood is festive and there is a welcoming though slight, cooling breeze to kiss the brows of the summer revelers as they acclimate to the festive surroundings.

Most are dressed casually and just as I say that, I believe I’ve caught a glimpse of Prince Somebody. I will have to introduce myself to see whether he earns the name Charming.

To my left is definitely The Mad Hatter, looking festive in an orange velvet vest, striped trousers, flaming red hair, orange framed sunglasses to match and an elegant top hat with a peacock feather placed just so.

The caterpillar is perched close to the performers stage, an avatar created by festive blue and pink balloons.

A few guests are wearing American flag T-shirts and stars and stripe hats, smartly prepared for the upcoming 4th of July celebration that is only two days away.

The Rabbit is sporting a custom-made top hat so that his ears are accommodated comfortably and his large timepiece is displayed prominently to remind us all that this surely counts as an important date.

Apparently, many have forgotten the dress code required to “meet the Queen” as the theme of the evening. To be fair, I don’t think the announcement specified whether it was the Queen of Hearts or the Queen of England, which would most likely require two different approaches.

As the 7 p.m. crowd adds to the merriment, the dance floor is fully occupied, the music fills the air and the grounds are duly christened with the sights and sounds that set the stage for another extraordinarily successful summer festival.

The Festival of Arts Fine Art Show is celebrating its 86th year and opened to the public this past Thursday, July 5, through Sept. 1. Live music, hands-on art activities, exhibitions of local student artwork and the works of 140 of Orange County’s most talented artists and a wide variety of special events round out one of Southern California’s outstanding summer festivals.

General admission: weekdays $10, weekends $15; students and seniors discounted; children 6-12, daily $5. Free admission for children 5, military and Laguna Beach residents.


The author is a local resident and art appreciator.



Photo by Dondee

One of the stilt walkers, who later in the night managed to boogie to disco tunes even while elevated.


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