I couldn't help but smile, driving into Laguna on the 133 (Laguna Canyon Road) and passing the Festival of Arts and the Sawdust Festival, knowing that summer is all but here.
Both the Festival of Arts and the Sawdust are long-standing summer traditions here in Laguna Beach, and I have made a promise to myself that I will finally go see the Pageant of the Masters "” it's almost embarrassing that I have never been.
Another great summer tradition is the world's longest-running surfing contest "” the famous Brooks Street surfing championship "” that welcomes all ages of surfers residing in the city limits.
Over the years, the contest has seen a who's who of Laguna surfing legends, including Pipeline great Mike Armstrong; big wave phenomenon Mike Parsons; Mr. Brooks Street himself, Jeff Booth; and the latest and greatest "” who is now carrying the torch for Laguna surfers "” Mike Todd.
There's also the Laguna Open Volleyball Tournament that is held each June. This used to be a professional tournament that was part of the AVP (Assn. of Volleyball Professionals), which over the years has seen Laguna's best take part "” such as gold medalists Dusty Dvorak and Dain Blanton, as well as former AVP greats Adam Johnson and Leif Hansen.
In many ways, art and athletics have always seemed to be a mainstay in Laguna Beach, and both are derived from the beach culture that we have here.
Out of all the places that I have been so fortunate to have experienced, I would be hard-pressed to name a coastline more beautiful than Laguna Beach's. It's no wonder that we have had so many great artists and athletes grow up in our town.
So, enjoy this summer as it begins another great tradition here in Laguna Beach. Take advantage of the free trolley service, because it's a great service that the city offers, and please don't forget to pick up your trash after enjoying your day at the beach.