SURFING SOAPBOX:Sawdust represents ‘old Laguna’

For some here in Laguna Beach, summer kicks off with the high school graduation or the first day of seasonal lifeguards working on our beaches.

For others, such as myself, it is the opening of the Sawdust Festival, where each year local residents are treated to a residents only opening night of the festival which showcases our local artists and their many talents.

That includes artists who paint Laguna Beach landscapes, or the fascinating-to-watch glass blowers, or the ceramicists who throw that piece of clay and turn it into magic.

What I like most about the opening of the Sawdust is that it is truly about Laguna "” an evening where Laguna artists and residents collide for a one-night extravaganza of good times and good memories, a night where the good old vibe of the old Laguna is alive and well.


It’s not the “new” Laguna that is merely seen as a rich and affluent community with big homes and fancy cars "” the one that has out-priced many of our born-and-raised residents.

The “old Laguna” prided itself on being a small artistic beach community that one time had the belief we would never become like our snooty neighbor, Corona Del Mar.

Ironically, now it’s Laguna with its own so-called “reality show” "” the very town that once boasted of its locals-first culture and mom and pop shops that gave Laguna Beach it’s uniqueness.

This is all the more reason to attend opening night at the Sawdust, or any other night. It is truly one of the last genuine old Laguna traditions still alive and well in our town.



  • JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and founder of the Aloha School of Surfing. He can be reached at