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Editorial: Wrapping up the festival season

The final weekends of the summer art festival season are upon us. The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters will have their last day Aug. 31. The Sawdust Festival and Art-A-Fair both will wrap up Aug. 30.

It’s been a challenging summer for the festivals, which rely mostly on ticket sales to keep their doors open. This year, all three partnered in a Passport to the Arts ticket offering, and we’ll see whether this program "” offering one-price-for-all admission plus special premiums "” helped keep attendance up.

All three festivals seemed to pull out all the stops this year, with more new artists and more “new" art by those who have been festival longtimers.

From the packed trolleys, and the numbers who rode the “festival" route, not to mention the dearth of parking spots along Laguna Canyon Road near the festivals, it seems this summer was not “a bummer" in terms of attendance. But the numbers have not yet been tallied; indeed, the last two weeks of the season could still prove to be a boom or bust.

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Weather is a factor, as well as the economy. With the free "” and “jolly" "” trolleys all over town bustling to the brim with riders, it appears Laguna has become known as one of the most affordable and fun family trips for locals and out-of-towners alike.

Whether this translates into profits for merchants is another story, but certainly bringing folks to town is the first battle.

But time’s growing short.

If you haven’t yet browsed the art festivals, now is the time to do so. There’s art for everyone’s taste and pocketbook; food "” from fun to fine; and a variety of entertainment acts add to the excitement.

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This year, all three festivals are emphasizing hands-on art experiences, so you can be the artist and take home something truly unique "” your own creative work.

If you haven’t gotten to the Pageant of the Masters, “The Muse," some shows are sold out but there should be tickets available between now and Aug. 31. It’s not only a riveting show, but educational as well. And there’s not a bad seat in the house.



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