Before the public opening of The Festival of Arts, an estimated 4,000 special guests attended the private Artists Opening, and the Irvine Bowl was filled to capacity for the previews of the 2013 Pageant of the Masters.
Saturday was the final preview — and the first time Susan Davis, festival director of special events, would have a chance to see the pageant. She is in charge of the activities on the grounds outside the Irvine Bowl.
Davis was looking forward to seeing the pageant, especially the vignette titled "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," one of the movies featured in the "Big Picture" theme of the 2013 show and one of Davis' favorites.
"The boy looking at the painting is the son of Laguna Art Museum Director Malcolm Warner," she said.
Also at the VIP Night: Katrina and City Councilman Steve Dicterow, Trudy Grossman, John Hoover, Sandy Groves, Jane and Joe Hanauer and John and Lu Campbell, former festival exhibitor for 32 years, now in the Sawdust.
"I must have seen the pageant 20 times and it's magic every year," said Nancy Beverage, who attended with husband, Gary.
Festival board secretary Pat Kollenda celebrated the birthdays of sons Craig and Kevin at a pre-preview dinner at Tivoli Terrace, along with husband, James, and their third son, Kris, and his wife, Tonia.
Also at the preview: festival board members Fred Sattler, Anita Mangels, Wayne Baglin and Tom Lamb — who also is an exhibitor.
"This is the pageant's 80th anniversary and I am so pleased it reflects Laguna's connection to Hollywood," Sattler said.
This year's show pays tribute to motion pictures, mostly through the pageant's legendary "stills" but with enough action to keep it moving.
"It is a multimedia show," said exhibitor Mike Tauber.
Sattler was particularly pleased by the rolling of credits at the end of the pageant, including the names of the volunteers that make it all possible.
Ramon Banda and Coral MacFarland Thuet entertained on the stage outside the Irvine Bowl.
Friday was the Chamber of Commerce preview, also billed as Laguna Appreciation Night.
"It is our major fundraiser and we sold all 500 tickets a week ahead of time," said Executive Director Kristine Thalman, escorted by Luciano Steffanini.
The audience included chamber President Michael Kinsman, Laguna Community Concert Band founder Carol Reynolds, Roy and retired City Clerk Martha Anderson, Laguna Beach County Water District General Manager Renae Hinchey with granddaughter, London, David Sanford and Steve Dotoratos, Gregg and Kathleen Abel, and Friends of the Library President Martha Lydick and her guest, Helena Sullivan.
Tony Guerrero entertained on the Green.
The festival also features the works of 140 artists and the not-to-be-missed Junior Art Exhibit.
"Every year we are honored to feature the work of such incredibly talented artists at the Festival of Arts," marketing and public relations director Sharbie Higuchi commented in a festival news release.
Exhibits include paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry and furniture.
Among the familiar exhibitors' names: Tom Swimm, Jackquie Moffett, Randy Bader, Scott Moore and Ken Auster. Also: painters Kirsten Whalen and September McGee, jeweler Lance Heck, ceramist Marlo Bartels and sculptor Jon Seeman, whose whale breeches at Heisler Park.
Grounds activities scheduled by Davis include the cooking series and the popular Runway Fashion Show, featuring garments made from recycled materials, set for Aug. 31.
"The master of ceremonies for the fashion show this year will be Christos, from the Dukes of Melrose," Davis said.
She has also booked two of Laguna's own restaurateurs for The Art of Cooking series: Amar Santana, chef and partner at Broadway, on Glenneyre Street, on July 28 and Azmin Ghahreman, owner/chef of Sapphire at the Old Pottery Place.
Davis is also responsible for bringing local favorites Jason Feddy, the Missiles of October and the Laguna Community Concert Band to the grounds. All two-hour performances will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Feddy will perform Tuesday, July 21, Aug. 6 and Aug. 25. The Missals will rock on July 27 and again on Aug. 31.
The concert band played Sunday, with Mayor Kelly Boyd making a guest appearance. A second performance is scheduled for Aug. 14.
Admission to the grounds is free to members of the military, children under 12 with an adult and folks with proof of Laguna Beach residency.
"There's something for everyone this year," Higuchi said. "Visitors can wander through the artwork and buy a piece to take home, listen to an art tour, catch a demonstration, or just sit back and enjoy
Free art tours are held at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Folks will have a chance to meet artists and learn firsthand about their work at separate demonstrations, held at random times throughout the run of the festival.
A self-guided tour activated by phone allows visitors to hear about works in the artist's own words. Dial (949) 743-1601 and follow the commands. Then pick a booth number from 1 to 140.
The festival grounds are open from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. through Aug. 27. Gates close at 3 p.m. on Aug. 28. General admission is $7 on weekdays and $10 on weekends. Students and seniors pay $4 on weekdays and $6 on weekends.
A special promotion, funded in part by Bank of America, offers a Passport to the Arts for $21.50. The passport includes unlimited admissions all summer to the festival, the Sawdust Festival and Art-A-Fair; one-time free parking in the ACT V parking lot on Laguna Canyon Road and free shuttle service. It does not include the Pageant of the Masters.
For more information visit http://www.LagunaBeachPassport.com or call (949) 497-0521.
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