Photos by Caroline Laganas
The sun scorched down on the swarm of bodies that strolled along Abbot Kinney Boulevard on Sunday. The street was surrounded by more than 300 fine art and artisan vendors, dozens of food booths and gourmet trucks, four live music stages, three beer and spirit gardens, a Kidsquad with rides and activities, restaurants and chic boutiques.
The atmosphere was electric. Children squealed as they rode ponies, and parents giggled with their children on top of a miniature ferris wheel and rock climbing wall. Disco songs blared down one street, only for live guitar melodies to play along the next road. Savory BBQ aromas wafted through the humid air while people discussed which vendors to visit.
The mile-long stretch of Abbot Kinney Boulevard hosted its 32nd year of the Abbot Kinney Festival on Sunday, Sept. 25. The festival ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is Southern California’s largest free community festival that draws thousands of adults and families each year.
The roads were blocked off for community-based organizations in Venice to gather and celebrate art, diversity, youth and unity.
“We believe that we can have fun, bring our community together and give back at the same time. In fact, that’s exactly the spirit of the community we love so much and are committed to supporting,” according to the event’s flyer.
Hundreds of vendors displayed art such as leather goods, handcrafted jewelry and trinkets, blown glass that glistened under the sun, clothing for all ages, vintage photography and paintings. With no entrance fee, visitors were able to walk throughout the venue, purchase crafts and clothes with varying prices, donate to causes, and eat food.
With crowds of people lining the boulevard, some of the largest masses of people were seen in front of food trucks. People waited in line to eat falafel made from ground chickpeas, they eagerly anticipated Cousins Maine Lobster, and they stayed for hot dogs wrapped with hardwood smoked bacon and topped with a fried egg at Dogtown Dogs.
Besides gathering to fill stomachs, an assembly of people flocked in front of Catty Wagon to add a furry new member to the family. The truck contained a “cuteness overload” of kittens up for adoption. The Catty Wagon was lined with windows full of fuzzy kittens inside, and an area for people to walk in and play with the critters.
Other vendors also sought to improve lifestyles. Beach Fit LA offered sign-ups for paddle boarding, kayaking, beach workouts and bike rentals. For those searching for more of a laid back activity, The Life Center Chiropractic hyperlink offered complimentary spinal stress checks. Another booth was filled with salon chairs and mirrors and advertised $20 haircuts.
Certain booths provided information on education resources. One stand was dedicated to celebrating mathematics by solving equations and winning prizes. Another was filled with activists looking for participants to save the dolphins. An Aquaponics vendor showcased real vines and plants grown by using a soil-less system with fish excrement.
In its 32nd year of celebration, the Abbot Kinney Festival has become home to an array of eclectic tastes, cultures, and a diverse community. Vendors set up shop for the day to spread their creativity, ideas, causes and excitement. Family and friends gathered along the boulevard to spend the afternoon with each other. The Abbot Kinney Festival not only celebrated the dynamic community of Venice, but it also welcomed those looking for a terrific way to spend a Sunday.
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