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Laguna Beach

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Laguna Beach is a seaside resort city located in southern Orange County, California. It is known for a mild year-round climate, scenic coves, environmental preservation, and an artist community. The city has remained relatively isolated from urban encroachment by its surrounding hills, limited highway access, and a dedicated greenbelt. Tourism is the primary industry with an estimated six million people visiting the community annually. Annual large events include the Pageant of the Masters, Festival of Arts, Sawdust Art Festival, Art-A-Fair, Bluewater Music Festival, and Kelpfest.

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According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Laguna Beach has a total area of 25.4 km2 (9.8 sq mi), of which 22.9 km2 (8.8 sq mi) is land and 2.5 km2 (0.97 sq mi). Its coastline is 7 mi (11 km) long and includes 27 beaches and coves. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, Crystal Cove State Park and the city of Newport Beach on the northwest, Laguna Woods on the northeast, Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel on the east, and Dana Point on the southeast.

The land in and around Laguna Beach rises quickly from the shoreline into the hills and canyons of the San Joaquin Hills. The town’s highest point, at an elevation of 1,007 feet (307 m), is Temple Hill in the Top of the World neighborhood. Because of its hilly topography and surrounding parklands, there are few roads into or out of town; only the Coast Highway connecting to Newport Beach to the northwest and to Dana Point to the south, and State Route 133 crossing the hills in a northeastern direction through Laguna Canyon. Parts of Laguna Beach border the Aliso/Wood Canyons Regional Park.

The natural landscape of beaches, rocky bluffs and craggy canyons have been noted as sources of inspiration for Plein air painters and landscape photographers who have settled in the Laguna Beach since the early 1900s. The hills also are known internationally for mountain biking. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a 7,000-acre (2,800 ha) wilderness area in the hills surrounding Laguna Beach. This park features coastal canyons, ridgeline views and the only natural lakes in Orange County.

The Laguna Art Museum is rooted in the development of Laguna Beach as an art community with the creation of the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918. Located beside the main beach, the museum focuses on the art of California. The Pageant of the Masters, founded in 1935, is held annually during the summer months. The unique show presents recreations of famous artworks using real people as models. Community organizations also host several long-running art festivals during the summer season.

The Festival of Arts, which underwent a major renovation in 2017, originated in the 1930s. It showcases juried works by 140 local artists, and its stage provides a venue for daily musical performances in July and August of each year. The Sawdust Art Festival was founded in 1965 as a counterculture alternative to the Festival of Arts. It exhibits non-juried crafts and arts on a dedicated 3-acre (1.2-hectare) site. The Art-A-Fair began in 1966, built an exhibition site in 1977 and exhibits juried works of 125 artists from outside the area.

The Laguna Playhouse, founded in 1920, is noted as the “oldest continuously running theatre on the west coast”. The playhouse provides professional stage productions in its 420-seat Moulton Theater, as well as performances by the Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre program. The Irvine Bowl is a 2600-seat amphitheater used for the Pageant of the Masters program and for occasional concerts.

The Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational is held annually in October. Some of North America’s plein air landscape painters are invited to participate in the week-long events including public paint outs, artist meet and greets, and educational activities.

The Laguna Beach Arts Commission sponsors a weekly Summer Concert in the Park series at Bluebird Park and Heisler Park. The Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society holds an annual chamber music festival during the winter season. Laguna is also home to the annual Bluewater Music Festival, and Kelpfest held on Earth Day, to raise awareness of the importance that kelp plays in ocean habitat.

Laguna Beach has a rich surfing history centered on a five-block stretch of rocky reefs between Brooks and St. Ann’s Streets. The Brooks Street Surfing Classic, begun in 1955, is a “contender for the world’s longest running surf competition,” according to the Encyclopedia of Surfing. The competition is held only when peak swell conditions occur during a four-month-long window in the summer and has been held 52 times from 1955 to 2015. Participation is open only to Laguna Beach residents. Notable participants have included Hobie Alter, Mickey Munoz, and Tom Morey.

Started in 1976, the ‘Vic’ Skimboarding World Championship is held at Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach and is the longest running skim boarding contest on the pro circuit.

The Laguna Open Volleyball Tournament began in 1955 and, according to tournament directors, it is the second oldest volleyball tournament in the United States. Participants have included several Olympic gold medalists, including Chris Marlowe, Dusty Dvorak, Scott Fortune, Dain Blanton and Gene Selznick, who won the first seven competitions.

Laguna’s foothill trails are known internationally for mountain biking. Mountain bike hall of fame legend, Hans Rey makes his home in Laguna Beach, as do the Rads, pioneers of mountain biking going back to the 1970s.

The U.S. Open for Lawnbowling is held annually, at the lawn bowling field at Heisler Park.

Laguna Beach has a history of environmental stewardship and historic preservation. Laguna Beach is the only Orange County city protected by a dedicated greenbelt inland and bluebelt seaward. In 1968, local conservationists founded Laguna Greenbelt and began a drive to conserve a horseshoe of hills and canyons surrounding Laguna Beach. As of 2011, more than 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of contiguous wildlands constituted The Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Jim Dilley Preserve, Crystal Cove State Park, and the Aliso-Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

The creation of the 7,000-acre (2,800 ha) Laguna Coast Wilderness Park as a protected area began in the late 1980s and early 1990s when local artists, activists and politicians rallied to preserve Laguna Canyon. With the environmentally focused Laguna Canyon Project and its photographic mural, “The Tell,” as backdrop and stimulus, Laguna citizens forged a partnership to prevent construction of a 3,200-acre (1,300 ha) housing project in the canyon. An exhibition on the Laguna Canyon Project, titled “The Canyon Project: Artivism,” was held at Laguna Art Museum in 2015-16.,. Today the Wilderness Park and Laguna Canyon within it are designated as open space into perpetuity.

The Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve (LBSMR), which extends from Irvine Cove to Treasure Island Beach, was established in 2012, to make most of the coastal area a no-take zone. Docents of the Laguna Ocean Foundation provide monitoring and education at tidepools within the LBSMR. In addition, the 3.2 mile long Crystal Cove State Park abuts the northern border of Laguna Beach.

American Craftsman Bungalows from the early 1900s dot the downtown and South Laguna areas. Between 1980 and 1981, the city conducted the Laguna Beach Historic Survey, a citywide block-by-block study which noted the location of pre-1940 buildings and determined which had historic significance. 706 homes and structures in Laguna Beach were classified as historically significant.

Laguna Beach is the tenth official Transition Town in the U.S. In February 2007, Laguna’s city council unanimously voted to join the U.S. Mayors Climate Initiative, and in April 2013 became the first Orange County city to request formally that the San Onofre Nuclear Reactor not be restarted after its January 2012 shut down. The Aliso Creek Water Reclamation Facility went into operation in 2014. It removes polluted runoff in Aliso Creek, improves ocean water quality, and creates local recycled water. With a grant from Cal Trans, the city is undertaking a transition plan to implement Complete Streets for all users. A North-South bicycle route with signs and sharrows was completed through town in 2014. Laguna Beach passed a citywide ‘Idaho Stop’ for cyclist, a no plastic bag ordinance and a no plastic bottle purchasing policy for its government.

The city was deemed a smoke-free place by Laguna Beach Council on May 23, 2017. Ordinance 1624 was imposed by the Beach Council to stop smoking in all public places in the city.
Fire protection in Laguna Beach is provided by the Laguna Beach Fire Department, and law enforcement by the Laguna Beach Police Department. Marine safety services are provided jointly by Laguna Beach City Lifeguards in north Laguna Beach and by Orange County Lifeguards in south Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach has used goats for its fuel reduction and vegetation management program since the early 1990s.

Content Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

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