Yesterday I was very happy to attend the unique, wonderful and free Abbot Kinney Festival 2016 in Venice, CA. This festival, which has been running for 32 years, is an amazing collection of eclectic and original food, music, arts and crafts vendors, clothing and jewelry vendors, and all things uniquely Venice. Stroll down Abbot Kinney Blvd. any time of year and you will find wonderful shops, restaurants and things to enjoy. When the festival is going on, the boulevard is on steroids -- the variety and number of places to see, eat, visit and enjoy are almost overwhelming.
The festival is a wonderful non-profit and is Southern California’s largest free community festival. It’s a fundraiser produced by the Abbot Kinney Festival Association that supports organizations in Venice that help the community’s youth, population and the arts. Staffed by armies of dedicated volunteers, they do an excellent job representing the unique wonder of their community while giving back and supporting it at the same time.
There are almost too many special things to list from my adventure yesterday. Some highlights, in no particular order are:
The gourmet donuts lovingly created at Blue Star Coffee and Donuts, 1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, website bluestardonuts.com. Outstanding, lovingly created original donuts fresh out of the oven. I imagine the coffee is excellent as well, although regrettably I didn’t have a chance to try it.
The unique and super comfortable sofas of Dumbo Lounge Sacks (website www.dumboloungesacks.com/). I actually bought one of these on the spot after trying them. These clever blow up sofas do not require a pump. You simply catch the air in them several times and roll up the end to create a go anywhere, very comfortable sofa so comfy you could sleep on it! Great for camping, the beach, your living room, extra household guests, rec rooms, etc. This is a wonderful, clever invention, and not as hard to get in and out of that you might think. I tried it before I bought one just to make sure.
The cauliflower and curry yummy tacos served from a tent near one of the music stages from Plant Food + Wine, a restaurant nearby at 1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Delicious, original tacos that were simply mouth-watering. I wandered into the nearby restaurant afterwards for a much needed iced coffee. While the coffee was outstanding, the service was quite slow. Hopefully this was only due to the business of the festival, and I trust their service is usually much better. Beautiful little restaurant though, strictly vegan with a lovely garden in the back you can enjoy. Very tasty food in an elegant restaurant, but perhaps to be avoided if you’re in a rush.
Pause Float Studio. The friendly folks from Pause Float Studio were there at the festival. In case you don’t know what a float tank is, that is an immersion tank where you float in salt-infused water so gravity virtually disappears. You float for a good 15 minutes or more and the effects are very calming and health inducing. For more information, visit pausefloatstudio.com. I have floated several times before, it’s wonderful and very soothing. They are on 13353 West Washington Blvd., in Culver City. Looks like a beautiful spa from the photos I saw, I’ll have to stop in soon.
The festival also offered a wonderful KidsQuad for the little ones with their own stage, music, games and picnic area. The festival also has tons of food trucks, several beer gardens for the adults, five music stages, many beautiful original jewelry vendors, artists and craftspeople selling their wares, etc. This festival is huge, and runs from 10 am to 6 pm. I highly recommend it, but get there early as the crowds as I was leaving around 3 were getting quite intimidating.
Many thanks to all the volunteers, staff and community of Venice for bringing us this festival every year. It's as unique and original as your lovely community is all year ‘round. For more information on the festival, visit abbotkinneyfestival.org. For more information about the unique community of Venice, visit venicechamber.net. See you there next year!
On another item, I would like to mention the new shop Frozen Fruit Co. in nearby Santa Monica, CA located at 729 Montana Avenue. Frozen Fruit Co. is a delicious soft serve frozen treat that is made entirely from fruit. It is dairy, white sugar and gluten free, and also vegan. Run by two ex-lawyers from London, England, a husband and wife pair, they just opened this pretty little shop this past July. It’s a lovely spot run by friendly proprietors where you can enjoy a delicious, healthy snack much better for you than the typical ice cream cone. Website frozenfruitco.com.
There are more photos from both the festival and Frozen Fruit Co. now posted on my Flickr page here: flickr.com/joybennett.