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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 310 - Pageant of the Masters

For those outside Orange County, California, every year Laguna Beach hosts a unique event, the Pageant of the Masters. This event showcases major art works as part of the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts. However, the difference is that each painting is recreated using live subjects and special lighting that makes it look exactly like a painting.

The Pageant and the Festival have an interesting story. Laguna Beach had been an arts centered community since the 1880s. As a tiny village on the south coast of Orange County, its galleries attracted tourists from all over the country. When the Great Depression hit, many of the galleries went out of business as tourism dropped.

In an effort to attract the tourists back, the community started the Festival of the Arts. One of the side exhibits was a few paintings with living characters. It was a big hit and by 1935 became an annual event.

Over the last 75 years, the Pageant has grown and changed. I saw my first one in the 1970s and have gone back every so often over the years. The pageant usually has a theme around which the paintings are chosen. For instance, this year’s is “Only Make Believe” and many of the paintings are about mythology, dragons, science fiction and fantasy.

Tonight my wife and I attended the dress rehearsal for the pageant, which begins July 7. It is a thoroughly modern version of the event but the techniques and values date back to the 1940s. On one occasion they show you exactly how each painting is constructed. Otherwise you need a pair of binoculars to tell who the real people in the art are.

If you’re in Southern California this summer, be sure to stop by visit Laguna Beach and Pageant of the Masters.

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