Saturday and Sunday Oct. 3 and 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair enters its 43rd year with a full roster of activities for the beach community from arts and crafts to free family games.
According to Joseph Rait, board member in charge of publicity for the Hometown Fair, all of the arts and crafts booths are carefully culled by the fair’s arts jury. “By tradition, the fair allows only handcrafted items sold, no manufactured items. This year’s fair features over 250 unique vendors, and a diverse selection of ceramics, paintings, hand-designed jewelry, clothing and wood-work.”
Shoppers and browsers won’t be hungry or thirsty while they peruse these booths: the fair is known for its tasty local eats, from tacos to gyros to pizza and Hawaiian shave ice. Located on both the Dorsey and Live Oak fields during fair hours, the food booths are manned by a mix of 60 plus local charitable organizations.
The Beer Garden on Dorsey Field is also staffed by charities benefiting Manhattan Beach youth, and runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Prefer a glass of vino? There’s a wine garden benefiting charitable groups as well, from noon to 6 p.m. both days. Live musical performances run from 1 to 5 p.m., as do wine tastings from California wineries.
Kids of all ages flock to the game booths, where classics such as bean bag toss, face painting, and—break out the fish food—Goldfish Ping Pong Toss have entertained families for generations. Free participatory games include three-legged races, a water balloon toss and sack races for both children and adults.
At Kid Country, pony rides and a petting zoo are popular attractions.“Kids will also experience bounce houses, mazes, and a velcro climbing wall this year,” said Rait. At the Tot Lot, attractions include clowns, a magician, and a toy treasure hunt. And of course there’s the annual Toddler Trot and Diaper Derby races: crawling babies go for the gold at the Diaper Derby at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on Dorsey Field, while walkers under 24 months get to trot at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The fair has plenty of music too. Located next to the Joslyn Center, the South Stage has continuous entertainment from cover and tribute bands 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, and until 5:30 pm on Sunday. The Main Stage on Dorsey Field is the spot to take in the Battle of the Bands, where finalists vie for a $500 cash prize 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Saturday, when the winner plays a victory set. Other local acts keep the music going through 4:15 p.m. Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Sunday.
There’s dance fun Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Stage. According to Rait, this is the first year the fair will be offering free salsa lessons.
That’s not all the entertainment in store: the Hometown Fair Community Showcase inside Joslyn Center is the spot for art and photography exhibits, fashion shows, gymnastics, dance events and city historical displays, open continuously during fair hours.
Nominated for a 2015 Best of Manhattan Award and produced by an all-volunteer board of directors, the fair is located on Valley Drive between 15th and 21st Streets in Manhattan Beach.
Free parking and shuttle service is available at 1500 Rosecrans Ave. The shuttle operates every 15 minutes. Uber/Lyft users are asked to use Highland Avenue south of 15th Street (in front of the library) as drop off/pick up points.