Fashion pop-ups, live bands and food trucks celebrate the boardwalk’s laid-back vibe

The Venice Beach Festival takes over Windward this weekend

The Venice Boardwalk is renowned for its energetic street performers, free-spirited artists and quirky merchants. This weekend’s Venice Beach Festival celebrates the boardwalk’s unique Venice vibe with its own mix of live music, fashion pop-ups, food trucks and community booths where Windward Avenue meets the beach.

“We’re trying to create our little Venice vibe on the beach where we all grew up,” says festival organizer Jacqueline Lennon, whose family — including The Lawrence Welk Show stars The Lennon Sisters and member of the band Venice — is currently celebrating its 100th year in Venice.

Fashion vendors setting up along Ocean Front Walk include Funkalicious Fashions, Segunda and Stoned by Heidi, whose handmade jewelry reflects a bohemian vibe. Blue Sugar Mode — a mobile boutique that sells women’s clothing from the back of a royal blue fashion truck — is also pulling in for the event, with owner Hava Monet selling boho-chic and vintage attire and accessories.

“We definitely go for trying to capture the Venice style,” says Lennon.

That also includes a pop-up boutique by apparel brand California Cowboy, whose signature style aims to communicate the state’s laidback, West Coast “Cowboy” culture.

Lennon hopes to continue expanding this annual July celebration of Venice Beach culture, and this is the first time the festival has a national sponsor: 7-Eleven, which will be giving free Slurpees to all attendees.

Food trucks include The Big Cheese, with creative melts (including a vegan Chao “Cheese” melt) paired with tomato soup.

The live music lineup includes the mellow alternative duo Cast No Shadows, which features Rick Kaupp and Suzy Hines performing music alternately influenced by 1960s and ’90s sounds with “a dash of psychedelic.”

Also on the bill: country-flavored locals The Venice Street Legends and singer-songwriters John Luttrell and Levi Chen.

“We just wanted to create a fun little festival that featured and highlighted some local artists and is a great place for vendors to come out and display,” says Lennon.

 

— Molly Nolan

The Venice Beach Festival happens from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, on the Venice Boardwalk near Windward Avenue. Free. Visit venicebeachfestival.com for more info.

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