The 26th annual Abbot Kinney Festival, billed as one of the Los Angeles area’s most popular community events, will take place on a one-mile stretch of the eclectic Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26.

The free festival, held along the boulevard of boutiques, restaurants and bars from Venice Boulevard to Main Street, features local artisans, live music and family entertainment.

Organized by the nonprofit Abbot Kinney Festival Association (AKFA), the Abbot Kinney Festival has grown in size and popularity over the years to become one of the largest of its kind in Southern California, attracting nearly 150,000 people, promoters say. Proceeds from sponsorships, booth exhibitor fees, official merchandise, and event concessions will benefit the AKFA community grants program.

Performance highlights include an indie band line-up at the Milkmade Stage on Andalusia Avenue and live music and deejay tunes curated by dublab and L.A. Record Stage at Brooks Avenue. In addition, the Brig Stage at Palms Avenue will showcase popular deejays from dublab.

The festival features over 300 arts and crafts exhibitors, food trucks and three food courts, beer gardens, and an expanded Kids- Quad with music, dance, art activities, hands-on workshops and amusement attractions.

During this year’s festival, beginning at 3:45 p.m. on the Milkmade Stage, the AKFA board of directors will award grants to the following 10 Venice non-profits: 826LA, Beyond Baroque, Electric Lodge, Venice Arts, Venice Chamber of Commerce, Venice Community Garden, Venice High School Robotics, Venice Historical Society, Venice Surf & Skateboard Association, and A Window Between Worlds.

The board will additionally recognize the 2010 recipients of the AKFA’s Spirit of Venice Awards. The honorees, who were nominated by the community for their contributions to the “heart and soul” of Venice include:

ï Artist Earl Newman, nationally known for his original hand-designed, silkscreened poster prints (and who also produced this year’s official festival poster);

ï Jesse Martinez, professional skateboarder, community advocate, and co-founder of the Venice Beach Skate Park, Venice Surf & Skate Association, and Globe Industries;

ï Los Angeles Fire Department Inspector Mike Neeley; and

ï Los Angeles Police Department senior lead officer Heidi Llanes.

Visitors are encouraged to ride their bicycles to the festival. The first 500 riders to use one of the festival’s free bike valet stations at Milwood, Broadway, or Westminster will receive a reusable shopping tote from Whole Foods Market in Venice.

Visitors can also use public

transportation such as the Metro, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, or

Playa Vista Beach Shuttle. Public parking lots are available at Venice Beach, but spaces fill early. Several private parking lots are located near Windward Avenue. Additional parking lots are on Electric Avenue, Washington Boulevard near the Venice Pier, and in Marina del Rey.

Event and performer information,