The street was already jam packed by the time I got there, and everyone was in an awesome mood. It was hard to get anywhere very quickly, because every few feet you'd see someone else you knew and loved - and most likely hadn't seen around Abbot Kinney in a while. The AK Fest is like Venice Homecoming, I always say, as the folks who tend to avoid the tourist trap that AK Boulevard has become still do come out for this annual event. It's great because you get the reassurance that your People are still here.
There was a lot of shopping to be done, but who really has time for that when there are so many friends and neighbors to see? But if you did want to get some new gear, there were a ton of unique to Venice places who also set up shop. Burro, Ananda (who hooked me up with some new glasses as the sun was so bright it really did hurt your eyes), Principessa, and Amiga Wild were all there to offer things that really are still Mom and Pop places around here.
There was a lot of art, a lot of jewelry, and a lot of things that really only make sense for a street fair or a festival ... like the giant rainbow headdress that I found myself wanting (just have no place to put it!). I was happy to see this also because I missed the Brazilian samba dancers going by earlier in the day, and I love that.
A large Kid Zone was there for the youngsters, with games and inflatable things to jump on. Faces could be painted, temporary tattoos could be applied, and there were a ton of opportunities to get your kids sugar high.
Long lines for beer gardens are always avoided by me, and the same goes for food, so you tend to get starving by the end of the day. I always like to check out the Outdoor Grill stand, but they had closed down by the time I made my way back over there, but it sure smelled great earlier in the day.
The "Locals" stage at Andalusia was again our headquarters this year, where you knew you'd see friends, because many of them were performing. Paul Chesne got people dancing in his afternoon set, and we all lounged around in the backstage area enjoying our airplane bottles of booze and lemonade (it's no secret).
It was especially exciting this year for the Festival, as it was the very first one for several little babies I know.
There is always so much to see and do at the AK Fest, but again, my favorite part is seeing my friends in real life, and not just on social media - as that medium has only made us all more anti-social.
The sun started to set and that meant that soon you began to hear the clanking of poles that signals the end of another AK Fest as all the booths start getting dismantled.