Festival crowds prepare to descend on Riviera Village

by Jason Dietrich

Taylor Grosser considers sharing her cotton candy with Tommy the Clown at last year's Riviera Village Festival. Photo by Jason Dietrich

It’s the time of year when the normally sleepy Riviera Village is overrun by clowns, rock ‘n rollers and 50,000 festival goers.

The strains of Zydeco music and the smell of popcorn and cotton candy will fill the air as strollers and shoppers browse the 200 arts and craft stalls along Catalina Avenue and Avenue I, at the 21st Annual Riviera Village Festival, Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The festival is will do double-duty as Redondo Beach’s 109th birthday party, with mayor Greg Hill and city councilmen cutting the cake, at 3 p.m. Sunday, while an ariel banner towed by a small plane streams overhead.

Lauren Mahakian, of the city’s public works department, said they wouldn’t be able to bring enough for cake for everyone.

"It’s a small cake. We can’t feed 50,000 people," she said.

Event promoters have done their best to make sure no one goes home hungry by providing a food court with vendors selling foods from all corners of the globe.

Two stages of will host bands from blues, jazz, rock n’ roll and children’s performances. Orange County’s Shameless Dawgs will be blasting out classic rock afternoons in the beer garden.

Sculptors, leather workers, painters, jewelers, photographers and other artists will have their works on display, and a kiddie area will feature games, rides and other amusements.

The often controversial petting zoo exhibit will return, accompanied by an exotic bird and reptile exhibit that debuted at last year’s fair.

Expanded this year is space dedicated to animal rescue groups and the Redondo Beach Police Canines Officer program. The police dogs will demonstrate how they can aid their partners and complement the abilities of human officers. ER