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Santa Barbara’s culinary delights are showcased at this weekend’s fundraiser A Taste of the Town. Also enjoy a festival dedicated to ocean-y art, a “naked” Shakespeare production, a new play area for kids and more.

'Sea' you there

Sea glass, worn smooth by the sand and sea, is transformed from simple bottles into luminous nuggets prized by beachcombers. Celebrate sea glass and other sea-themed artworks at the annual Santa Barbara Sea Glass and Ocean Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday at the Earl Warren Showgrounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Artists from across the country present their one-of-a-kind jewelry and artworks. Shop, chat with the artists or attend one of the lectures, which are free with admission. Learn to identify and date sea glass, how to tell the real thing from fakes, and about the sea life in kelp forests right off the coast. Admission is $5 for one day or $9 for both. Early-bird shopping starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and is $15. (


Big changes are coming to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Renovations, lasting until next summer, include an enhanced arrival area, new pathways, restoration work on the beloved dioramas, new interpretative features and more. A permanent Butterfly Pavilion is also part of a multiyear improvement plan.

A new outdoor nature area, BaseCamp, is open daily during construction and has lots of cool and engaging activities for kids, including a “build zone” to create structures using bamboo poles, a “dig zone” to search for invertebrates and a “nature art zone” to make art from items found in nature. At certain times, naturalists will have live insects and other critters for visitors to interact with (check the website for details). (682-4711,

Taste of the Town

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The best of Santa Barbara dining and drinking are gathered in one location for one day only at A Taste of the Town on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. This benefit for the Arthritis Foundation always features food by favorite eateries: Olio E Limone, The Palace Grill, Louie’s and Renaud’s Bakery, among others. The wineries and breweries are also top notch -- and there are nearly 40 of them for the sampling.

The location, Riviera Park, originally Santa Barbara College, and later, UCSB. The grounds are lovely and the views spectacular. The food and wine promise to be equally wonderful, and the $125 ticket price goes to a good cause. (2030 Alameda Padre Serra, 563-4685,

Naked's Lear

The Naked Shakes company at UCSB’s Theatre Department relies on the audience’s imaginations during their performances, which take place on a bare stage, with the actors wearing only the suggestion of a costume. Shakespeare’s words and the actors, under the direction of Erwin Appel, will bring the play to life. It’s an exhilarating theatrical experience. It’s also free. See “King Lear” at UCSB’s Performing Arts Theater this weekend and next. Details at

Julia McHugh can be reached at