Posted on November 30, 2009 by Sawdust Art Festival

For Immediate Release
November 29, 2009


Laguna Beach, CA – Joining 34 new artists of this year’s 19th Annual Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy, we welcome the addition of two new concessionaires, Mark’s Restaurant and Sallie’s Funnel Cakes, and Zoomars Petting Zoo, all proving to be big hits with Winter Fantasy visitors.

Mark’s Restaurant – Owner Mark DePalma and head chef partner Martin Gonzalez have been collaboratively running Mark’s Restaurant for over two decades. With a storefront that opened last year next door to the Sawdust Art Festival grounds, Mark’s Restaurant appeared to be a great local fit for this year’s Winter Fantasy show. Mark’s gourmet menu has impressed visitors, staff members, exhibitors and artisans alike, and the Sawdust is proud to have Mark’s Restaurant join its family of local concessionaires this winter.

On the festival menu at Mark’s Restaurant you will find an assortment of delicious gourmet dishes such as filet mignon tacos, Brie cheese and mango quesadillas, breakfast burritos, chicken curry rice bowls with mango and chutney sauce, jalapeno hot dogs and even the Klingenmeier burger, named after Sawdust General Manager Tom Klingenmeier.

DePalma prides himself on having a menu where everything is fresh and made from scratch, something very obvious when tasting his culinary creations. DePalma says about his first season on the Sawdust grounds, “it is great being here. It’s so much fun and I’m thrilled to be a part of the Winter Fantasy.”

Sallie’s Funnel Cakes – Bringing Southern hospitality to Southern California, owner Sallie Sills is now serving funnel cakes and other fried delights on the Sawdust grounds at her booth Sallie’s Funnel Cakes. You can find Sills herself in her concession kitchen frying up not only her popular funnel cakes, made from her family’s batter recipe of choice from the South and topped with powdered sugar, fresh strawberries, apples, raspberries, chocolate and M&Ms, but also other unique treats such as fried Twinkies, Snickers, Oreos, Nutter Butters, cupcakes and bananas.

Sills relocated from Houston to Dana Point nearly four years ago and decided in early 2009 to continue her family’s funnel cake business, a family-owned and operated business for over 26 years, in Orange County. After a few training sessions at the Houston Rodeo and then trying first-hand the Ventura Fair, the open concessionaire spot at the Sawdust’s Winter Fantasy appeared to be a great fit and perfect opportunity for Sallie’s Funnel Cakes. Having grown up near the mountains of Arkansas and Tennessee, Sills “loves the Sawdust and its folksy, outdoorsy environment” and claims it, “the perfect venue.” With the help of her mom, two young nieces, and twin sister, Sills is continuing the family business Southern-style at the Sawdust’s 19th Annual Winter Fantasy.

Zoomars Petting Zoo – Working in conjunction with Omar’s Exotic Birds, Zoomars Petting Zoo has created a very interactive experience for this year’s Winter Fantasy visitors at the festival’s petting zoo area. Both children and adults can come in and pet friendly small farm animals and exotic birds. On the Winter Fantasy grounds you will find Gracie the Goat and Lucy Bunny, accompanied by guinea pigs, furry rabbits, Japanese Silky Chickens, two Hyacinth Macaws and small blue parrots.

Over 25 years ago, co-owner Omar Gonzalez started both Omar’s Exotic Birds and Zoomars Petting Zoo, ventures that began as a passion morphed into a hobby that developed into formal businesses. Gonzalez encourages visitors to “come and get unconditional love,” as “pets and furry friends provide nothing but unconditional love.”

For more info on the 2009 Winter Fantasy’s new concessionaires and attractions, please visit or call 949-494-3030.   The 19th Annual Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art Festival runs weekends now through December 13. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm. Admission prices range from $9 for a Season Pass (unlimited entries) to $6 for Adults, $5 for Seniors (65+), $3 for Children (6-12) and FREE for Children 5 and younger.   The Winter Fantasy is located at the Sawdust Art Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.  

The Sawdust Art Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and promoting the art created in Laguna Beach.

The Sawdust Art Festival thanks its 2009 Winter Fantasy media sponsors
Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot and 100.3 The Sound.