Notes from the President of Laguna Beach Sister Cities, Maggie Hempen
No one could have imagined that nearly a year after we first heard the word COVID-19 we would still be in our homes longing for the company of other humans.  Yet here we are.  And our concern and love for one another is just as strong as before, if not stronger.  While we safely stay home, we miss our socializing, our restaurants, our work environments and our activities.
Zoom meetings and Facetime has become the norm for staying in touch.  As that may not be optimal for hugs and handshakes it does work to keep us all connected.  And Laguna Beach Sister Cities remain dedicated to our commitment of working, not only with our three sister Cities but also to the City of Laguna Beach, to help bring cultural and art programs that enrich us as a community and keep us connected to our shared humanity.
While we were not able to produce our traditional beloved Fete de la Musique in 2020 we are cautiously optimistic that we will have a joyous music festival this year. 2020 brought us the opportunity to bring you music and entertainment in a virtual way. And while our festival may look different from years past, this year we are determined to bring something creative, fun and interactive for us all to enjoy and to be proud of. Your hardworking Fete committee, your Board of Directors and LBSCA membership will be spending the next few months putting all the pieces together. We are looking forward to bringing a unique, joyful and exciting musical experience to all of Laguna Beach on June 19, 2021. Look for more details as we continue to develop our plans.

So, here's to 2021. Bring it on and keep looking forward to all the possibilities.

The Holidays in our Sister Cities were festive and creative:
Menton France

Menton is a town on the French Riviera in southeast France. It's known for beaches and gardens such as the Serre de la Madone garden, showcasing rare plants. East, the hilly, medieval old town is home to Basilique Saint-Michel, with its 18th-century bell tower, and the ornate facade of La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs. Nearby, the Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman displays works by poet Jean Cocteau.

Menton City Hall, which is where The Salle des Mariages (wedding room) in the Italianate Hôtel de Ville (town hall) was decorated by Jean Cocteau on the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice

Much like our Presbyterian Church, the basilica is a town landmark. It was built in 1619 by the Genoese architect Lorenzo Lavagna. The Bastion Museum, which features decoration by Jean Cocteau, is located in the Bastion of the port of Menton.

LBSCA Founding President Karyn Philippsen says, "I have been fortunate to be in France and Menton during the holidays...and they simply just decorate magnificently! All the little shops have decorations and many have animated window scenes. It is all so lovely."
San Jose del Cabo

Pictured below is the main square, it's officially called Plaza Mijares, but often referred to simply as the Plaza. Here, at the heart of San Jose del Cabo, the town's historic colonial atmosphere, laid-back friendliness, and tranquility are evident, especially during the holidays (Christmas Tree & Nativity). Taken this year, 2020, and the people of the community are displaying resiliency and a positive attitude!  
St. Ives, England

St Ives, a sister city of Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association (LBSCA), is a town in Cornwall, England, known for its surf beaches, like Porthmeor, and its art scene. Although famous for its beautiful town and beaches, and lighthouse, St Ives has also been home to some of the greatest artists and sculptors from all corners of the globe. Like Laguna, it is now world-famous as an art centre
Sister Cities Heisler Park Garden

Even in these COVID times where we are not allowed to gather indoors and 6 ft social distancing is the wisdom of the day, your Sister Cities gardeners are maintaining and tending to our beautiful garden at Jasmine and Cliff Drive.  Please feel free to visit or join us during our scheduled maintenance visits.  10:00 A.M. on the 2nd. 4th and 5th Mondays of each month.  Please contact our Garden Chair, Betsy Jenkins if you need more details.
Member Focus

Our very own Bill Atkins has been producing the wonderful graphics for us since the beginning of Laguna Beach Sister Cities.  He is an award winning graphic artist, living & working in Laguna Beach.  Some of his clients include Laguna Beach Arts Commission & Public Works department, The Festival of Arts, Laguna Art Museum, Orange County Board of Supervisors, California Coastal Commission, and many local clubs, including the very important community organization, Sally's Fund.  Bill is currently the Art Director of Gallery Q, at The Susi Q Center.  Our gratitude for the job Bill does is great!
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