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The Sea Glass of Carpinteria

Beautiful, shiny, smooth: Celebrate the fantastic found treasures.

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    Carpinteria Sea Glass Festival
    Beautiful, shiny, smooth: Celebrate the fantastic found treasures over the last weekend in August.

    HUMANKIND AND THE BIG WATER: Much has been said and written about how people interact with the ocean. We swim, we surf, we dip our toes into the foam, we paint it, we make movies about it, we build houses close to its edge, we venture onto it, and across it, by boat. But there's another meeting of humankind and the Big Water, and it is one that relies on a substance that originates on land, plus time, plus the forces of the ocean to come to its final, prized state. It is sea glass, the frost-fantastic result of shards of people-made glass meeting the sand and H20 of an ocean over years and years, sometimes decades, even. The result is the shard that was once pointy or jagged looses its rough edges and tumbles, tumbles, tumbles into a palmable, smooth-to-the-stroke "rock" of sorts. A beach-found prize like a shell, sea glass is collected and sought after, and a few places up and down the Golden State's lengthy coast pay homage to it via festivals and specialty shops. One such spot in Carpinteria, which loves upon the heavily tumbled, often colorful substance each year, and will again at the end of August 2015. The dates are Saturday, Aug. 29 and Sunday, Aug. 30, and the spot is old Austin's Hardware Store.

    "SEA GLASS, MUSIC, FOOD, FUN"... are part of the party, so if you've never found others who share this particular passion, you're in luck. If, after the gathering, you're game to go out looking for a piece or two of the unusual substance for yourself, there are a number of fan sites online that direct interested parties to possible coves and sandy stretches. But one that stands tall among sea glass beaches is the one actually called Glass Beach in Mendocino County. There are some sections where you should admire the glass but not take -- make sure you know where -- but the Mendocino visitors people say taking "a few pieces" from another area is a-ok. Get up-to-speed on this smoothed-by-sand-and-time-and-water wonder, and find your ocean-close area to grow your love of one of the few holdable products created by both humans and the ocean, in concert.