Laguna Beach's annual Kelpfest was born out of frustration.
Every time Nancy Caruso heard people grouse about kelp washing up on local beaches, she'd want to "bang her head against a wall." To her, that was akin to planting trees only to gripe when they shed leaves.
The Garden Grove resident — who founded Get Inspired Inc., a nonprofit specializing in environmental education and conservation programs — was discussing what she deemed an absurd situation with her friend when inspiration struck.
They decided to create a festival whose sole purpose would be to generate awareness about kelp, a type of seaweed that grows in underwater forests and plays a critical role in overall marine health.
"It's ridiculous," said Caruso, who has spent a decade working to restore kelp to the ocean waters off Laguna and Newport Beach. "I realized that I'd missed some people in the education process. If they knew how important kelp was, they wouldn't complain about its presence."