CRAFTY: Ruby Resenbiz creates a tote bag at the Santa Monica Festival in 2010. (File photo)

City officials expect thousands to show up to this year’s Santa Monica Festival, which turns 24 on Saturday.

The annual festival, which is free to the public but costs Santa Monica taxpayers $100,000, draws an average of 10,000 visitors to Clover Park at 2600 Ocean Park Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It started in 1991 on the Santa Monica Pier and moved to Clover Park in 1994.

New this year, attendees can learn how to sew with Sew Cranky or how to make Japanese quick pickles with City Hall’s arts and crafts workshop 1450 Ocean.

Also new is P.O.P. Powerhouse, a roaming quintet of drummers. Wise Guy Events and Play Folks will lead interactive twists on traditional games. The Annenberg Community Beach House, famous for their cardboard boat regatta, will lead host a boat-building station.

Most attendees are from Santa Monica or the Westside, according to data from City Hall. A majority of the audience is families with young children or young adults under the age of 35.

The event is produced again this year by Community Arts Resources, which also produce Chinatown Summer Nights and the Getty Museum Family Festival. They produced the festival last year and are poised to receive $100,000 over each of the next three years to produce the festival, for a potential total of half a million dollars.

This year’s Family Bike Hub, which, as usual, features bike skills courses and instructional clinic, has a new addition: Breeze, the city’s incoming bike share system. Attendees can try out the bikes that will be a part of the Breeze, which is expected to open before the Expo Light Rail does.

Back this year is the reDiscover Center’s Cardboard Playground.

“This area is stocked with a mindboggling assortment of everyday ‘loose parts’ like cardboard boxes, fabric, and other open-ended materials to allow limitless play where the only boundary are those of the imagination,” event organizers said of the playground.

The Treeman, an eco advocate super hero, dressed to look like a tree, will be riding the Big Blue Bus’ Route 8 (which is free with an online coupon during the festival) at 11:30 a.m.

Also free is the bike valet and area parking.

A whole slew of vendors will be serving food from trucks, carts, and stands while the Santa Monica Farmers Market hosts its Culinary Stage, featuring local chefs and culinary experts with tips on easy, healthy, and affordable cooking.

And then there’s the music. The Ocean Stage has a brand new lineup this year, including the two-time Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas, an all-female band from Los Angeles.

After the divas is Angelou, which, according to event organizers, combines “the Zulu harmonies of Paul Simon’s Graceland and gritty delta blues.”

Quitapenas blends Afro-Latin music with California sounds. And closers, Halau Keali’i O Nalani will bring songs and dances from the Polynesian Isles.

dave@www.smdp.com

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