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Kick it at the Cowboy Festival today and tomorrow

Saddle up, friends, and head to Melody Ranch for fun, food, music and more

Posted: April 23, 2009 3:16 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2009 9:28 a.m.

Morgan Weistling's "The Dance" is the official poster art for the 2009 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival.

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It's here! It's here! Better than Christmas, Mother's Day and my birthday rolled into one, Cowboy Festival time!

Gather the family and enjoy a weekend back in time - a time when cowboys and cowgirls ruled the West.

Enjoy musical entertainment on the Melody Ranch Stage with performances by Baxter Black, Hot Club of Cowtown, Don Edwards, Sons of the San Joaquin, R.W. Hampton, Joni Harms, Syd Masters and the Swing Riders, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Randy Pieman, Gary Robertson, The Booher Brothers and Joe Herrington.

The weather looks to be pleasant and perfect for strolling down the historic main street of Melody Ranch, the main street where HBO's "Deadwood" filmed, as well as a host of famous movies and television programs including "The Virginian," "The Lone Ranger," "Wyatt Earp," "Gunsmoke," "Hopalong Cassidy," "Annie Oakly," "Rin Tin Tin" and "The Cisco Kid."

Melody Ranch first opened in 1915 and Monogram Studios made 750 "B" westerns before selling the ranch to singing cowboy Gene Autry in 1952. Legendary cowboy actors, including William S. Hart, Gary Cooper, Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Bill Boyd, and John Wayne filmed their westerns at the location until 1962 when a fire swept through Placerita Canyon destroying the main western street. The Veluzat brothers purchased Melody Ranch in 1990 and restored the famous western street.

Once a year the Veluzats open up the ranch to the Cowboy Festival and we can wander the same streets and sets as so many famous western actors.

The Cowboy Festival features five stages of entertainment, the California Music Stage, Heritage Stage, Melody Ranch Stage, Cowboy Corner and the Medicine Show Stage.

If you're feeling like you need some grub head over to the Gold Rush Food Court where the Cowboy Cultural Committee will be serving up the finest cowboy grub you've seen in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Also available will be Louisiana Gumbo, Dickey's BBQ, Sausage King, Siam Bar-B-Que, Maria's Catering, Bristol Farms and more.

On main street the saloon will be open again, after being closed for several years, and guests can imbibe a cold one, or two.

Watch the blacksmiths craft a horseshoe with your initials from their foundry on main street then catch Benny Martinez and his trick roping.

Mosey on over to the Buckaroo Book Shop and visit with John Boston, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You might even want to buy one of his pretty picturebooks on the history of the SCV and have him autograph it.

After Saturday's festivities at the ranch head over to Hart Hall at William S. Hart Park for "Art at Hart Quick Draw." Admission is $25 and guests will be able to tour the William S. Mansion and museum and see the priceless art and artifacts collected by Hart.

Return to Hart Hall and watch artists create works of art in under an hour that will be auctioned at evening's end. Tickets are $25.

Shuttle parking at Railroad Avenue and 13th Street in Newhall. Festival tickets are $20 each.

For more information about the Cowboy Festival and a schedule of events visit www.cowboyfestival.org.

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