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Annual Cowboy Festival rides into Santa Clarita Valley

'LIVE' from City Hall

Posted: April 20, 2008 1:36 a.m.
Updated: June 21, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Since 1994, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival has been recognized as one of the best in the West, taking visitors back in time and bringing to life the music, magic, and spirit of the Old West. The city of Santa Clarita encourages folks of all ages to come and enjoy the sights, sounds, and original cuisine of the 2008 Cowboy Festival.

The main festival is set to run Saturday, April 26, through Sunday, April 27, at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio, a working movie ranch formerly owned by Gene Autry. Melody Ranch has been the location of many famous Western films since its beginnings and was home to the highly acclaimed HBO series "Deadwood."

At Melody Ranch the lines blur between modern day and a bygone era, as patrons walk through the authentic Western movie set, enjoy Western music and cowboy poetry which is provided on five different stages throughout the ranch, and savor chuck wagon cooking in the Gold Rush Food Court. Those attending the Cowboy Festival can also stroll down Melody Ranch Main Street, where there are vendors who specialize in cowboy gear, clothing and Western art.

The featured musical performers and crowd favorites to appear at the Cowboy Festival include: Hot Club of Cowtown, The Sons of the San Joaquin, Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, The Quebe Sisters Band, Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave, Cowbop, Gary McMahan, John Moore Band, Eli Barsi, Pat Richardson, Larry Maurice and the Sons and Brothers Band.

Those who have attended the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival in the past are no stranger to the mouth-watering varieties of cowboy and western cuisine offered. Even the heartiest Western appetite is satisfied when indulging in the traditional flavors available. This year's Gold Rush Food Court features fine cowboy cuisine and includes fare such as barbecued beef, tri-tip, chili, corn on the cob and "cowboy coffee."

Partner events

One of the most coveted food items offered at the Festival is the famous peach cobbler. The cobbler is made in Dutch ovens that have been set over coals that have been burning all day. The Cowboy Cultural Committee is responsible for producing the cooked-to-perfection cobbler, served with fresh whipped cream.

A special two-day weekend pass is available for those who want to experience two days of cowboy fun. The city also offers a limited number of "Friends of the Festival" packages, which include admission to Melody Ranch for both Saturday and Sunday, preferred seating at all Melody Ranch Stage shows and all-weekend access to the Melody Ranch VIP Bunkhouse with catered food and beverages, and much more.

There are several partner events throughout the Santa Clarita Valley that are held in conjunction with the main festival, including the unveiling of a few new stars on the Walk of Western Stars, a swing dance with the festival's featured performers Hot Club of Cowtown, and a Chuck Wagon Dinner Show.

The city of Santa Clarita's 2008 Walk of Western Stars will be honoring three legends of the Silver Screen at the unveiling of the new stars. This event will be held on Friday, April 25, beginning at 3 p.m. on the sidewalks of Old Town Newhall and will culminate with a western gala dinner at the Hyatt Valencia at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the Walk of Western Stars Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony are $100 per person and can be purchased at www.walkofwesternstars.com.

Hosting this year's gala is longtime master of ceremonies Larry Maurice, with entertainment provided by another of the Festival's featured performers Cowbop. This year's Walk of Western Stars nominees include actors David Carradine and John Saxon, as well as local animal manager Jack Lilley.

The Swing Dance will be held at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center. Those attending should bring a dancing partner to two-step the night away to the sounds of Hot Club of Cowtown on one of the best dance floors in the Santa Clarita Valley. Adult beverages will be served at the dance. Proceeds will benefit the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, and the event will be broadcast live by KCSN Radio 88.5 FM. The dance begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at $15 per person online.

Chuckwagon dinner

The Chuckwagon Dinner Show is a feast for the Western senses, featuring chuck wagon cooking demonstrations and dinner, with entertaining prairie lore and music benefiting the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. The dinner show is set to begin at 6 p.m. at the Heritage Junction, adjacent to William S. Hart Park. Tickets can be purchased for $40 per person online.

For more information on the 2008 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, including tickets, event times, prices, venues and more, visit www.cowboyfestival.org or call the Cowboy Festival Ticket hotline at (661) 286-4021.

Mayor Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita resident. His column represents his own opinion, and not necessarily that of The Signal.

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