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Good ol’ family fun

Community: Lower-than-usual turnout doesn’t discourage vendors at Castaic Days

Posted: September 26, 2010 10:23 p.m.
Updated: September 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Chuck Dixon, of Valencia, peeks under the hood of a vintage Corvette while browsing the street rod display at the Castaic Days event held at Castaic Lake on Saturday.

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Castaic Days turned out to be great days this year, even though they weren’t wild and wet days splashing around in Castaic Lake.

The ‘No Swimming” signs posted on the way into Castaic Lake did not deter many of the people who came to enjoy fun in the sun, music and food.

“Business is slow but I have wonderful customers,” said Marshall “Sausage King” Jennings. “I’ve got the best customers in the world.”

Despite the triple-digit heat Saturday and Sunday and no chance of cooling off in the lake, Jennings added: “I sold enough that I’ll be back next year.”

One of the most popular attractions at the annual Castaic Days event, was the remote-control plane booth manned by the Canyon Crosswinds radio-controlled airplane club, which leases land from the lake on a mesa overlooking it on the east side.

“We had a lot of kids come by and ask about us,” said John Snider, behind the booth.

Among those expressing a keen interest in learning about flying remote model planes the size of car doors were at least 25 Boy Scouts with Troop 580 in Castaic.

“We’re not here to sell anything,” said his fellow club member Jeremy Howard. “We’re here to introduce people to a healthy, fun family activity.”

Howard found a way into the lake, he said, having to retrieve a couple of his water-landing aircraft sent out over the lake to demonstrate water landings.

Amid the live music of a blues band playing to empty seats Sunday morning and the rhythmic sound of native drumming from the booth manned by the Pacific Island Dance Company, the mood at Castaic Days was festive.

For children, there were inflatable bounce houses and a shaded petting zoo of ducks, geese, chickens and at least one pot-bellied pig.

Also popular, as temperatures sent many to the shade of several spreading oak trees, was the Hawaiian Shaved Ice booth run by Alfredo Armento.

“This weather is OK for us,” he said. “Last year, it was 70 degrees and we sold less. This year, we sold more.”

Even though he lamented over a business less than brisk for his neighboring vendors, he said it all balances out year to year.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency also found a niche in the cold beverage department, offering people free samples of bottled water in a tub of ice.

“We’re popular today with our water,” said agency event coordinator Karen Denkinger.

After visitors have pulled their water from the icy tub, they twist off the cap and ask about conservation.

“A lot of people sincerely ask ‘How can we conserve water?’” Denkinger said. “They realize just how important it is.”

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