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City unveils '09 Cowboy Festival lineup

Posted: January 5, 2009 4:13 p.m.
Updated: January 5, 2009 4:13 p.m.

Playing originals and cowboy classics, the Sons of the San Joachin carry on a cowboy music tradition dating back to Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers, and even Jimmie Rodgers. The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival favorites and Walk of Western Stars honorees return to headline this year.

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The city of Santa Clarita will host the 2009 Cowboy Festival from April 22 to 26 at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio and other local venues, city officials said today.

Beginning April 22, Grammy Award-winning Western group Riders in the Sky, whose music is featured in the Disney movie "Toy Story," will perform at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.

A variety of attractions are scheduled for April 23 and 24, including an evening of music by Don Edwards at the William S. Hart mansion, an authentic lunch served at the Rancho Camulos Museum and a chuckwagon dinner show at Heritage Junction, adjacent to Hart Park.

The Cowboy Festival rides through the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio on April 25 and April 26.

A lineup of Western stars is slated for the Melody Ranch Stage, starting with noted cowboy poet/storyteller/humorist/former large-animal veterinarian Baxter Black.

Cowboy singer/songwriter Don Edwards and the three-member Sons of the San Joachin, both festival favorites, encore this year, playing both days. Also returning after scorching festival stages last year is the swing band Hot Club of Cowtown, set for April 26.

The festival will also feature world-famous Santa Clarita-based artist Morgan Weistling, showcasing "The Dance," which serves as the 2009 Cowboy Festival's poster and icon.

R.W. Hampton returns to Melody Ranch, as well as singing cowgirl Joni Harms, Dave Stamey, the Booher Brothers, Sourdough Slim, and Syd Masters and the Swing Riders. Cowboy poets Randy Rieman, Gary Robertson, Joe Herrington and cowgirl Diane Tribbitt are also part of the festival.

Main Street shows slated for April 25 and 26 include saloon pianist Dave Bourne, banjoist Gordy Oligher and magician Whit Haydn.

The California Cowboys, Messick Family, Horse Crazy and Adrian Brannon will perform and master horseman Benny Martinez will showcase his cowboy skills.

Tickets for the 2009 Cowboy Festival are now on sale at www.cowboyfestival.org or by phone at (661) 284-1410. Patrons can purchase admission suited to their festival needs.

The current packages include a daily admission ticket to Melody Ranch costing $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 3-11. Kids younger than 3 can visit the festival for a day for free.

The two-day weekend pass is available at $30 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and younger, and the Friends of the Festival Package is available for $150 to a limited number of guests who would like to be more closely involved in the festival this year.

A shuttle will be provided from the parking lot at 13th Street and Arch Street in Newhall to Melody Ranch.

The phone number for the Cowboy Festival is (661) 286-4021 and the Web site is www.cowboyfestival.org.

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