Leon Worden

Olde Towne Days are here again

Leon Worden · April 23, 1997

The warm winds of spring have begun to blow through the Santa Clarita, and that can mean only one thing: Olde Towne Days are here again!

"Olde Towne Days is a great event and something I really look forward to every year," says Tom Frew, president of the SCV Historical Society, sponsor of the annual activity. "It's a wonderful way for children to learn how people used to live in the pioneer days."

If you're a parent of a third and fourth grader, your little sprout should be bringing home a flyer this week (printing courtesy of Triple M Graphics in Canyon Country, call 251-1909 today) telling all about the event. This year the Historical Society is rolling all its Olde Towne Days into one day, starting at 10 a.m. this Saturday, April 26 at Heritage Junction in Newhall.

Children will learn to pan for gold and drill for oil by hand, the way our town settlers did it. Cynthia Neal-Harris and her volunteer crew will demonstrate how the ladies of the 19th Century churned butter and washed clothes. And just to keep it gender-neutral, both boys and girls will be able to make dolls and throw tomahawks. At an old tree. Not at each other.

There'll be plenty on tap for parents, too. Docents will give tours of the old Saugus Train Station, where docent leader Pat Saletore has assembled many local history books for sale in the gift shop. Visitors will be able to walk through the Kingsburry home (recently refurbished by the Questers group) and other structures that once dotted downtown Newhall and were transplanted to the historic village to save them from demolition.

Keeping the pace lively will be a number of entertainers performing non-stop olde tyme music. The Canyon Theatre Guild will be on stage, Paul Higgins will tell Santa Clarita lore, professional prestidigitator Lincoln Bond will demonstrate the "Magic of the Old West," and several more acts will round out the day.

Admission to Olde Towne Days is a low-low $1.99 for adults, and kids under 12 are free. At least for Olde Towne Days. At Heritage Junction. This Saturday. 10 to 4. Be there.

* * *

The Fourth of July is sneaking up fast, and plans are already afoot to line the streets of Newhall with another 25,000 parade spectators. Parade entry forms went out late last week (courtesy of Signal columnist Pauline Harte and husband Duane's mailing house), and if you haven't gotten yours by the end of this week, call 297-5261. Be sure to spell your name and leave your group's mailing address on the machine.

This year's theme is "Songs of the Old West," another idea concocted by Tom Frew. Tom doesn't know it yet, but he'll be belting out his own unique rendition of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" from aboard the historical society's float. Rumor has it, Tom's building an exact replica of the Frew family blacksmith shop that stood on San Fernando Road during the first three-quarters of this century.

One change this year will be the absence of Silly String and other contraband items along the parade route. The City Council stepped up to the plate after the 1996 parade and, to the delight of participants who got pelted with the sticky stuff last year, passed an ordinance that outlaws the propelling of any "gaseous, liquid, semi-solid substance or object" at any person, vehicle or animal in the parade. That means no Silly String, Super Soakers and so forth, and our local gendarmes are prepared to enforce the new law. Also new this year is a $10 per-entry application fee to cover the cost of trophies, rental equipment and the like.

Other than that, things will remain essentially the same as in years past. Newhall Rotary will kick off the day's activities with a pancake breakfast, the Santa Clarita Runners will cruise down the parade route, and the main event will start at 9:45 on Walnut St. near Hart Park, then travel down Lyons to Orchard Village and wind up on Dalbey Drive near Newhall Park.

Afterward, the City will offer music, food and children's games in Newhall Park, and then it's off to Saugus Speedway for fireworks in a nighttime-only event sponsored by the SCV Chamber of Commerce.

Leon Worden is a Santa Clarita resident. His commentary appears on Wednesdays.

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