Leon Worden

Lots on tap for kids this weekend

Leon Worden · October 22, 1997

Fall is in the air, and what better way to celebrate it than with an old-fashioned harvest festival?

Pico Canyon is the place to be this Saturday from 10 to 4 when the Friends of Mentryville and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy turn back the clock with their second annual Fall Harvest Festival in the SCV's one and only ghost town.

At the western edge of our valley, rustic Mentryville will host a fun-filled day of games, arts and craft booths and storytime activities for kids. Mom and Dad will enjoy the antique automobiles that will be on display while a down-home American jug band and barbershop quartet fill the air with the strains of yesteryear.

Last year's festival was a smashing success that drew over 4,000 visitors. Many said the food was the best they had ever tasted at a public event, and this year's menu promises to be just as good, if not better.

The Friends of Mentryville have been working hard the past year to preserve the history of the area where the first commercially successful oil well west of Pennsylvania erupted one autumn day in 1876. The Friends have furnished the town's little one-room Felton School and have trained docents to lead visitors on educational tours of the historic buildings. The friendly docents, under the direction of coordinator Sandy Ramirez, will lead tours all day Saturday. (Mentryville's normal operating hours are 12 to 4 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month.)

Rounding out Saturday's activities are a "Name the Chicken" contest for kids and a pumpkin patch where you can select your favorite jack-o'-lantern-to-be. Proceeds go toward restoring the town.

Find Mentryville at the end of Pico Canyon Road, approximately three miles west of the Lyons Avenue exit off of Interstate 5. Veer to the left when you come to the "Y" in the road and follow the signs to the designated parking area. Admission is a buck.

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Another buck gets you and the kids into the SCV's "other" unique event of the season: the Haunted Jailhouse at the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station.

For nine years now, the men and women of the SCV Station have cleared the inmates out of the cells on Halloween so that the kids from the local Boys and Girls Club can transform the lockup into the spookiest dungeon around. The fun begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 26 and continues until 4 p.m. (Remember to set your clocks back one hour on Saturday night!)

As usual, there will be a special fun house for kids under 6 who might be too frightened by the main attraction. In addition to the popular game booths, food, clowns and moonbounce, they're throwing a costume judging contest into the lineup this year. Judging times are as follows: Children ages 2-4, 1 p.m.; Ages 5-7, 1:30 p.m.; Ages 8-10, 2 p.m.; Ages 11-12, 2:30 p.m.

The SCV Station is located at the intersection of Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway. Check out the various Sheriff's Department displays while you're there, and be sure to introduce your kids to a deputy. Their little eyes will light up -- and the kids will feel pretty special, too!

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Not to be outdone this weekend are the Friends of Wm. S. Hart Park, who dare you to hike the "Haunted Trail" through the dark woods of the silent film star's creepy estate in Newhall.

Fair warning: You're almost certain to encounter the spirits of pioneers, outlaws, Indians and wild animals on your sojourn, so anyone under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Also, you'll need to wear solid-toed shoes -- all the better for kicking those nasty goblins in the shins.

The Haunted Trail is open from 7 to 9 p.m. this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $4. Hart Park is located on San Fernando Road at Newhall Avenue.

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This doesn't have anything to do with Halloween, but the SCV Artists' Association has just released its 1998 wall calendar. I saw the prototype at the Business Expo, and let me tell you, it's beautiful.

The full-color calendar features the work of winning artists at last year's SCV Art Classic. It's a low-low $12 and could easily go for much more. Bulk orders are discounted, so merchants, stock up now for the holidays! Place phone orders by calling 296-2ART.

This year's SCV Art Classic opens Saturday, Nov. 8 in the gallery at BMW of Valencia. Drop by the showroom between the 8th and 15th to view -- and purchase -- some truly outstanding pieces.

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

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