Sunday, September 30, 2007

Only in SCV: Welcoming October the Claritan Way

Fall awakens in us a ravenous hunger for dying foliage. Green leaves are nice, to be sure, but there is a part of the human psyche that demands its leaves crisp, crimson, and dead. This autumnal appetite is easily sated along the Santa Clara River where some of the native cottonwoods are just beginning to yellow. Taking in this appetizer to high fall's visual feast—and crunching some of it underfoot—is the first step to properly doing October in the SCV.

The next step in Clarita's well-delineated October protocol is purchasing pumpkins. You could get your large orange gourd from the cardboard boxes outside of supermarkets. It's not illegal. Of course, you'd better do it at 4 a.m. and be wearing large, dark sunglasses. Otherwise, you're going to lose what little street cred you had with the Claritans who do things the right way and go to Lombardi Ranch[1]. Yes, it's a long way and yes, you're going to have to wash the Acura you bought from the Flemings after driving on that dusty Saugus road, but no, there's no way around it.

Indeed, all decent Claritans descend on the ranch en masse for pumpkins, Indian corn, and other vegetal signifiers of the change in season. If these aren't sufficient impetus for the trip, there are animals at which to marvel and scarecrow contest entries to be beheld. They're actually being judged today.

Inevitably, Moms-with-kids go completely Anne Geddes[2] in the pumpkin patches. Tiny tots must appease their temporarily crazed parents by sitting on the largest pumpkins available until the camera batteries die of exhaustion. If you're one of these photo-happy parents, I hope you know that at least four-thousand other parents are going to put their child on the same pumpkin your child is sitting on and take more or less the same picture. But don't worry—yours really is the most adorable.

Claritans leave Lombardi's assured that rural charm is no more or less than a twenty-minute drive away—just the way we like it.

The next October obligation is a stop for costumes. In this regard, A Chorus Line Dancewear & Costumes[3] is the most authentically Claritan option--it's the only shop owned and opped by the Newhall clan. I've seen people leaving its doors carrying everything from basic face paint to a pirate get-up to a Xena, Warrior Princess, ensemble.

Despite these and a vast array of other offerings, what the store lacks is an appropriate selection of genuinely SCV costumes. People can easily find a George Bush mask, but where are masks depicting Laurene Weste or other local politicians? There is cowboy garb, but how much of it is W.S. Hart inspired? And what does a Claritan have to do for a decent Tataviam Indian costume? As always, it's only hot laydeez who have an easy time getting a costume this time of year--all they have to do is put the adjective "sexy" in front of any occupation and they have their outfit (e.g., the sexy nurse, the sexy French maid, the sexy librarian, and the always popular sexy dental hygienist).

Given "a gang-related stabbing spree in 1985, a riot that spilled from the park to businesses in 1993 and the shooting death of a teen in the parking lot in 1998"[4], you might think Magic Mountain was scary enough. This month, though, they throw in Fright Fest for good measure[5]. Attending F.F. becomes an additional October duty for teenagers, but it's one they're generally pleased to carry out. After all, the emo teen of today loves the morbid, unsettling quality of Halloween almost as much as their goth predecessors.

Having marvelled at leaves, obtained pumpkins, and selected the perfect costume, one's October duties are almost entirely fulfilled. Halloween is always mandatory, whether it involves trick-or-treating or a pray-a-thon sponsored in protest of the evil night by one's congregation. But that's all still 31 days away, and I have some October obligations to fulfill. So, if you'll excuse me...

[1]In case you didn't know, Lombardi Ranch is on Bouquet Canyon Road. Their website is here
[2]She's the woman who takes pictures of babies in pea pod, sunflower, and other produce-related costumes for those best-selling calendars.
[3]Reachable at 661.253.0300. They're on the corner of Cinema Drive and San Fernando/Bouquet Canyon Road.
[4]From a July 2, 2006 LA Times article by Amanda Covarrubias and Lynn Doan: Close Magic Mountain? Residents Aren't Thrilled.
[5]Don't worry, it's safe with all the beefed-up security and what not. Fright Fest takes place on Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout October as well as the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preceding/including Halloween.


Teresa said...

There's more to love in the SCV during the month of October -- the annual Loose Goose Wine Festival returns October 4-7. The weekend festival October 6 and 7 is held in Bridgeport Park in Valencia with up to 100 vineyards, as many as 50 luxury-related vendors, gourmet cuisine and headline entertainment.

True, this is a shamless plug but the festival is far too amazing to miss!

This year's hot ticket concert performance happens on Sunday, October 7 and features the Pete Escovedo Orchestra featuring Sheila E. That's the same Sheila E. who made it to the big time as percussionist for Prince before venturing out on her own. The producers of the "American Idol" spinoff -- "The Next Great American Band" -- recently announced Sheila E. will be one of three judges on the show's panel, which premieres on FOX October 19. Come see her in person, along with the patriarch of the family and siblings Peter Michael and Juan Escovedo at the Loose Goose Wine Festival.

More about the festival –Wednesday, October 3 –Loose Goose Wine Pairing Dinners
Thursday, October 4 – Loose Goose Golf Classic benefiting the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund
Friday, October 5 – Golden Goose Gala
Saturday, October 6 from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 7 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Main Festival event. Tickets on sale now at $40/ advance purchase before midnight Wednesday, October 3; $55 at the gate. Ages 21 and over. More info call (661) 799-9463 or visit

QBEING said...

Santa Clarita also now has a new venue to go to for your annual frights. The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society in a Partnership with AVID, is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Heritage Haunt.

While last years haunt left some people feeling a little cheated, We plan on making it up in spades this year.

This Year the Haunt has a new Haunt Master, Those locals who are familiar with Bedlam Manor in Saugus will be pleased to know that Ed Marg, whose home has been Bedlam Manor for the last 15 years, is now Haunting Heritage Junction and he has brought along a group of home haunter from the area to create what we hope will turn into Santa Clarita and Northern Los Angeles County's place to be at Halloween.

The event will take place over 12 days in October. the 12,13,14 - 18,19,20,21 - 25,26,27,28 - And of Course October 31.

Ticket are currently being sold by students of the Hart Districts AVID group.

And if they are not already they will also be being sold by the
Boy's and girls club of Santa Clarita.

Tickets will be $5.00 in advance an $6.00 at the door.

Anonymous said...

Teresa ~

Tell me more. What else do I get for my $40/$55 entry fee into the Main Festival besides five wine tastes and some tickets to taste food? Yeah, I know there’s a freebie wine glass in there somewhere and a program, but $40/$55???? What is the wine glass made out of? How generous are the pours? What exactly do the four food tickets entitle me to? Meaning, are four tickets enough to make a meal or are they only for tiny tastes? Is the entertainment THAT good? Sheila E doesn’t do it for me. Who else is playing?

Being a wannabe wine snob, I was interested in this Loose Goose shindig the first time I heard about it last year (I’m new to the area), but the Loose Goose website and the price did nothing to convince me to attend. Maybe there’s more to this little festival and I’m just not seeing it on the website.

Teresa said...

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to answer your questions. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, there really is a lot to enjoy while at the festival. In addition to having the opportunity to discover some new wines, there’s lots to peruse from vendors and sponsors, live demonstrations that include cigar rolling, wine barrel making, and a food demonstration by Chef David Lawrence, who will also be signing copies of his newest release “Boy Eats World!: A Private Chef Cooks Simple Gourmet”. The pours are standard two-finger tasting pours and the glass has a generously sized bottom.

What makes this festival so different from many is the fact that you actually get a chance to chat with many of the vintners themselves – ask about their wines and let them tell you their stories. It’s all pretty fascinating to learn and discover.

I should mention that while this is a private event, there is a charitable component. A portion of the festival proceeds benefit the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation, the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund and the Santa Clarita Valley Jaycees.

Entertainment? Saturday features the high energy dance music of the Mark Harrison Band (and, of course, dancing!) Prior to the band’s performance, KLSX 97.1 FREE FM will broadcast the Merrill Schindler show live from the festival, along with special appearances by radio personalities Frosty, Heidi and Frank.

As previously mentioned, Sunday features Latin jazz legend Pete Escovedo as he takes center stage with the Pete Escovedo Orchestra featuring Sheila E. in concert. In a rare family performance, the Escovedo clan (Pete, Sheila E., Peter Michael and Juan) played at the festival last year and graciously agreed to return for this year’s event.

In addition to great entertainment, live demonstrations, exquisite wine tasting and lots of shopping opportunities, there’s gourmet cuisine. While I won’t know who is serving what until the festival begins, last year’s food vendors were quite generous in their portions. Still and all, admission includes five wine tasting tickets, four food tickets, a commemorative wine glass, program and a chance to win a one-week stay at The Sanctuary Resort and Spa in Playa Azul, Costa Rica. How could I forget? There’s also one “golden ticket” included, but you need to attend to find out what that’s all about.

Notalady said...

The Flemings sell Acuras... not Lexi (is that the plural of Lexus?)

A Santa Claritan said...


Thank you for pointing out that grievous mistake (it's since been remedied). Sometimes I get so caught up in their puppies and commercials and visibility that I forget their claim to fame: Valencia Acura (among other things...). Thanks!

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