For eight years, Karen Smitt has traveled thousands of miles from Saint Louis to go to the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival with her dad. She decks out in true period piece clothing with a red umbrella and takes on the cowboy persona for a day.
And this story is not unique to Smitt.
Ten-thousand people are expected to come out to William S. Hart Regional Park in Old Town Newhall for the festival to harken back to a time long since past. Plus, The Santa Clarita Valley is a perfect fit for an old-fashioned cowboy festival, as David Knutson, the director of the festival pointed out.
“It really shows our rich, western heritage,” he said. “It really brings out that western culture that we pride ourselves in.”
Knutson had a hard time picking his favorite activity at the festival with there being so much to do. There were vendors, live music, gold-panning, a Civil War reenactment and much more than can be listed in one sentence.
The festival has changed a lot since the city of Santa Clarita started hosting it 24 years ago.
“It started as the Cowboy Poetry Festival,” said Carrie Lujan, the communications manager for Santa Clarita. “It’s grown in popularity every year.”
That popularity was evident with tons of people walking around Hart Park donning cowboy hats and umbrellas. Bandits with their raccoon eyes could also be spotted walking around the park.
Two such people who dressed up were Paula and Bryan Rohrenbacher who drove over an hour from Ontario to check out the festival. This was their first year there and they were enthusiastic to have found such a place.
“We’ve been looking for a place that’s like the Cowboy Festival,” said Paula.
They say they have hints of the cowboy persona in their everyday fashion but are happy to get the opportunity to go all out cowboy for a day.
The festival will continue on Sunday as well in case you missed it on Saturday.