By Councilmember Cameron Smyth
It was a simpler time. A time when the cowboy hats were big and the belt buckles were even bigger. A time when you could ride into town, tie your horse to the hitching post and order a drink from a man named something like California Slim. And while we are a few years removed from our Wild West days, we still gather to celebrate those simpler times every year at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival. This year, all of the action gets going on Thursday, April 19, and continues through the weekend when the main festival, presented by Heritage Sierra Medical Group, sets up camp at William S. Hart Park in Old Town Newhall.
The celebration kicks off on Main Street in Newhall next Thursday night. Be sure to wear your favorite jeans, cowboy hat and boots because you’ll be in for a wild west kind of night! The annual Cowboy Kickoff SENSES Block Party is our official opening event for the Cowboy Festival once again this year. Enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of an authentic cowboy and western party, complete with hot-off-the-grill tasty and tantalizing barbecue, music from The Mary White Band, line dancing and much more. The Cowboy Kickoff also gives you a sneak peek at what you can look forward to for the rest of the weekend, including the opportunity to buy some new western digs from one of our featured Cowboy Festival vendors.
While the bulk of the action will take place in Hart Park over the weekend, there are going to be incredible concerts and special performances taking place throughout Newhall as well. There’s really nothing quite like taking in a live performance featuring legendary musicians and up-and-coming acts in intimate venues like the Canyon Theatre Guild, The MAIN and even the living room of Hart Mansion. Where else will you be able to see the likes of Jon Chandler and Ernie Martinez, Cowboy Festival icon Waddie Mitchell and female country trio Honey County, who performed at Stagecoach in 2017, all over the course of three days?
The list of performers is too stacked to be able to detail each act in this article, and I know it is a shame that you can’t see them all. Trust me when I say though that you will not be disappointed by all of the musical options you have to add onto your Cowboy Festival itinerary this year. See for yourself by visiting CowboyFestival.org and checking out the weekend schedule, as well as the list of performers and their bios.
In addition to these great concerts, we also have opportunities for you to experience the history of the Wild West, both in Santa Clarita and throughout the surrounding area. On Thursday, April 19, before the Cowboy Kickoff SENSES Block Party I want to invite you to check out the SCV Film Tour. This tour explores various filming locations in the Santa Clarita Valley, including Mystery Mesa, Box Canyon and Vasquez Rocks. A Hollywood Western Film Tour on Friday, April 20, heads to Tinseltown to show you where some of the most famous westerns of all time were filmed as well. You can learn more about these and other Cowboy Festival events and purchase tickets by visiting CowboyFestival.org.
Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]