2019 Cowboy Festival kicks off with thousands of attendees

Caleb Smith, 6, takes a turn at the axe throw at The 2019 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival held at William S. Hart Park in Nehwall on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

On Saturday, the Santa Clarita community gathered once more to celebrate the Cowboy Festival, with plans to continue the festivities well into Sunday.

This year’s event was once again being held at William S. Hart Park and Heritage Junction and featured five stages of cowboy, folk and bluegrass music, barbeque, western gear, cowboy poetry, roping, panning for gold, archery and hatchet throwing.

“We come here every year,” said visitor Charles Smith.

The Messick Family entertains on the Heritage Junction Stage at The 2019 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival held at William S. Hart Park in Nehwall on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

He and his son, Caleb, were both dressed in matching outfits while they attended the festival  alongside Smith’s wife Ashley, daughter and mother-in-law. “

We love Cowboys and everything about Cowboys,” Smith said. “We just love to watch westerns, and learn about westerns.”

“(Charles) likes watching John Wayne movies, and (Caleb) is more into watching the Westerns then even watching cartoons,” Ashley said. “So to my son, this is like it’s being brought to life, and it’s real for him.”

Saturday’s nighttime event featured a $15 show from “A Night with National Cash: A Tribute to Johnny Cash” concert at 8 p.m. on the festival grounds. Beer and wine were available for purchase.

Historical reenactors from left, Ralph Castor, Joe Riddle, Dave Kanawah and Dan Cervantes dressed in Texas style Cowboy regalia sit around a period correct camp site at The 2019 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival held at William S. Hart Park in Nehwall on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

In addition to all the things that have to be expected of the Cowboy Festival, such as the costumes, living history and family-friendly fun, there is always one major tentpole for the festival – Dutch Oven peach cobbler.

Now taken on by the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club, the peach cobbler craftsman said they will make thousands of cobblers over the course of the two day weekend, cooking them at a temperature of 325 degrees, with each individual cobbler made through the traditional method of cast iron pots and coals.

“Once the first pot has been cooked, it never loses its heat, and the next batch takes only about 17 to 19 minutes, and you turn the pot a quarter-turn one way and the lid the other way,” said Dave Reeves, a volunteer with the Rotary Club. “It’s the traditional way, and the way it’s always been made….and we’ll do 2,000 pots, and six servings come out of each pot.”

For those not looking for food or live music, there is other activities that draw people to the festival year after year, including a chance to meet with their favorite cowboy and western-themed authors, and chances to peruse and purchase the wares made available at the 2019 Cowboy Festival general store.

Shannon Rae and 100 Proof entertain on the “Mane Stage” at The 2019 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival held at William S. Hart Park in Nehwall on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Those who missed Saturday’s event, but still wish to attend, can do so on Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The free general admission includes free parking and round trip shuttle service to and from William S. Hart Park, according to event organizers.

Sunday’s event, in addition to all the free activities, is set to feature the festival’s first ever Chili Cook-off from 1-4 p.m., and tasting tickets are $10 for five 2 ounce samples. All proceeds are set to benefit Bridge to Home’s mission of providing support services – including an emergency shelter, case management, housing navigation, and referrals for health, mental health, and substance use treatment – to help individuals and families in the Santa Clarita Valley transition out of homelessness, according to event officials.


For more information about the Cowboy Festival ongoing festivities tomorrow, visit the Cowboy Festival website at http://cowboyfestival.org.

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