Castaic hosts first-ever Gnome Festival and Dam Run

Jim D'Addario, right, raises the flag to start the Gnome Parade during the Castaic Lake Dam Run & Gnome Festival held at Castaic Lake in Castaic on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

In a day filled with runs, parades and food, the inaugural Gnome Festival and Dam Run saw hundreds of Santa Clarita residents and visitors in attendance.

The day kicked off with a half-marathon and 5K run set against the scenery surrounding Castaic Lake, according to event organizers.

The first-place runner of this year’s race, Joel Limo, flew in from Kenya to participate in the event, and was able to complete the half marathon in 1 hour, 10 minutes.

“It was a 21-hour flight, but I had a very good time,” said Limo.

Kenyan runner Joel Limo, right, who took first place for the men in the Castaic Lake Dam Run & Gnome Festival 5K, congratulates women runners Jenny Martinez, left, (second-place) and Master Cruz, (first-place) holding Ella Baubach, 3, at the Castaic Lake Dam Run & Gnome Festival held at Castaic Lake in Castaic on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“A lot of what we see out here is kids just being able to let go and parents having a space where they can let go,” said Jeremiah Dockray, a Castaic Town Council member and owner of Santa Clarita Valley Adventure Play. “We always try at all sorts of events to provide kids with a space like this.”

After the race, families and runners attended the Gnome Festival set beside the lake. In addition to a number of local vendors, live music and a beer garden, there were also a number of booths both parents and kids could visit for family fun.

Also there for the family to enjoy together were a variety of games, such as corn hole, that families could enjoy for free.

Koen and Jace Osbog were playing corn hole with their dad and although they said their favorite games were either “Minecraft,” a video game, or basketball, they were enjoying their time in the sun with the beanbags.

“We just wanted to come out and support the community,” said Amy Osbog, Koen and Jace’s mother. “Plus, anything with gnomes.”

The event was named after Castaic’s love for gnomes, which became a tradition after gnomes began to frequently appear in and around the Castaic roundabout, which was then dubbed “Gnome Island,” according to event organizers.

The event was designed to benefit a number of local nonprofits, as well as the schools located in the Castaic community, said Jessica Chambers, president of the Castaic Town Council.

“The run helps benefit the local schools, and the money raised from the festival goes back to the local nonprofits,” said Chambers.

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Caleb Lunetta

Caleb Lunetta