Snow on the beach: Friends of Castaic Lake holds 26th annual Winter Magic Festival

Attendees on the shoreline look on as the winning entry from the Kocik family of Simi Valley and five other boats, decorated for the holidays, file past as they compete in the "boat parade" event during the 26th annual Winter Magic Festival held at Castaic Lake on Saturday, December 14, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
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In a sight only possible for one day a year, local families and Castaic community members enjoyed playing in the snow on the beaches of Castaic Lake during the 26th annual Winter Magic Festival.

The festival, which was open to the public, has been held in December for more than two decades, and brings in Santa Claus, food, bounce houses and sleds for people to use in order to slide down the pumped-in, artificial snow placed on the beach.

“We bring in 20 tons of snow and the kids jump on a toboggan and head on down,” said Clay Friedman, president of the Friends of Castaic Lake.

Jannette Rodriguez, 6, Molly George, 6, and Lizzette Rodriguez, 10, slide down a hill of snow on a sled during the 26th annual Winter Magic Festival held at Castaic Lake on Saturday, December 14, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

In addition to the free hot dogs being handed out, free coffee and cookies were available for those in attendance.

Friedman said the event was an example of what the Friends of Castaic Lake are on a mission to do: serve the community through fun events.

“This is not a money-raising event,” said Friedman. “This is more for the community … and to introduce the kids to the lake.

Simon Baruzzini, and his mom Jeri, had been invited down from Palmdale by their Santa Clarita friends to come and enjoy the event. Baruzzini said his favorite part of the day was the beachside snow.

The crew of Team Dragon Eyes sing Christmas carols as they paddle their entry past the shoreline in the “boat parade” event during the 26th annual Winter Magic Festival held at Castaic Lake on Saturday, December 14, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

Cub Scout Pack No. 580, a local pack for the Castaic area, was volunteering at the event, while also having some fun of their own.

Logan Matthews, 6, Carson Balchen, 6, and Josh Joseph, 7, were all in their Cub Scout uniforms making sure fellow kids on the inflatable slide were being safe. They said they’ve come to the beach before, but playing in the bounce house and in the snow was their favorite day at the beach for the year.

Once the sun went down, there was a lighted boat parade for this in attendance to view. Volunteers had decorated their boats in holiday lights and slowly dove them past the beach for spectators and judges to view.

The first-place prize was $300, the second-place prize was $200 and third place went home with $100.

Attendees on the shoreline look on as the winning entry from the Kocik family of Simi Valley and five other boats, decorated for the holidays, file past as they compete in the “boat parade” event during the 26th annual Winter Magic Festival held at Castaic Lake on Saturday, December 14, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

Friedman said the events such as the Winter Magic Festival are only possible through the work of volunteers, and Friends of Castaic Lake are always looking for new people to join.

For more information on the organization, visit their website at http://www.castaiclake.com/focl.html.

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