It is truly heartwarming to see children get excited about the history and stories the city of Santa Clarita has to offer. Never is that more evident than when they interact with or read about our city’s unofficial mascot – Sammy Clarita. The “I Found Sammy Clarita” scavenger hunt was launched during the city’s 30th anniversary back in 2017.
The stuffed Sammy’s and more were hidden around the city at different parks, community centers, libraries and more. The excitement of the scavenger hunt got families out and about, appreciating all the benefits of living here in Santa Clarita, and the children loved finding the prizes.
Since then, Sammy has been a regular fixture in the hometown favorite Fourth of July Parade, much to the joy of the children lining the parade route. He also has written three books as part of his Sammy Stories series and has dressed up as a librarian, a hockey player from The Cube, a recycle hero and a cowboy.
Get excited because our Sammy Clarita is back! He’s got a new look and a new book that will take you and your children on a fantastic western coloring adventure. “Sammy Stories – Santa Clarita’s Wonder Wheels” is a coloring book that tells the story of Sammy as he checks out all the cool vehicles in our city. Sammy learns about trail dozers, Zambonis, fire trucks and even a vacuum truck. After exploring the Wonder Wheels, Sammy makes his way to William S. Hart Park, where he makes animal friends and even becomes the conductor of a steam locomotive! The old-time conductor outfit is what the Sammy Clarita plush will be wearing this go-around – so make sure to keep an eye out for his blue and white striped overalls and hat.
What makes this story even more special is it takes readers through the history of our city, exploring real-life landmarks that children can visit. These include the barnyard at Hart Park, Heritage Junction and all the historical buildings that are there and the amazing locomotive and caboose that are outside the original Saugus Train Station.
These treasures of our community’s past were a labor of love to find and bring to Heritage Junction. I am proud to be part of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, which made this possible in 2021. The 1942 red caboose was transported from Fillmore to be latched behind the 1900s steam locomotive. It once was part of the Southern Pacific line and used to run on the tracks that go through our city. I look forward to the day that children will be able to climb up in the caboose and experience what old-time train travel was like decades ago.
I was thrilled to read Sammy Clarita’s new book to children at this month’s Family Literacy Festival. If you would like your own copy, you can pick one up at the city store located at The Cube. Or you can download a PDF version for free at SammyClarita.com. This will be a delight for your children to color and read.
In the meantime, make sure you keep an eye out for the new train conductor Sammy. He will be popping up at city events, parks, community centers and other locations throughout Santa Clarita. There will be clues to his whereabouts posted on the city’s Instagram page.
Remember, if you find him, you get to keep him, promise! Please share a picture of you and your very own Sammy Clarita on social media, tagging @CityofSantaClarita and using the hashtag #IFoundSammyClarita. I encourage all of you to join in the scavenger hunt to find Sammy and to enjoy all of his books to learn about Santa Clarita and our rich western heritage, and of course, just have fun!
Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].