Thousands attended the first Cowboy Festival since the pandemic for its second day on Sunday on Old Town Newhall’s Main Street.
The street was filled with people throwing axes, tossing horseshoes, eating the valley’s finest barbecue and Dutch-oven-cooked peach cobbler — while live music from three stages poured into the festival.
The event was previously held at Melody Ranch and then William S. Hart Park, but was moved to Main Street following its years-long hiatus. The plan is to return to Hart Park next year, but organizers and attendees both commented how much they liked having it on Main Street.
With its western architecture and matching walk of fame, the complementary aesthetics seemed to make an impression. Event organizer for the city, Casey Miller, said returning the festival to Hart Park is a goal, but Main Street is not a bad alternative.
“We are very successful with events on Main Street like Light Up Main Street, Senses Block Party, so the Cowboy Festival does feel right at home here in Old Town Newhall,” said Miller. “This festival is really near and dear to a lot of people in our community with that, you know, western heritage that we have here in Santa Clarita. So I think people are just out here having a good time, smile and laugh and learning a little bit about Santa Clarita heritage.”
City Councilwoman Laurene Weste said her favorite part about the festival was the family aspect.
“Family is the fact that we can come together [as a] a community in an old-time way and just be social,” said Weste. “Everyone’s having fun, it reaches all generations. Music, great food, great art, great genre. It just feels good. Everybody says the same thing — they’re having fun.”
Weste also lauded the volunteers who organized and materialized the event saying, “We would not be the great city that we are without the time they put in.”
A central part of the festival was its music, which ranged from country and western to bluegrass and cowboy. There were two large stages that bookended Main Street, as well as a smaller stage at The Main.
Poi Rogers, a stand-up bass and steel guitar duo comprised of Carolyn Sills and Gerard Egan, said they always enjoyed playing the Cowboy Festival, no matter the location.
“I think it’s great. I mean, obviously we loved it when it was on Melody Ranch, and we loved it in the park. But this is nice. It’s a nice street fair vibe,” said Sills. “I think it’s good to kind of involve the local businesses. It’s definitely made us kind of pop into some restaurants and some stores and stuff whereas in the past we hadn’t before.”
“It’s great. I mean, this is a really solid turnout,” said Egan. “I think this is the first time this has happened since COVID, so it’s great to see people are enthused about it and there’s an amazing lineup of musicians all weekend and that’s really cool.”
Event organizers say they will attempt to return the event to Hart Park next year, but, based off the generally positive reactions, there’s a good chance it could return to Main Street in 2024.