Laurene Weste | Celebrate Western Heritage at the 28th Annual Cowboy Festival

Laurene Weste
Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste
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Strolling through William S. Hart Park, you start to smell the delicious scent of peach cobbler in the air, you hear the sound of blacksmiths hammering their anvils and enthusiastic “yippe ki-yays!” and see lots of line dancing, buffalo soldiers and trick ropers. Where do you find yourself? I’m here to say dust off those cowboy boots and break out your cowboy hats again, because you’re at the 28th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival!  

With a little over a month left to wait, I know residents and visitors from all over the country are not only excited for this year’s Cowboy Festival, but also looking forward to its long-awaited return to William S. Hart Park (24151 Newhall Ave.) on Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21. From live entertainment, family-friendly activities, a myriad of history to indulge in and more, this landmark Santa Clarita event offers a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in our city’s vibrant western heritage.  

You won’t have to wait until Saturday for cowboy festivities, though, as there are a few ways to get in the spirit beforehand! 

The fun kicks off with Saddle Up, a Wild West-themed Senses Block Party on Thursday, April 18. From 7 to 10 p.m., Main Street in Old Town Newhall will be transformed into a western frontier that will definitely foster the mood for the Cowboy Festival! Live music, line dancing, mechanical bull-riding and cowboy-inspired food will have you wanting more, but you won’t have to wait too long. 

The very next day, Friday, April 19, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., step foot into living history at the historic Rancho Camulos Museum (5164 East Telegraph Road), a 40-acre National Historic Landmark, situated within an 1,800-acre working ranch, one of the best surviving examples of an early Californio Rancho in its original setting. This beautiful, adobe architecture inspired the 1884 novel, “Ramona” and was the filming location for DW Griffith’s 1910 “Ramona,” starring Mary Pickford. What an enriching experience this will be, with an authentic Vaquero buffet, a special cowboy music performance and costumed docent-led tours that will take you back in time. This Californio Fiesta De Rancho Camulos experience will have you in the cowboy mindset right before the festival. 

Later that evening at the incredible Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts (24607 Walnut St.), enjoy a night of music, comedy, tall tales and cowboy storytelling at Cowboy Family Night from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Bask in awe and listen to award-winning Kristyn Harris’ wonderful music, master the art of yodeling and kick back and laugh along with Sourdough Slim and his sidekick Robert Armstrong as they perform accordion antics and comedy routines. This night promises cowboy-themed entertainment for the entire family, with all proceeds benefiting Raising the Curtain Foundation, which supports the Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts. 

Later that weekend, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival itself will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21, with general admission continuing to be free for all attendees. Upon entering William S. Hart Park, you will feel as though you’ve stepped through time into the American frontier. The Mane Stage, Hart Hall and the Whistle Stop Stage will be filled with top-tier country western, folk and bluegrass performances that will surely have you dancing and tapping those cowboy boots. 

The festival offers an incredible experience for families, with wonderful opportunities to browse through rustic vendors selling hats, boots and other cowboy attire, as well as unique crafts, artwork and home décor. Indulge in a variety of food and beverages, and be sure to grab a slice of the beloved Dutch oven peach cobbler prepared by our very own Rotary Club of Santa Clarita Valley. Just follow the delicious smell, you can’t miss it! 

I look forward to this cherished event every year, as it brings such a sense of joy seeing residents and visitors from all over take in what it’s like to be a cowboy. From learning about Western heritage to exploring the historic landmark that is William S. Hart Park, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival truly is a unique event that is so special to our city. 

For all the essential details about the 2024 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, including the complete lineup of musical performers, ticketed events, parking information and FAQs, please visit 

Councilwoman Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]. 

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