Simi Valley has launched its second annual "Simi Valley Days," an ambitious celebration featuring a rodeo, a carnival, a balloon race and the biggest parade in the city's history.
The two-week long community party, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, has twice as many events as last year, organizers said.
From 300 to 500 volunteers, mostly owners of local businesses, will sponsor individual events of the celebration, which got under way Sept. 14 with a square dance at the City Hall senior center.
A golf tournament will be held at noon Friday at the Simi Hills Golf Course. A barn dance is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Strathearn Historical Park, and an all-day picnic begins at 10 a.m. at Rancho Tapo Community Park. Sunday, there is a horse show.
A Frontier Fair, similar to a small county fair, begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Hopetown Movie Ranch, off Kuehner Road. The fair is a fund-raiser for the Wildlife Waystation in the Angeles National Forest, said Pam Golly, corporate secretary for the Waystation.
A carnival starts Sept. 24 at Los Angeles Avenue and Madera Road and continues through the weekend of Sept. 27 and 28, when the major events of the celebration are scheduled. The rodeo begins at 2 p.m. on Sept. 27 and 28 at Los Angeles Avenue and Madera Road.
At 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 27, six professional balloonists will race across Simi Valley. Pilots of the balloons must predict a landing place within the city limits. The competitor who lands closest to the predicted location wins, organizers said.
At 9:30 that morning, the balloonists will be among about 100 participants in a parade down Los Angeles Avenue, the city's main street. The 1 1/2-mile parade will have 16 bands from Simi Valley and neighboring cities.
There will also be 5k and 10k runs along Los Angeles Avenue that morning and a truck and tractor pull at 8 p.m. on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27.
Nancy Bender, the chamber's executive director, called the celebration an attempt to "provide something for our entire community, as a unifying event."
And business owners hope residents and visitors also will shop at local stores and eat at local restaurants, said Jan Schofield, owner of Island Snow Hawaii, which sells flavored shaved ice.
"The traffic that we would generate to Simi hopefully will bring in people who haven't been here before," said Schofield, whose shop is along the parade route.