It's going to be a tight squeeze, but the longstanding tradition of serving orange juice at the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament will continue--only this year it's going to take some concentration.
The freeze that hit the county last winter has made oranges a scarcer commodity. So it's going to take some improvising to serve the usual 15,000 cups of juice at the four-day amateur tournament that begins today.
"We go through about 200 cartons of oranges, something like 31,000 of them," said Tony Thatcher of Friend's Ranch in Ojai, whose great-uncle William Thatcher was a founder of the tournament 96 years ago. "This year we'll use more frozen concentrate, which I buy from an outfit in Ventura." The frozen and fresh juice will be blended, he said.
Last year at this time, oranges were going for $6 a carton, said Thatcher, but now they're at $30 per carton. He said his ranch has been supplying the orange juice for the tournament since the 1960s and this is the worst he's seen it. "We've used concentrate before," he said, "but nothing like this."
By the way, the Thatcher family is responsible for making tea, another of the tournament's traditional beverages. "My great-uncle liked tea, so that was the start of it," Thatcher said.
And it was a popular decision. Thatcher recalled the comments made by former tournament umpire Harry Maiden, a native of England. "He used to say Ojai and Wimbledon were the only civilized tournaments because they served tea," Thatcher said. "You always had to make sure you gave him some time off when the tea tent was open."
Well, the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit in Oxnard is about to become extinct and there's going to be a goodby party to send it on its way.
Check out this catchy line from the invitation for the party: "Join us as we bid a big yaba, dab, adieu to Dino, Rex, Ty . . . " Deadline for reservations for the Saturday evening party was April 23, but publicist Dana Young said tickets will be available at the door because "this county is notorious for being late."
While we're on the subject of extinct animals:
Michael Werikhe of Kenya will be in Ventura County on Monday as he passes between the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Los Angeles Zoo. He's on a 1,500-mile walk through parts of the country to bring money and attention to the plight of the endangered rhino.
Werikhe will begin his day with a greeting from Mayor Richard Francis on the steps of Ventura City Hall at 9 a.m. From there he'll head over to the beach, catch a ride to the Oxnard Airport and walk from 5th and C streets to the end of Pacific Coast Highway, covering 25 miles by foot.
Warning: There's going to be a dance performance later this month at The Performance Studio in Ventura that likely will be in bad taste. Or maybe it will just taste bad.
The title of the number: "Morning Breath."
"The piece is about a day in the life of . . . ," said choreographer Denee Jordan, "the mechanics of waking, working and sleeping patterns. The title was kind of a working reference to the piece and it stuck. Does it make you want to brush?"