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Look What Wind Blew In: Summer : Weather: Santa Anas send temperatures into the mid- to high 90s. Heat, blustery conditions should abate by Tuesday.

October 09, 1994|JODI WILGOREN and KEVIN JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

As Santa Ana winds blanketed the region with oven-like heat Saturday, Orange County lifeguards reported crowds rivaling summer weekdays, while people at an inland carnival sweated in the sizzling sun.

The high temperature in Santa Ana, 96, tied the city's record high set in 1951. Lake Forest was the hottest spot in the county with a high of 98. Elsewhere, the mercury reached 93 in San Juan Capistrano, and lifeguards in Newport Beach reported temperatures in the 90s.

"You have the Santa Ana winds blowing, that's what's causing the heat," said meteorologist Kris Farnsworth of WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times. Farnsworth said a high-pressure system over Nevada and Utah was causing northeast winds blowing through the deserts and over the mountains to the Southern California coast.

Farnsworth predicted more of the same today. Tuesday will probably bring the first real relief from the hot wind and sun, he said.

Saturday, beach-goers enjoyed a summer-like day, with crowds of about 75,000 in Newport Beach and 20,000 in Huntington Beach, lifeguards said. The water temperature was about 70 degrees.

Inland, the warm winds were causing some annoyance for the Orange Police Department, where officers investigated more than 30 alarms from home-security systems that officers said were triggered by high winds.

*

Meanwhile, at the annual Tustin Tiller Days festival, the miniature ponies had to stop their merry-go-round duties for a long afternoon break because of the heat.

In fact, all the farm animals--a couple of goats and sheep, a rooster, geese and a potbellied pig--lay on their sides, spent, as a trickle of visitors entered the small petting zoo.

Everyone was sweating at the carnival fund-raiser, where dozens of nonprofit groups, most from schools, hawked food, drink and other goods to a jovial crowd.

Though the theme of the festival was intended to hark back to the community's farming roots, it was a typical '90s harvest: burgers, hot dogs, nachos, fries, cotton candy and plenty of soft drinks. The only remnants of the city's actual "tiller days" were farm animals, a pumpkin patch and the bales of hay that teen-agers squatted on to watch the live entertainment.

"This was a farming community--believe it or not, it was. This is our heritage," fair organizer Linda Andrews said.

"When I first moved here in 1972 I'd come from my parents house on 17th street and I'd pass five orange groves. Now it's six traffic lights. It's amazing what happened," she said.

Incorporated in 1868, Tustin was full of farms until a few decades ago. Now, 59,750 people live among the housing tracts and office buildings, but a small-town feel remains.

"We came when our kids were smaller. Now we're coming with our grandkids," said Dennis Mallon, 60, who stood near the petting zoo while his wife visited the palm reader and his 12-year-old grandson rode the rides.

"A lot has changed."

*

On one stage at the fair, girls in pink and white lace and leotards danced to soft music, while a sextet of young men sang a cappella on the other side of the park.

Meanwhile, throngs of cheering teen-agers from local high schools collected trophies for their performance in the morning parade.

Kelly Range, a 15-year-old who performed in the parade, sipped a frozen drink as she toted a massive white and purple stuffed animal that she won for her brother by tossing a dime onto a plate.

"Winning," Range said when asked what she likes best about the fair.

"I like winning--it's great. Whether it's winning a trophy (in the parade) or winning a bear for your little brother. Winning."

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