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Moorpark Planning a Big Party for Its Little Leaguers

Celebration: As many as 20,000 people are expected to greet the youngsters Sunday upon their return from the World Series.

August 24, 1996|DAVID R. BAKER SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

MOORPARK — Residents may not have much ticker tape to throw, but when their beloved Little League team rolls into town Sunday in a motorcade of limos and police cars, the athletes will find themselves at the center of the biggest party this small city can muster.

City officials have spent the week hastily arranging the details: picking a park big enough for the festivities, lining up food vendors and arranging a California Highway Patrol escort from Los Angeles International Airport for the team. Huddling before a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday night, the City Council even appropriated $2,500 from the city's general fund to pay for party expenses.

Adding to the frenzy of the preparations is one wild card--no one is quite sure how many people will come.

"I've heard numbers as high as 20,000," said Mayor Paul Lawrason. "Now that's a huge number. But the reason we're hearing it is because people are coming from far and wide."

Bear in mind that Moorpark's entire population is about 28,000.

But during the team's stunning drive through regional competition and into this week's Little League World Series, that population became obsessed with the team's success. Residents gathered in homes and restaurants--anywhere with a good television--to watch the games. They yelled themselves hoarse together and breathed a collective sigh of disappointment when the team fell to Panama City, Fla., 10-2, Wednesday night.

The team will fly home late Sunday afternoon. Three limousines, provided by Chuy's restaurant, will be waiting, along with a CHP motorcycle and patrol car.

As the limousines cross the county line, two Ventura County Sheriff's Department patrol cars and one department motorcycle will join the procession, which is expected to reach Moorpark between 6 and 6:30 p.m. The motorcade will first proceed down High Street on its way to Arroyo Vista Community Park.

Hoping that Moorpark residents will line the motorcade route with signs, city officials have temporarily waived fees and permit requirements for banners recognizing the team.

Festivities at the park will begin at 5 p.m., with music provided by the the Hodads. Council members and representatives for local legislators will take turns praising the team.

Parking will be available at the park and at nearby Moorpark High School. For more details, call City Hall at 529-6864, ext. 227, or the Arroyo Vista Recreation Center at 531-9100.

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