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JAUNTS: in and around the Valley

Island Fun on the Fourth

Tropical Daze in Westlake will blend fire-dancing, calypso and the flag.

July 02, 1998|IRENE GARCIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

If the traditional hamburger and hot dog barbecue has become a Fourth of July routine, it may be time for a new celebration of Independence Day.

How about an event with a little more spunk and, say, with a Caribbean theme?

And the good thing is you won't have to travel far. Tropical Daze will be presented Saturday and Sunday by the Westlake Village Sunrise Rotary on the grassy field adjacent to the Hyatt Westlake Plaza.

The big party will feature Caribbean-themed music, dancing, food and crafts.

"We wanted to create an event to raise funds for charities, and no one had this kind of theme out here," said Tropical Daze chairman Randy Strong. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

The entertainment alone is perhaps a good enough reason to attend the festival, especially for those who like to dance.

You can get down to live Jamaican steel-drum music, calypso, salsa by the group Salsa Blanca and reggae performed by Papa Nata. There will also be a thrilling fire dance show.

On Saturday, the popular 1960s surf-rock band the Chantays will perform at 6 p.m. The group can still jam even though its biggest hit, an instrumental piece called "Pipeline," was recorded more than three decades ago.

"They're still great, even after all these years," Strong said.

If none of the above sounds appealing, how about hula-dancing to traditional Hawaiian music? Hula lessons will be offered both days, and don't worry if you're shy. Lessons will take place in an area away from the festival.

Mastering the hula generally only comes in handy if a trip to Hawaii is in the forecast. A local radio station will give away a trip for two to Maui with hotel accommodations.

All that dancing can build an appetite, and there will be about 10 food booths offering replenishment. Selections include grilled tequila lime shrimp, pork in a peanut sauce, a variety of Caribbean-styled chicken dishes and fried coconut shrimp.

Those in the mood to shop can browse among about 30 booths. For sale will be clothes with--what else?--a tropical flair, plus jewelry and crafts created by local artists.

Also on display will be a photo collection of popular Conejo Valley sites taken by a local photographer. Many of the photos will be for sale.

For the kids, there will be a large area featuring a giant slide, a 28-foot mountain climb, a 35-foot Olympic obstacle course, a mini basketball court and thousands of plastic balls. The L.A. Sparks women's professional basketball team will also have an exhibit to keep children busy.

Organizers hope to make Tropical Daze a yearly family event to aid local nonprofit organizations. Part of the money raised this weekend will be used to purchase the sixth dog for the K-9 unit of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

"To buy, train and feed the dog costs $10,000," Strong said.

At Tropical Daze, you can have fun helping to raise the money, with no slaving over hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill.

BE THERE

Tropical Daze--Caribbean-style food, crafts, dancing and live music Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., on the grassy field adjacent to the Hyatt Westlake Plaza, 880 S. Westlake Blvd. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the gate, free for children under 12. Information: (818) 623-7007.

* Send Jaunts ideas, allowing at least two weeks' notice, to staff writer Irene Garcia at The Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311. Or send e-mail to Irene.Garcia@latimes.com.

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