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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | Countywide / CAMARILLO

20,000 Flock to Old Town for Annual Fiesta

July 20, 1998|PAMELA J. JOHNSON

With squealing children whirling in a carnival ride behind them, a group of musicians strummed banjos and played clarinets to crank out lively New Orleans jazz. Other performers filled the air with Cajun, swing and rock 'n' roll.

The eclectic live music was just a part of this weekend's Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair held along Ventura Boulevard in Old Town. The annual two-day event, which ended Sunday evening, celebrated the city's 34th birthday, which is Oct. 22.

There was also mariachi and Dixieland music during the celebration. People shopped at a farmers' market and browsed through the many arts, crafts and jewelry booths.

Revelers ate barbecue chicken, Thai food, pizza and sipped on lemonade or fruit punches. Youngsters watched a puppet show, rode carnival rides and played with pigs at a mini-petting zoo.

"This is the most successful fiesta that Camarillo has ever had," said former Camarillo mayor Mike Morgan, of the Camarillo Fiesta Assn. "Yesterday it was a little bit waning from 1 to 3 [p.m.] because it was so hot. But today it's great. People have been shaking our hands all day saying, 'Thank you, thank you.' They're having so much fun."

Morgan estimated about 20,000 people attended the weekend event. This year was the first time the birthday bash was held in the Old Town section.

The doll, crafts and clothing shops along Ventura Boulevard--a several-block stretch between Fir Street and Palm Drive--were packed with people who wandered in from the fair.

Lynn Tacoronti, 41, brought her three daughters--Christina, 14, Miranda, 10, and Alisha, 5.

Alisha described her favorite part of the event.

"The thing that we rided on," she said, before quickly adding in a burst of emotion, "and the cotton candy!"

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