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Beach Joys

Festival activities will make the most of both surf and sand.


Cowabunga! There's a party at the beach. Frankie and Annette will probably be unavailable, but everyone else is invited to the 14th annual California Beach Festival, which returns this weekend as a mile-long commotion by the ocean, stretching north from the pier along the Ventura Beach Promenade.

Last year's event was poorly organized, but this year, a new promoter--Paradise Concerts--will try to make the festival the best yet.

That should be a snap. A festival on the beach in Southern California? Hmm . . . has definite possibilities.

According to John Rozenberg of Paradise, "It's going to be bigger and better than ever before. We're bringing in international touring acts. This year, we'll have smooth jazz, country, Latin and alternative" music.

Staged as a free event during its first six years, the Beach Party was eventually taken over by the city of Ventura and upgraded to Beach Festival. Then, suddenly, the beach had a cover charge.

The pay-to-play scenario was instituted ostensibly to discourage juveniles with the goal of acquiring alcohol from attending, and it also was hoped the event would actually turn a profit.

The festival was then billed as some sort of retro beach happening--for a small fee. But the city didn't really know how to party anyway, and two years ago handed over control of the event to outside organizers.

The two-day event generally attracts about 25,000 people, and there will be more vendors this time around, making it sort of a giant swap-meet-by-the-sea. And no one will go hungry, as the Beach Fest will include food vendors everywhere. Expect a lot of beach-related stuff to be on sale--everything from shellfish jewelry to personal watercraft and surfboards.

Finheads who already own boards and know how to use them will hang 10 and, between sets, hang out as a part of the Pro Surfing Tour of America both days; prelims will have begun earlier in the week.

Other beach-related activities are scheduled, including World Beach Flying Disc Championships, plus lots of running around and sweating by people in great shape playing beach volleyball.

Saturday is Family Day Kite Festival, and since it's always a little breezy at the beach in the afternoons, this should work out just fine. Kite contests are on tap Sunday with awards given for stunt flying and to the highest flier, the largest and the most beautiful kites. People are encouraged to bring their own kites, although kites will be sold at the festival.

A special play-and-learn area has been set up to entertain kids with games, contests, rides, clowns and face-painting. Dancers, musicians and magicians will perform throughout the weekend on the Kids Stage.

For the bigger kids among us, nearly 30 vehicles most people can't afford--those "Cool Classic Cars"--will be on display at the west end of the promenade. Also, there will be music of all sorts both days on two stages, apart from the roar of a finely tuned engine. Musically, those gents with the clever handle, Caught Red-Handed, the best country band in these parts, will play late Saturday afternoon.

The music lineup looks like this on Saturday:

10 a.m.: Joe Cano, Soulbelly

11:30 a.m.: Robbie Longley

Noon: 3 of Hearts

1 p.m.: Maxfield Rabbit

1:30 p.m.: Alec Milstein

2:30 p.m.: 3 of Hearts

3 p.m.: Tattooedlovedogs

3:30 p.m.: Marc Corey Lee

5 p.m.: Joe 90

5:30 p.m.: Caught Red-Handed

And the Sunday lineup:

10 a.m.: Joe Cano, Native Vibe

11:30 a.m.: Jamie Green

Noon: Cindy Alexander

1 p.m.: Wisky y Sus Nortenos

1:30 p.m.: Rosalba de "Chica de Las Caderas"

2 p.m.: Brian Hughes, Internacional Sonora Show

3:30 p.m.: Sons of the Desert

4 p.m.: Scott Wilkie

5 p.m.: Big House

5:30 p.m.: Jango



14th annual California Beach Festival at the Ventura Beach Promenade, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. COST: $8 adults, $4 seniors and kids 6-12, under 5 free; 254-1205.

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