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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Newbury Park

Picnic Kicks Off Conejo Valley Days

March 21, 2000|MAIJA-LIISA NAGARAJAN

More than 3,000 Conejo Valley residents turned out for a picnic to kick off Conejo Valley Days, a six-week celebration of the area's country roots.

Diana and Brad Merville of Thousand Oaks bought a bag of sweet kettle corn Saturday afternoon at Borchard Park in Newbury Park before browsing the scene.

The lawn was filled with dozens of classic cars, tri-tip sandwiches were being sold from an Elks Lodge truck in the parking lot and food stands lined the sidewalk.

Children licked melted snow cone flavoring from their hands, rode ponies and fed goats in the petting zoo.

Tim Cooley, who owns a pest control business, unveiled a new fund-raising craze--cockroach races on a 10-lane wooden track.

"We had a lot of fun," he said. But he added that they had two fatalities. "Two of the cockroaches crawled off the track, and one lady had a quick foot."

Sue Gore was busy with her own fund-raising activities--selling hot dogs and hamburgers from her booth. She also started a six-week raffle for two mountain bikes and a bucket of booze.

Although Conejo Valley Days is an event that goes back to the community's country roots, not everyone at the picnic was there to celebrate the community's history.

Greg and Kathryn Turner of Calabasas came to offer support for a friend exhibiting a car.

"Our friend has best of show for his 1944 speed rod," Greg Turner said. "This is our first time coming out here for this. I think it's a great community event."

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