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Fun Factor

Carnival and parade this week are highlights of 16th annual Simi Valley Days.


The 16th annual Simi Valley Days, a festival big enough to have its own number in the phone book, builds to a climax this weekend with a fun-filled carnival and an old-fashioned parade.

Originally known as Pioneer Days, the event was conceived to celebrate the city's Oct. 10, 1969, birthday.

Apart from the fun factor, the primary mission of Simi Valley Days now is to raise funds for a number of local community service organizations and nonprofit groups.

Spread out over several weeks, Simi Valley Days is actually a series of events, officials say. The car show, horse show and chili cook-off have already happened, but the always popular carnival and rodeo take place this week.

The carnival, which started Wednesday, runs through Sunday at a large site at the 118 Freeway and 1st Street. In addition to all the rides are more than 30 booths with all the usual arts and crafts, plus plenty of food. The rodeo takes place Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Saturday is also parade day, starting at 9 a.m. at Los Angeles Avenue and Erringer Road and heading west along L.A. Avenue to Sinaloa Road. It lasts about three hours.

For those with more energy, several running events are scheduled Sunday morning before it gets too hot. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m., with the 5K run starting at 7:30 and the 10K at 8:15. A mellower family walk begins at 8:20.

Kowchip Bingo--one of the more successful fund-raising ventures--also is scheduled for Sunday. In this game, 3,000 numbered chips, each sold for $5, are scattered in a 150-by-40-foot arena.

Then, several live cows are released to wander about and randomly select the winning chips.

The grand prize winner walks away with a cool thousand bucks.

Another popular event is mutton-busting, in which kids up to 50 pounds ride sheep.

In addition, all kids in uniform, be they Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or members of baseball or soccer teams, will receive free raffle tickets. A ticket will be drawn every evening, with the lucky winner receiving a scooter.

The live soundtrack for Simi Valley Days will be varied, with Latin bands, original rock, cover bands, Christian music, youth bands, a light show and dancers of all sorts, including belly dancers tonight.


The Simi Valley Days carnival, 118 Freeway and 1st Street, today, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Adults $3, seniors and children $1 tonight; adults $5, seniors and children $3 Friday-Sunday; 581-4280.


The Ojai Renaissance Pirate Festival, which returns to Lake Casitas this weekend after a five-year hiatus, has been reworked and will offer all the energy of Captain Kidd at the helm of a nuclear submarine, according to event promoter Dick Wixon.

"This is going to be the largest pirate reenactment ever," Wixon said.

"Over 500 reenactors have signed up so far. For example, we are going to have a group of stuntmen called Revenge From the Sea who will be staging sword fights, pike fights and stuff like that, while another group called the Port Royal Privateers will be bringing about 40 people."

This is a time-travel scenario designed to take visitors back to the so-called golden age of piracy, a fun time for all except the victims of the scurvy knaves.

In addition to all those brawling buccaneers will be lots of singing pirates, including Mallory & McCall. The group Mother Rackets, which includes musicians and balladeers, will demonstrate skills every pirate should know, such as how to tie a good knot.

Two small pirate ships are expected to be anchored near the bustling Pirate Village, where there should be plenty of loud cannons burning lots of black powder.

Elizabeth I, the Pirate Queen herself, will reign over the festivities, trying to rein in all those buccaneers--adventurers who basically had two social skills, armed robbery and having fun. Contributing substantially to the latter will be costume contests, treasure hunts and two stages with continuous entertainment both days.

And there certainly will be food and drink aplenty.


Ojai Renaissance Pirate Festival at Lake Casitas, 11311 Santa Ana Road, Oak View, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; adults $10, $5 children 5-12, under 5 free; 496-6036.

Bill Locey can be reached by e-mail at

Simi Valley Days

Events are at 1st Street just north of the Ronald Reagan Freeway.


* 5 to 10 p.m. today

* 5 p.m. to midnight Friday

* 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday

* Noon to 10 p.m. Sunday



* Wal-Mart fashion show for kids, 5 to 6:30 p.m.

* Jewels of the Nile belly dancers, 6:45 to 7:30 p.m.

* Inside Straight (soft rock), 7:30 to 10 p.m.


* Three high school rock bands play from 5 to 6:15 p.m.

* Studebaker Hawks (hard rock), 7:45 to 8:45 p.m.

* Dizzy Lilacs (hard rock), 9 to 10:15 p.m.

* Stone Sole (hard rock), 10:30 p.m. to midnight


* Marching band awards from the parade will be handed out at 1:30 p.m.

* Tracy Casom Dancers, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

* The Brownbaggers band (includes Simi Valley police officers), 3:45 to 5 p.m.

* Paradox (country), 5 to 6 p.m.

* Visions (country), 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

* Heartache (country), 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

* Conejo Cloggers (dancers), 8:30 to 9 p.m.

* Dave Storm and Thundercreek (country), 9 to 11 p.m.


* Pilgrim (Christian rock), 5 to 6 p.m.

* El Rancho Folklorico Dancers, 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

* The band known last year as the Mariachis, 7:30 to 10 p.m.


* Saturday at 6 p.m.

* Sunday at 2 p.m.

Kowchip bingo will be held at 1 p.m. at the Rodeo Arena.

For information, call 581-4280 or check the Web site at

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