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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

16th Annual Simi Valley Days Parade Runs Its Course

September 24, 2000|CATHERINE BLAKE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SIMI VALLEY — For many spectators, the excitement surrounding the Simi Valley Parade on Saturday morning was the same as in past years. But that was the point.

As in other years, the first tinges of autumn hung in the air. This year, the sky churned with clouds from rains that drenched the city the day before.

"This parade is tradition," said Wendy Kelley, sitting near the middle of the parade route, waving to family members on the other side of Los Angeles Avenue. "I brought my daughter when she was 5. And now she brings her baby. We never miss it."

Alan Dormagen came to the parade with his wife and three children, like he does every year.

He knew exactly what he liked and didn't like. "What I hate the most is the manure," he said, motioning to a pile whose odor was wafting downwind toward him.

This year, he and his two young sons, Matthew and Austin, were particularly motivated by the candy and free T-shirts. "We are having a contest to see who can get the most candy," he said, just before hollering for a young kid on a float to throw him a T-shirt. "I got a killer shirt from a window tinting company one year."

Aside from the T-shirts, Frisbees, leaflets and other advertisements, some families scored packages of gardening seeds, shampoo samples, bottled water and soda, a vegetable wash and small packages of pet food.

But the candy won the show, like it does every year. Jordon Dimock, 9, was wheeling around on roller blades collecting the treats. "Dad did you see that catch I made?" he asked his father, Malcolm, 36. The boy demonstrated a maneuver where he was practically kneeling on the ground with his arm straight up the air. A piece of candy flew from the float into his outstretched hand.

Although Malcolm Dimock comes to the parade or participates with his church every year, this year he noticed one difference.

"Sometimes the kids' soccer games will be postponed until after the parade, but this year they scheduled the games at the same time," he said. Many of the boys in his Cub Scout troop had to choose between marching in the parade or playing in the game. Many of them opted for the latter.

The parade was part of the 16th annual Simi Valley Days, which ends today. The carnival with rides, booths, and arts and crafts will be held today from noon to 10 p.m. at a large lot off California 118 near 1st Street. A rodeo is slated for 2 p.m.

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