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Free Fun for Kids, Families


CAMARILLO — Parents looking for a fun--and free--place to take their kids won't have to look further than Community Center Park this weekend.

Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park Department will host a combined event: Children's Day in the Park and the Spring Arts and Crafts Fair.

More than 35 booths appealing to children and another 20 arts and crafts booths are expected this weekend.

Artisans will display everything from handmade watercolor paintings, seashell creations and American Indian art to jewelry, dolls and purses.

There will also be sculptures, silk flowers and pottery.

For those with other cravings, there will be the usual burgers along with Polish sausages, hot dogs and cotton candy.

Half a dozen entertainment groups will perform throughout the day, beginning at 10 a.m with "Shakespeare in Song," in the person of Will Clark, an Agoura Hills performer with a modern take on the Bard's classics.

At 10:30 a.m., the Oakley Ballet Center from Camarillo will perform. From noon until 1:30, there'll be children's karaoke, followed by karate demonstrations.

At 2 p.m., Ta Dah!, a dance troupe from Oxnard, will perform. Then at 2:30 there will be a combination cheerleading and karate demonstration.


Most hands-on children's activities are sponsored by groups promoting their summer camps--while the children are having fun, the sponsors can spend time with the parents.

The exhibits will include picture-framing, science activities, face-painting, ballet lessons, bead-stringing, a beanbag toss, a wet sponge toss and the creation of a giant spider web of yarn.

Kids will be taught to make finger puppets and butterflies. Several booths will sell books, toys and stationery. A rock-climbing wall will be available for $5.

Of course there will be two of the ever-present Jolly Jumps; the $1 admission will help support participants in the international deaf Olympics in Italy and this summer's AIDS ride in Montana.

A special attraction at this event, rarely offered elsewhere, will be camel rides for $3 each.

Public safety personnel will also be on hand. McGruff the crime-fighting dog is slated to make an appearance, as are a canine unit from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, a patrol car the kids view from the inside and possibly a mounted officer.

Also, the county Fire Department will have a demonstration trailer, including a simulated fire and instructions on what to do when a blaze occurs.

The kids will enter the trailer, experience a "fire," then come out and dial 911.

There will also be free fingerprinting of children and screening for scoliosis, lateral curvature of the spine.

Event coordinator Suzzi Crouch expects bigger crowds than ever.

"In years past, this event has attracted over 1,000 people. There is plenty of parking, so that won't be a problem," Crouch said.

"I know parents are looking for free places to go that are fun for everybody. And we're going to have great weather, so it's going to be perfect."


Community Center Park, 1605 Burnley St., Camarillo, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. COST: Free. CALL: 482-1996.

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