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[KHTS] – The 2014 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival opened Saturday at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio with thousands of guests from throughout Southern California enjoying perfect weather, four stages of music and entertainment and the popular peach cobbler from the Cowboy Cultural Committee & Chuckwagon Cooks.
“The peach cobbler is one of the best things about Cowboy Festival,” said Sharon Howland, of Huntington Beach. “I look forward to it every year.”
Guests crowded into the four venues, Melody Ranch Stage, California Music Stage, Cowboy Corner Stage and Heritage Stage, which offered live music and entertainment at the 21stannual Cowboy Festival.
The historic Main Street at Melody Ranch also filled with attendees enjoying the trick roping of Cowboy Festival regular Dave Thornbury and the gun slinging skills of Joey Dillon.
Guests watched as the blacksmiths plied their trade on Main Street. They pounded glowing metal bars with heavy hammers atop sturdy anvils.
Santa Clarita artist Morgan Weistling, well known for his paintings of early American pioneer life, was chosen to create this year’s Cowboy Festival poster, “The Pursuit,” which features a cowboy galloping across the landscape.
He spent time on Saturday autographing posters for guests at the festival.
“It’s a great honor to have a piece of my work used for the Cowboy Festival poster,” he said. “This is my second time as the Festival poster artist.”
In 2009 a painting inspired by his young daughter dancing to the Western music was chosen as the official Cowboy Festival poster.
Weistling’s painting of the late Mickey Michel, who Weistling described as “a great old cowboy,” was chosen as the official 2014 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival poster.
“It was a tribute to him as a well that the festival chose this art for the poster, it has a lot of meaning to me that he is being honored on that poster,” Weistling said. “It means a lot to me.”
Weistling also spent time at the festival photographing many of the Western-garbed guests.
“I like to come to the festival to have a good time and eat peach cobbler, but I also love how this festival brings the cowboys out,” he said. “I love to come find models for paintings. That’s what I’m doing, creating more paintings.”
Many of the entertainers made note of the perfect weather for this year’s Cowboy Festival.
“We love the weather in Southern California,” said Jon Chandler from the Cowboy Corner music stage. “But today’s weather is much nicer than the heat we’ve had in past years.”
Singer Dave Stamey made similar comments.
“When I was here two years ago they were taking people off Main Street in stretchers because of heat prostration,” he said. “I was a little worried last night because of the rain, but today is beautiful.”
Quilt artist Donna Chipperfield said the Festival was the perfect chance to get the word out about the work of the Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild.
“We make quilts for the Painted Turtle Camp, wounded soldiers and seniors,” she said. In addition, the Quilt Guild donates quilts to be raffled off for other nonprofits, like Guide Dogs of America and gives “Quilts of Valor” to the families of area soldiers who have died in service to the United States.
The SCV Quilt Guild also makes pads for cages at the animal shelter and donates pillowcases to hospitals.
“Each child from the Painted Turtle Camp goes home with a quilt and a quilted turtle,” she said.
The Painted Turtle Camp is for children with serious medical conditions.
“We are asking people to donate to sponsorships of our quilts,” Chipperfield said. “Prices of fabric have increased. A yard of quilt fabric is now $13 a yard and a king size quilt takes 18 yards.”
The SCV Quilt Guild display is located at the end of Main Street adjacent to the Cowboy Corner Music Stage.
The Cowboy Festival continues today beginning at 10 a.m. at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio.
Festival entertainment offered will feature headliners Sons of the San Joaquin, Don Edwards and Waddie Mitchell as well as returning favorites Jon Chandler, Dave Stamey, the Messick Family, Cow Bop, Nancy Lee and Belinda Gail. Newcomers include Mary Kaye and Gary Allegretto and Ian Espinoza.
A day pass to the 2014 Cowboy Festival is $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the shuttle stop. No parking is available at Melody Ranch, free parking is available the corner of Railroad Avenue and 13thStreet where a shuttle will transport guests to Melody Ranch. No video cameras are allowed at the Ranch.
For more information visit www.cowboyfestival.org.