Picnic success probably omen for rest of CVD
By Shirley Appleman
Correspondent

Picnic cook: Kiwanians cooked up barbecued chicken at the picnic which helps kick-off Conejo Valley Days.  The even was held at Conejo Creek Park North.

If the success and karma of the kickoff picnic holds for all of 1993 Conejo Valley Days, it will go down as a memorable year.   Perfect weather - well, OK, a few sunburns - drew some 2,500 people to the CVD opener.

Held for the first time at Conejo Creek Park North, the picnic was heavy on small-town charm and values: lots of children danced, marched and twirled flags in marvelous unison: local beauty pageant winners made their first official appearance, candidates for grand marshal of the annual civic celebration were on hand to raise money for their candidacies - money that will be given to the service organizations of their choice.

Even Ross Perot, American's favorite maverick politician, was there in spirit.  The Thousand Oaks chapter of United We Stand occupied an exhibit booth at the invitation of Lance "Cow-Wash Guy" Winslow, one of this year's three candidates for grand marshal.

Candidate Kathy "Cat Ballou" McLean got a lot of action at eight ring-toss and similar skill-booths and especially at the hard softball-activated water dunk booth.

"Diamond Dan" Urbaniak, the Kiwanis Club's chosen candidate, was in the midst of things at the barbecued chicken-dinner kitchen manned by the philanthropic group.  Eating was a popular pastime with the Elks' famed barbecue wagon also on hand as well as Rotary's hot dogs and hamburgers.

Soroptimist Club of the Conejo, one of the area's most active civic organizations, was not only selling members' homemade cookies but on consignment, Western women's wear.  Dixie Vollmer, founder of the Plug Nickel restaurant in Westlake Village as well as a founding member of the local Soroptomist chapter, was serving as both seller and buyer.

"I couldn't resist these," she said, showing off two blouses and a beaded suede scarf to fellow-Soroptomist Sharon Jeter and to prospective customer Dominique Meinke, there with a stroller built for three occupied by her twins Sarah and Krista, 2, and Ashley, 10 months.

Conejo Valley Rotary Club produces the CVD Kickoff Picnic.  Chairman this year, as he has been for the last "is it five or six?" years was Gene Ewald.  "Mention my wife Carol - we work as a team on this."

Continuing his list of helping Rotarian hands, Ewald said, "Don't forget Corey Lister; there wouldn't be a kickoff picnic without him and all the e2quipment he brings for us to use."

Vern Miller, another hardworking Rotarian, was manning a ring toss for coins and keeping a watchful eye on the carnival attractions brought in for children's pleasure: Sir Bounce-A-Lot, a super-inflated balloon house was filled all afternoon with trampoline-type action; the popularity of the whirling Spaceball prompted the delivery of a second unit, Shamrock Attractions donated free train rides for the youngest set.

A special program standout involved the Conejo Unified School District's poster contest based on illustrating the theme "Just Say No to Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco."

Winning posters from categories encompassing kindergarten through 12th grade were displayed and winners' names announced.

Reprinted from News Chronicle, April 22, 1993.

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