Kickoff picnic serves up food, fun
The Conejo Valley Days grand marshal candidates made their first official appearance Sunday at the 1993 Conejo Valley Days kickoff picnic.
Kathy "Cat Ballou" McLean, "Diamond Dan" Urbaniak, and Lance "The Cow-Wash Guy" Winslow were on hand to oversee booths and activities dedicated to raising funds for their campaigns.
Winslow, the focus of recent city debate on mobile car-wash operations, invited the Thousand Oaks chapter of Ross Perot's political support group, United We Stand, to solicit funds on his behalf.
Questionnaires tied to Perot's Sunday night NBC television town meeting, straight-to-the-top Texas phone numbers, T-shirts, bumper stickers and other informational material were offered.
Ballou had about eight booths - youth-oriented ring- and ball-toss affairs - plus the dunk booth, for which she promised to be principal dunkee.
Urbaniak had the chicken-barbecue dinner skills of Kiwanis working in his behalf.
As if in penance for the rain that postponed 1992's kickoff picnic for a week, Mother Nature offered up perfect weather Sunday for the event.
At home in its new location - Conejo Creek Park North - the picnic seemed to reclaim much of CVD's fabled small-town charm.
"Actually the picnic is just about the right size now, and the entertainment and program are family-oriented," said Gene Ewald. He and his wife, Carol, handled chairmanship chores, representing Thousand Oaks Rotary Club.
Tots lined up for free rides on a carnival-style train as mostly 6 to 10 year-olds reeled out of a whirling "spaceship."
An athletic foursome of young men played hackysack, keeping the small beanbag aloft with well-placed kicks.
And Little League-age picthers abound.
The crowd was estimated at 2,500 by Ventura County Sheriff's senior deputy Rick Godfrey.
Among those in the crowd were Terry and Melodee King of Thousand Oaks, who were transporting their three youngsters and puppy though the park in a large custom-built wagon.
They paused to rest and have lunch at a picnic table in the tiered pavilion at the park.
"We moved here a couple of years ago from Manhattan Beach and just love it," Terry King said as the family ate barbecued chicken and beef prepared by Kiwanians and Elks. "This picnic is the sort of thing that's great to take your children to."
The event was a pleasant surprise for Shelley and Mike Gonzales of Newbury Park, who were there with 5-year-old Dannee and Zack, 2.
"We just came to the park, and here it is," Shelley Gonzales said. "It looks like fun."
With Thousand Oaks Rotary president Vern Dransfeldt serving as master of ceremonies, the program was dominated by school and youth groups.
Boy Scouts led the flag presentation, and two groups from Newbury Park High School's color guard performed in opening ceremonies.
Miss Conejo Valley Pageant titlists, crowned Saturday night in ceremonies at California Lutheran University, were introduced in their first official appearance: Tricia York of Westlake Village as Miss Conejo Valley 1993; Tera Williams of Thousand Oaks as Miss Teen Conejo Valley; Nicole Meraz of Agoura as Miss Pre-Teen; and Dominique M. Key of Thousand Oaks, as Junior Miss.
Several brightly costumed classes from Bobbie's School of Dance in Thousand Oaks performed for picnic-goers.
Reprinted from the News Chronicle, March 22, 1993.