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Saturday, June 22, 2002

Ojai Summer Art Stroll and Family Festival

Although we were a bit slow getting out of town today, and hit a minor traffic tie-up on the way, we finally made it to Ojai around 12:30. Joe had fallen asleep in the car, so we pushed him around the stroller, checking out the festivities. Once we got to lunch at Bonnie Lu's, a small restaurant in downtown that serves up a good American-style breakfast and lunch.

After lunch, we headed up to Libbey Park, where the small, but fun, Family Festival was in full swing. Joe got to play with musical instruments, make pipe cleaner necklaces, cuddle up in a tent for story time and play in a great playground that he remembered from previous visits. He even got to chat with the Sherriff's deputies that had a display on bike safety.

Up the street, a small art supply store had organized an art fair in the street. There was a bandstand with all sorts of music, a small art show and several craft stations for the kids. Joe and I made a neat faux-batik painting using sturdy paper towels and food coloring.

The Summer Art Stroll brings many Ojai artists into the streets. Throughout downtown there were musicians, sculptors and painters. One artist group had set up large panels and were creating a mural in the park. The map provided by the "Stroll" helped us to find galleries and stores that were off the main streets and tucked into the neighborhood behind. One of the nicest spots was the restored and converted former home of the Church of the Nazarene. The main chapel is now a beautiful hall for events and small office/studio space a have been added around a small courtyard behind the church.

On the way out of town, we stopped at Viking Farms Nursery. Their offer of free hot dogs and pony rides caught our eye, but there was much more. Along with the usual nursery items, they specialize in water gardens. There were several ponds of exotic fish, including Japanese Koi and goldfish. Inside the store, Joe was excited to find goats, rabbits and all sorts of baby chicks. Even more surprising was the huge turkeys that strutted about in pen at the back of the property.

Once last stop on the way home was the small dairy bar called The Summit, which is about half way between Ojai and Santa Paula on Highway 150. We had stopped to pick up some milk for Joe, but Rosanne noticed that they were offering strawberry and cherry milk shakes made with real fruit. The drinks were heavenly and we enjoyed them for the rest of the trip home.


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