Since 1988, the Simi Valley Rotary Club has been sponsoring a festival over Memorial Day weekend. At first it was a New England Clam Bake, but the theme quickly moved to the South, into Cajun Creole country.
At first it was held on private grounds, but it soon grew so large and so popular it needed a bigger site. For the last several years it has been held at the Rancho Santa Susana Park across from the Metrolink station.
The 2014 festival was so large more than one overflow lot had to be opened, and buses used to shuttle attendees to the park. It’s estimated that 20,000 people attended the two day event.
This festival celebrates a unique part of American culture. The food served was authentic and excellent. Our lunch was made by Southern Delite Caterers and it was absolutely wonderful. If we hadn’t been so full, we would have gone across to the Kobbler (that’s how they spelled it) booth. It’s been a long time since I’ve had cobbler.
This is a family event and a large section of the park was given over to entertainment for children of all ages. There was a rock climb, one of the biggest bouncy castles I’ve ever seen and several other rides.
The music was also good. The first band we heard was jazz/blues and had a really good harmonica player. As soon as they were done, another band started on a different stage. They played more bluegrass style (which I like better). The last we heard I couldn’t tell you the style, as it wasn’t any that I’ve heard before.
Different organizations around Simi Valley provided booth operators, security and clean up. They did an excellent job of keeping up with the thousands there; I saw no trash floating around in the light breeze. I did see a lot of young people pushing bags of garbage from the many trash cans conveniently placed throughout the park. There were also recycling cans, and they were used.
This year’s affair was much larger than we anticipated and we learned a lot. If you decide to attend next year’s festival, bring chairs and perhaps a sun shade. Places to sit in the shade are few and far between. If you don’t have a chair with you, you may end up sitting on the ground. Also, be sure to wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen. We were there for three hours…and didn’t realize how much time had passed because we were having so much fun.