The little ones as well as the big kids enjoyed the carnival rides at the Citrus Festival over the weekend, held at the Railroad Plaza this year. Photos by Don Johnson

Citrus Festival fun time for all

July 30, 2003
36th Annual Kiwanis Club Citrus Festival a hit at Railroad Plaza
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe 36th Annual Kiwanis Club Citrus Festival drew thousands of people to the Railroad Plaza for three days of fun, food and fabulous entertainment.The new venue - for decades the annual event was held at Veterans Park - is a winner, according to Kiwanis Citrus Festival Chairman Bill Grant.“It’s been just great, this is the perfect place,” ranging from Railroad Avenue to Davis Street in a route hopscotching areas surrounding Santa Barbara Street.“It’s been a learning experience,” for next year’s Citrus Festival, he added, with some unexpected glitches offering an opportunity to ensure that next year’s festival goes without a hitch. “We’ll fine tune it for next year.”And having city help made the event “just fantastic, staff was wonderful. . .the whole event was really, really great! We got so many people from out of town who just loved Santa Paula, said it was really, really nice. The festival was a great success.”Janet Grant said that the 2003 Kiwanis Club Citrus Festival T- and denim shirts with the prizewinning design by Santa Paula artist Dolas Tubbs, as well as other items decorated with the event logo, are “selling really well. . .business is good.”Business was good all over the event: The carnival, entertainment at the city’s new Gazebo, games, food booths and arts & crafts offered something for everyone, even a beer garden and bingo both provided by the Kiwanis Club.Other service clubs and organizations that participated in the event for fundraising or just plain information spreading included the We Tip Booth, staffed by Cynthia Dunbar, Community Service Officer Karen Heath-Karayan and Sr. Officer Jimmy Fogata.While little kids enjoyed the special tots’ carnival area and older - and braver - souls went upside-down for the Kamikaze, all agreed it was a perfect weekend at the park with tons of things to see and do.
Soft-sided spas drew a crowd, the Gazebo area proved to be perfect for dancing to the continuous music and the hit of the weekend was the Citrus Pavilion, where contests and competitions centered on - what else? - citrus and avocados.“The lemon eating contest was quite heated, the winner ate six quarters,” said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, who was master of competition ceremonies.Winners of the array of events, from the Best Dressed category for avocados, oranges and lemons to the best recipes and citrus packing, were awarded Blue Ribbons and each competition brought out plenty of contestants and supportive audience members.Laura Martinez ate the whole bowl quartered oranges to take the top prize, while Ramona Rodriguez topped all lemon eaters.“I can still feel them. . .right here,” she said, clutching her throat with a laugh.The Citrus Trivia Quiz brought out the media with Marianne Ratcliff, opinion page editor of the Star, Hillary Johnson, editor of the VC Reporter, Jessica Rosenthal of KVTA 1520 AM and Peggy Kelly of the Santa Paula Times pitted against each other under the watchful eye of judge SPPD Sr. Officer Jimmy Fogata, assisted by Councilman Ray Luna. Kelly narrowly won the contest under the watchful eye of area growers.All proceeds of the three-day long event benefits the array of youth programs supported by Kiwanis.Kiwanian was helping Kiwanian with the Bingo Booth, where members of the Camarillo Kiwanis Club helped out to show their appreciation of the Santa Paula club’s generous loaning of the bingo booth for Camarillo events, said Kiwanian Dave Luna.Grant noted that the Push ‘Em-Pull ‘Em Parade on Saturday had more spectators than participants but “it’s new. . .everyone that was there had a great time,” especially following the parade centered on citrus to the Citrus Festival.

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