Celebrating the Cowboy

Melody Ranch makes ready for pardners aplenty.

Ryan Drake

It's rare for a big event to take place in a big venue that perfectly matches its theme and tone. Often a festival is in a park, which is pretty and perfectly reasonable, but the park may have little to do with what the fest is all about.

This is not the case with the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which is spinning a few lassos at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio from Wednesday, April 27 through Sunday, May 1. Even if we were to doff our ten gallon, and mop our brow, and find a log and sit a spell, we'd find it plum difficult to come up with a better marriage of event and place.

Because Melody Ranch? It's about as yippee-ki-yay as spots come in Southern California. Perhaps you're a Gene Autry fan? You know this sprawling, back-lot-y town (because Mr. Autry once owned it, of course). Perhaps you watched "Deadwood"? Several of the false storefronts will be familiar to you.

One might imagine that music and poetry and leatherworking and gold-panning would take on an aura of gold-dusty specialness in such a setting, and one would be right. And one might imagine that something called a Cowboy Festival would be family friendly, and would cover several aspects of cowboy- and cowgirldom, and one would be right again.

And if the words "Chuckwagon Dinners" ring your particular come-and-get-it triangle, you're in luck. There will be food options aplenty at the ranch.

A one-day adult admission is $20. We'd say "git along" as often as possible, once inside. Or fill in your favorite cool cowboy phrase. And don't forget your chaps.

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