If you go
What: Camarillo Fiesta
When: 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Ventura Boulevard in Old Town Camarillo
More information: www.camarillofiesta.org
Mike Morgan is excited about his second job. The Camarillo City Council member is this year's Camarillo Fiesta president and CEO, and the stacks of paper on his desk and his full email inbox don't frustrate him; they make him smile.
"We've gone through a lot of transitions since fiesta started," Morgan said. "It started with a few booths behind the community center, and now we close down Ventura Boulevard. But the community has really responded, and it's a popular event."
This year's fiesta will feature 176 vendor booths and "every kind of food and beverage you can think of," Morgan said. Local businesses, arts and crafts vendors and agencies such as the Ventura County Disaster Assistance Response Team and the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District will have booths. A beer garden will be set up near Dizdar Park.
The event is primarily a fundraiser for Camarillo public school arts programs, and Morgan said all proceeds go the schools. "We raise enough money to pay for the event, which costs around $70,000, and then we give the schools the rest." Morgan said the fiesta board hopes to give more than $20,000 to schools this year.
Fiesta has gotten larger each year. Morgan said this year's event includes at least four new carnival rides, an expanded kids zone and more entertainment than previous years. Bands including the Shoemaker Brothers, Ballet Folklorio, Area 51, La Sienna Orquesta and the Adolfo Camarillo High School jazz band will perform on the Dizdar Park and Fir Street stages.
"We want to attract everyone, not just local residents," Morgan said. "The whole idea is to bring people to Camarillo, to showcase our businesses and who we are."
In past years, the fiesta has met with some skepticism by Ventura Boulevard business owners who didn't like the street being closed during the weekend. "We've been encouraging the owners to really get into it with us and put signs out inviting people in. On fiesta days, there are no signage restrictions," Morgan said.
Camarillo Fiesta will open Thursday with 50-cent carnival rides for people 18 and younger from 5 to 10 p.m. On Friday night, more than 60 unique automobiles will rumble down the boulevard. "We do cruise nights each month, but this one coincides with fiesta and it's a really nice addition," Morgan said.
On Saturday, some of those same cars will be on display on the Arneill Street bridge, alone with a display by the Ventura County Fire and Sheriff's departments and other first responders.
Camarillo Fiesta map
Source: Camarillo Fiesta Association