Long Beach, California, is home to the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific and a host of museums. The Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens is the type of venue that does not have a lot of glitz and glossy advertising. It does, however, have the Spirit of the Harvest Festival.
Scheduled for Sunday, October 27, the historic rancho throws open its doors at noon. Until 4:30 p.m., children and their parents or caregivers are invited to rediscover the local history and have fun doing so. This is not a dreary docent-led annual tour. Instead, this free festival has lots of fun hands-on family-friendly activities on the itinerary.
At 2 p.m., children have the opportunity to participate in a fall harvest costume parade. With Halloween just around the corner, the kids are of course anxious to get the most wear out of their costumes. At the Rancho Los Alamitos, they can parade in their duds and show off the accessories and accompanying special moves to their hearts’ content.
Adults appreciate cowboy band performances. The light and catchy music is always a favorite at this festival. For the more literary-minded attendees, there are cowboy poetry readings and story-telling. Although all the festivities are planned with an eye on being family-friendly, keep in mind that some of the stories might just be a tat too scary for the youngest cowboys and cowgirls.
Trick-roping demonstrations are another crowd pleaser. A petting corral is sure to keep the little ones entertained. The same is true for the pony rides, the sheep shearing demonstration and the barnyard games. Kids and adults learn how to squeeze orange juice the old-fashioned way, taste cotton candy, make ice cream, taste a variety of artisanal cheeses, print with veggies, decorate mini pumpkins and participate in a vegetable scavenger hunt.
This is the type of festival that is less focused on selling you stuff from local artisans and is far more concerned with letting you get a hands-on appreciation of Long Beach’s not all that distant past. Dress for comfort. Since parking in the area can get tricky, the California State University Long Beach (CSULB) has offered lot 11A on the corner of Palo Verde Avenue and Rendina Street for free parking.
Although everything else is free, refreshments must be purchased. The costs are low and the food is yummy. The address of the Rancho Los Alamitos is 6400 Bixby Hill Road in Long Beach 90815. Contact the office at 562-431-3541 for more information.