Category Archives: This ‘n’ That

Earth Day

Yana and a friend enjoying Earth Day. Photos by Yana Khiyod and Patricia Schallert

The Earth Day celebration in the City of Ventura held on April 20th at Plaza Park was an exceptional display of community spirit and environmental consciousness.

Attendees were treated to an array of attractions, including electric cars, eco-friendly activities, live music, sustainable vendors, interactive displays, and captivating performances by local Mexican dance groups and vocalists.

Mia Lopez, embodying her Chumash heritage, bestowed a heartfelt blessing upon the festival’s opening, emphasizing the ongoing efforts for a better Ventura. Mayor Joe Schroeder echoed “the significance of embracing Mother Earth and promoting unity amidst diverse lifestyles is important.”

The event served as a unified platform for acknowledging the past and collectively moving forward towards a greener, more sustainable future. It was a celebration that left a lasting impact on the community, igniting a shared commitment to environmental stewardship.

150 Artisans Will Display Their Designs At 38th Annual California Strawberry Festival

Nicole Dembowich of NZ Designs Studio is creating mugs for the festival.

Artisans from California and beyond will display their creations at the 38th Annual California Strawberry Festival, May 18 and 19 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura (10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura, CA 93001).

Known for its array of strawberry-themed food and beverages, the festival has also established itself as one of the top destinations for unique and eclectic artistic designs. Many of the 150 crafters at the festival incorporate strawberries into their paintings, woodwork, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, specialty foods, furniture, children’s toys and photography. “While strawberries are the main attraction, festivalgoers often head straight to the arts and crafts booths to check out what’s new,” says Dana Hale-Mounier, director of Pacific Fine Arts Festivals and coordinator of the festival’s arts and craft booths.

For Britney Mendoza, this will be the first time she will be displaying her candle designs at the festival. “The California Strawberry Festival is very nostalgic for me,” says Mendoza, who began her Thirty Four Charms business nearly a decade ago. “My family would attend all the time when I was a kid growing up in Oxnard. Spring is officially here when I see the festival come to town.”

Paul Crabtree, owner of Colorburst Studios, will display earrings (including strawberry designs), barrettes, necklaces and bracelets made from Niobium and Titanium.

Nicole Dembowich of NZ Designs Studio is creating mugs, berry bowls, sponge holders, trinket trays, pitchers, olive oil bottles, serving trays, butter dishes, garden stakes and more that will all be strawberry-themed. This will be Dembowich’s third year participating at the festival.

The California Strawberry Festival, which attracts 50,000 visitors over two days, features more than 50 food and beverage booths, many with a strawberry dish or drink made from fresh strawberries. Other attractions include live entertainment on multiple stages, Strawberryland for Kids, carnival rides, a Ninja Nation obstacle course and a $5 “build-your-own” Strawberry Shortcake Experience.

Festival general admission is $15, active military with ID and family and seniors 62 and over, $10, youth ages 5 to 12, $8, and children 4 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at or upon entry to the festival. A limited amount of parking is available onsite for $20 per vehicle.

Festival-goers are encouraged to use the free shuttles, which will run every 15 minutes to the festival from nearby locations in Oxnard and Ventura. Festival hours are 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

For more about the festival visit or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

The Bookmark About Libraries and Friends

by Mary Olson

California State University, Channel Islands Broome Library Lecture Series
Faculty from disciplines across the CSUCI campus participate in these unique and informal lectures at local libraries throughout the county as a way to engage with the broader public and participate in community outreach. Events are free and open to the public.
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
Hill Road Library Tuesday, May 7, 5:00 pm
Ojai Library Wednesday, May 8, 6:00 pm
Shakespeare’s plays are known world-wide and have shaped our languages and literary imaginations for centuries. But is Willam Shakespeare truly the author of the works we know as “Shakespeare’s”? English Professor Bob Mayberry will host a presentation and discussion of the myths, legends, and theories surrounding the authorship of what we know as “Shakespeare” as part of the Broome Library Lecture Series. Professor Mayberry has taught classes on English, poetry, composition, swearing, and even baseball literature during his 16 years at CSU-CI,
Hill Road Library is located at 1070 S. Hill Road, Ventura. For additional information,
contact Linda Cherry, Hill Road Librarian, at [email protected]
Ojai Library is located at 111 East Ojai Avenue in Ojai. For additional information,
contact Ron Solórzano, Regional Librarian, at (805) 218-9146 or [email protected].

Get a Vehicle Day Use Pass for California State Parks at your library.
In partnership with California State Parks and the California State Library, free State Parks vehicle-day use passes are available for circulation to help Californians access beautiful parks, lakes, beaches, and monuments in the State Parks system free. The Library Parks Pass is valid for vehicle day use at 200+ participating state park units of the California State Park System operated by State Parks. The pass is not valid for per-person entry or tour fees (such as museums), boat use, group use or sites, special events, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use or for supplemental fees. Passes circulate for 21 days and are renewable if no other customers are waiting. For more information, go to or call 805 626-READ.

The Ventura Friends of the Library Bookstore in E.P. Foster Library
2nd Look Books is now open 7 days a week,Monday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sundays, 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
New donations arrive every week and the stock in our store is regularly refreshed.
We also invite you to visit our online bookstore for local sales for unique items, including Manga, Vintage, Art and Architecture. Find the link at our website: Orders are picked up at our bookstore in E.P. Foster Library, 651 East Main Street, Ventura.
With our extended hours, we could use more volunteers to staff the store. If you would like to help, please stop by the store and speak to a volunteer or email [email protected].

Vol. 17, No. 16 – May 1 – May 14, 2024 – Ojai News & Events

Local Ojai Author Catherine Ann Jones will visit the Ojai Library at 2pm on Saturday, May 25, to give a talk on her book East & West: Stories of India.

East & West is a captivating book, in which contrasting and complementary aspects of Indian culture are explored through stories of seekers, stories of ordinary Indians, and stories of heroes, frauds, and victims. R.E. Mark Lee, author of World Teacher: The Life and Teachings of J. Krishnamurti, writes that:

“In the best tradition of storytelling in India, this new book by Catherine Ann Jones is a modern classic. Seemingly covering the entirety of Indian culture, values, current events, and philosophy, the fifteen stories in her collection will long be treasured for capturing the ethos of the twenty-first century. In spite of the 114th sloka of the Dharma Shastra that intones ‘The essence of dharma is hidden and elusive,’ it is true that the Catherine Ann Jones dharma is storytelling.”

Description automatically generated with medium confidence Catherine Ann Jones has played major roles in over fifty productions on and off-Broadway, later becoming an award-winning playwright. To learn more about Catherine Ann Jones, visit

This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Ron Solórzano, Regional Librarian, at (805) 218-9146 or [email protected].

The Ojai Library is located at 111 East Ojai Avenue in Ojai, CA. Hours of service are 10am to 8pm Monday through Thursday and 12pm to 5pm Friday through Sunday.

Dear Valued OACT Community and Theater Enthusiasts,

As spring sweeps the valley, our stage switches from one show to the next! Step into an exciting world of live theatrics with our latest offering, One Acts, directed by Steve Grumette. This is a special event to benefit the 85th Anniversary of the Ojai Art Center, and promises to be an unforgettable evening of drama, laughter, and introspection. This short run of performances will play weekends from May 3rd to May 19th in our cozy theater, with a vibrant showcase of compelling one-act plays that explore the nuances of human relationships and personal journeys.

Under the direction of Steve Grumette and Ashley Osler, a dynamic cast featuring Lynn Van Emmerik, Buddy Wilds, Anna Kotula, and Steve Grumette will bring these stories to life. It promises to be an evening that is as enriching as it is entertaining!

Vol. 17, No. 16 – May 1 – May 14, 2024 – Community Events

Events by Ana Baker

Ventura Senior Men’s Group meets from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Poinsettia Pavilion. Any man who considers himself in the “senior” category (and many who don’t) might benefit from a visit to the Ventura Senior Men’s Group.  Buffet luncheon with interesting speakers and good friends. Your first lunch is free. We talk about everything except religion and politics. Eligible to all men 50 plus.

Call Tom at 805-657-1071 for more information or visit to find out who our speakers will be.

Wanna Play Bridge? Join us for ACBL-sanctioned duplicate bridge games every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 12:30 p.m. All levels of play, and we will guarantee to have a partner for you if you need one. Lessons are available. Contact: Richard 805-850-8011, Rose 805-659-9223, or [email protected]. All Welcome.

The Ventura County Philatelic Society’s meetings are held every first and third Monday of the month at the Church of the Foothills, Ventura. Meetings start at 7:30 p.m. A website with more information can be found at

Monthly Beach Cleanup First Saturday of every month! Meet your neighbors and help keep our beach looking fresh. Hosted by Pierpont Beach Community Council in partnership with Surfrider. Meet up at the end of Seward near the beach. (1140 S Seward St) 8:30-10:30 a.m. Arrive any time during the timeframe. Fun for the whole family! Supplies provided BYO water.

Paws for Reading brings together young readers and affectionate canine listeners to help boost the confidence of beginning readers. Hill Road Library, Wednesdays, 3:30 – 5 p.m. and E.P. Foster Library, Thursdays, 4 – 5:30 p.m. Join PAWS dogs for one-on-one reading sessions. Arrive at the library early to choose a book and get in line to read to a special pooch. Children of all ages are welcome.

May 5: Open house tours of the 1892 Dudley Historic House Museum will take place on Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m. We will also have an exhibit of our award-winning Ventura County Fair display, “Times in the Life of the Dudley Family” in our Community Room. Admission is free. The museum is located at the corner of Loma Vista and Ashwood Streets (197 N. Ashwood). For information please call (805) 642-3345 or visit the website at

May 14: The San Buenaventura Women’s Club will be meeting at the Poinsettia Pavilion at 12 noon for lunch, program and meeting. New officers for the term 2024-2026 will be inducted. and member achievements will be recognized.  Lunch is $25. Reservations may be made with [email protected].  

June 22: The “Ventura High School Class of 71 Turns 71” Reunion will be held on June 22,2024, at the Pierpont Raquet Club (500 Sanjon Rd. Vta) from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, and light appetizers will be served.

Please RSVP by June 1st to: [email protected]

$50 per person-payment information to follow your RSVP

July 20 & July 21: As part of the 50th Reunion of the Ventura High School Class of 1974, we are organizing an all-inclusive Combined Reunion with the VHS Classes of 1973 and 1975 and the St. Bonaventure and Buena Classes of 1973, 1974 and 1975. The unique and major event is scheduled from 2-7 pm Sunday, at the iconic Tony’s Pizzaria.

Our traditional reunion with just our class is scheduled Saturday, July 20, from 5-9 pm at historic Ventura City Hall.

“The doubles sweep was huge”

Ventura College men’s tennis team had a picture-perfect ending. Photo by Larry Gleeson 

On a picture-perfect day for tennis, the Ventura College men’s tennis team had a picture-perfect ending to their 2024 season with a 5-0 sweep over American River College from Sacramento in the 3C2A State Championship at the VC Tennis Center. Julian Tellez clinched the winner for the Pirates (18-6) in No. 4 singles after Rafael Matias had recorded a love and love win in the No. 2 slot. The title is the third for VC under longtime head coach Nelson Emery, their first since 2010.

The match was much closer that the final score indicated, especially in doubles play.

ARC’s No. 2 doubles pair held a 3-2 advantage over Matias and Tellez and their contest was tied 5-5 before the Pirates rallied to win three straight games to capture the first point of the championship, 8-5.

Court 3 was tied 2-2 before VC’s Robinson Pelluault and Edgar Ploquin took over by winning the next four games. Ventura won the contest 8-3 to go ahead 2-0.

Cody Ray Emery and Lucas Abreu took a 4-1 lead in the No. 1 doubles match for the Pirates before the Beaver’s duo came storming back to tie the score at 4-4. Both teams held serve until Ventura broke for a 7-5 advantage. ARC held on their next serve before Emery and Abreu posted the 8-6 victory to put the Pirates comfortably ahead, 3-0.

“The doubles sweep was huge,” said VC’s coach Emery. “I thought if we could get two doubles, we could split singles. We won all three.”

Buoyed by their sweep in doubles, the Pirates took full control in singles play as they won the first set in all six matches. Matias was the first to finish singles with his 6-0, 6-0 victory in the No. 2 slot to put VC on the precipice of the title. Soon thereafter, Tellez watch an ARC shot sail long as he completed his 6-2, 6-0 triumph at No. 4, clinching the crown for Ventura.

“This is why I’m here,” said Tellez, a product of Taft High School in Woodland Hills. “This is what I’ve been working for. It was state title time.”

The championship was extra special for Cody Ray, Ventura’s No. 1 player and the son the VC head coach.

“It feels awesome to win, especially with my dad,” said the younger Emery. “It’s crazy how things worked out.”

Coach Emery echoed the sentiments of his players.

“We played, we battled, (we’re a) bunch of fighters,” said Coach Emery, who has led VC to 12 State Final Fours in his 26 years at the helm of the Pirates’ ship. “We’ve had more talented teams, but this team had the toughness.”

The Pigs of the SS Kalorama

The smell of barbecues filled ventura.

by Richard Senate

In the days before the coming of the railroad, and paved roads, the only dependable means of transportation in Ventura was by sea. The Ventura Pier was built in 1872 so ships could land here to take on cargo and passengers.  But, the plan was to have breakwater to make landing at the pier safe but the breakwater was never built (too expensive). Ships had to  come in at their own risk, especially in the winter months when tides could change and storms come in fast off  the  Channel Islands.

On February 25th, 1876, the coastal steamer SS Kalorama came in to take on a cargo of pigs. As she was leaving the pier, an errant wave hit the ship and sent her into the beach. Here the pounding waves slowly broke the ship apart. Her cargo of frightened pigs escaped, leaping into the water and swimming for shore. and then into the community!  The crew of the stricken ship tried to recapture the animals but only a few were caught. The rest ran up California Street and into all neighborhoods of Ventura.

People came out of their houses to catch the pigs, rich and poor, all took part in the wild adventure. The escaping porkers were rounded up only to vanish into barns and back yards, never to be returned to their rightful owners.   It is said that when summer came, the smell of barbecues filled the town and most citizens feasted on pork ribs. It was a festive July 4th that year.  

Some enterprising Venturans risked their lives by going out to the wreck and pulling off souvenirs and mementos from the wrecked ship.  The Ventura County Museum of Art and History has some of the artifacts from  the SS Kalorama in its collection. One of the downtown streets was named Kalorama for the lost ship. Two other streets are named for ships that were beached here and lost, the schooner Ann and steamer Crimea.

The Hollywood Jazz Orchestra is coming

The Hollywood Jazz Orchestra (HJO), which has performed in premier L.A. Jazz venues like Catalina’s and LACMA, is bringing their eclectic mix of new and relevant music to Ventura for the first time. The 18-piece Orchestra is led by conductor, composer, arranger Charley Harrison, who has also directed UCLA Jazz Orchestra since 2004. Over the years, Harrison has had compositions and arrangements performed by jazz greats like Kurt Elling, Marcus Miller, Cedar Walton, Joe Williams and The Count Basie Orchestra.

“I’m excited for the upcoming HJO performance at The Grape as it provides an opportunity to showcase the virtuosity and versatility of the HJO musicians” says Harrison. “We will be featuring new music from our composers and arrangers that highlight the breadth of the HJO repertoire”

The nucleus of HJO were members of the Buddy Collette Big Band formed in the mid-2000’s during the saxophone legend’s later years. After rejoining forces with many new performers in 2022, the new Orchestra (featuring many younger members) made it’s debut at Catalina’s in Hollywood and later headlined at LACMA and the Rochester International Jazz Festival in New York. Its arrangers include Harrison, Tom Garling, Nick DePinna, Conrad Herwig and Bob Mintzer. Among its storied, in-demand musicians: Justo Almario, Gerry Pinter, Clayton Cameron, Les Benedict, Ian Vo, Randall Willis, Anne King, Ann Patterson and Brian O’Rourke.

Until recently a resident of Ventura, David Payne, HJO’s Executive Director, says “We’ve played sold out concerts at important traditional venues but we’re looking to bring the orchestra to venues where big bands seldom play. We’re trying to change the public perception of big band concerts.

Tickets for the Thursday May 23 concert are on sale now: $20 online at; $25 at the door. The Grape’s mid-town address: 2733 E. Main St.