TEHACHAPI — Tehachapi’s Mountain Festival had something for everyone, no matter if you are looking for a piece of art, or wanting to see a parade, car show or rodeo — activities were jam-packed this past weekend.
Mountain Gallop Run
The Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District set off the day early with the annual 5K and 10K Mountain Gallop, in which 139 people registered to run the streets of downtown Tehachapi at 7 a.m. Even small children as young as 6 years old and those participating in the Special Olympics of Southern California started and ended strong.
The more than $5,000 raised will go to youth programs the park district hosts each year, said Ashley Krempien, Recreation Coordinator for TVRPD.
Ryan White, 16, of Tehachapi said, “It’s a pre-season warm-up since cross country season starts Monday. I just wanted to get ahead.”
Mountain Festival Parade
Only a few hours later, mini cars, marching bands, and other acts delighted children and adults; even a helicopter flew overhead starting off the 55th annual Tehachapi Mountain Festival Parade, in which more than 80 floats participated. Visitors and residents set up lawn chairs and waved to participants.
“We came in for the weekend and come almost every year,” said Steve Freni, who has come to Tehachapi for the past 14 years with his wife, Bea. They are not too far away in the San Fernando Valley.
Freni added, “We like the festivities and take in the whole event. We have dinner, stay for the square dancing and parade. We make a good weekend out of it and have a lot of fun.”
Matthew Buckroff, 12, visited Tehachapi from Los Angeles for the first time and said, “It was cool. I liked the mini cars and they were so fast.”
Arts and Crafts Fairs
Art lovers browsed through pictures, metal works, jewelry, kitchenware, soap and other gift ideas at the annual arts and crafts fair at Central Park where more than 100 vendors set up shop to visitors. Even participants from the Tehachapi Martial Arts Center showed demonstrations of kung fu and tai chi at the park.
The Tehachapi Valley Art Association Artisan Festival also hosted vendors along Tehachapi Boulevard.
Some artists used recycled items such as maps, doll parts, sheet music, tin foil and other metal parts for their creations. Teresa Downer, who lives in Los Angeles, makes pictures out of such material.
“My degree is in fashion, but I’ve been hooked into 3D design and mixed media. It gives you a lot to work with,” Downer said.
Tehachapi’s Mountain Festival attracts more than 30,000 visitors each year and brings revenue to the city and surrounding businesses. The Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce annually hosts the fair and mountain festival.
President Ida Perkins said, “We are pleased with the turnout and we have some new vendors too. People seem to be having a good time.”
Tehachapi Valley Gem and Mineral Show
The Tehachapi Valley Gem and Mineral show allowed vendors to come in and show off their wire wrapped jewelry, fossils and colorful gems at the senior center at 500 E. F St. Visitors may also bring in their rocks and gems to get an identification and appraisal.