2017 Lexus Ventura Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K on Sunday, October 22

The 2017 Lexus Ventura Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K are planned for Sunday, October 22. The race course have changed this year and now will be point to point, downhill courses running from Ojai to Ventura. Free waffle breakfast after the race too! Learn more at www.venturamarathon.com.

Additional events planned include Kids Sand Runs and 100, 62 and 30 Mile Bike Rides.

The event is managed by Vendurance Sports, a Ventura County-based running club and event management company aiming to bring high-quality, well-organized and affordable events to the region.

Also in the plans is the Ventura Beach Party 2017 on Saturday, 10/21 from 10am to 6pm and Sunday, 10/22 from 7am to 3pm. Beachfront event will feature local vendors, live music, kids' activities and a craft beer garden next to the Ventura Pier. More at www.venturabeachparty.com.

8th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Ventura March 3-4, 2017

Tickets on sale now for the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy’s 8th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Tickets are on sale now for the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy’s (VHC) 8th annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival (WSFF). Held high on the hill at Ventura’s Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill Rd., on Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4, the WSFF offers audiences the chance to enjoy a series of award-winning short films that celebrate the beauty and bounty of our natural world.

This very popular annual event brings a national tour of award-winning independent short films to Ventura for two nights only. Highlights of this year’s film lineup, which differs each night, include: river rafting with President Jimmy Carter, swimming upstream with a wild salmon, scaling the Seven Summits with a female Bangladeshi adventurer and the hiking 60 miles in Utah’s back country with Genghis Khan, an articulate “desert dawg” and his owner.

In addition to viewing films, attendees also enjoy live music, special guests, popcorn, home baked cookies, food, beer, wine and the chance to win high-end raffle items that include original artwork, outdoor gear, dining-out certificates and more.

Ticket prices are $20 for General Admission or $35 for “Silver Circle” seats. “Silver Circle” tickets include reserved seating plus one drink ticket for a glass of beer or wine. The festival also serves as a membership drive for VHC. For $50, purchasers receive a one-year VHC membership plus two General Admission tickets or for $100, they receive a one-year VHC membership plus two “Silver Circle” tickets.

The WSFF is supported by donations from several local businesses and community organizations. This year’s event sponsors include: Castoro Cellars, City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability, Fletcher Chouinard Designs, For Your Home Furniture, Law Offices of Richard L. Francis and Assoc., Patagonia, Poseidon Brewing Co., Rabobank, Real Cheap Sports, REI, Two Trees Brewing Co., Slaughter, Reagan and Cole, LLC, Ventura Community Bank and Ventura Water.

To purchase tickets, visit www.venturahillsides.org/events. For more information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call VHC at: (805) 643-8044.

The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy is dedicated to preserving and protecting Ventura's hillsides, waterways and wildlife. Founded in 2003, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is supported by over 500 members, local business and government partners. The land trust manages 80 acres of land near the Ventura River and is working toward the purchase of its first hillside property. Further information about the Conservancy is at: www.venturahillsides.org.

Hugs 4 Hearts Festival in Simi Valley on Sunday, May 7, 2017

Hugs 4 Hearts Fest at 1765 Royal Avenue, Simi Valley will have with music, vendors, food, kids stuff and a silent auction. It is Sunday, May 7, from 10 am to 6 pm, Attendance is free. A booth is $50 plus a donation to the charity's silent auction. Harrison Hugs helps place AEDs (automated external defibrillators) in schools and donates them to schools as well. www.harrisonhugs.org

2017 Ventura Hammer Half Marathon and 5K on Sunday, September 3rd

The Ventura Hammer Half Marathon and 5K take place on Sunday, September 3, 2017* at the Ventura USD Facility, 255 W. Stanley Ave, Ventura. Half marathon starts at 8 am, 5K at 8:15 am.

*Event was rescheduled from Feb 12 to Sep 3 in late January.

The course is out and back along a bike path that runs from Ventura to Ojai. The weather is typically cool and the course has no major hills although the first half does have a slight incline so the second half has a slight decline. There will be 4 water stops along the way. The 5K is out and back along the same course. The venue has great parking and the event provides a low key but fun atmosphere with great people and food. All pre-registered half marathon participants will receive a technical running top and all pre-registered 5K runners will receive a free event t-shirt.

Visit www.venturahalf.com to learn more and register.

National Park Service to Host Winter Star Party at Paramount Ranch on January 28th

Winter Star Party Will Feature Night Sky Poster Artist


The National Park Service, in partnership with the Ventura County Astronomical Society, will host its annual Winter Star Party at Paramount Ranch in Agoura on Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

In addition to sky party favorites, such as kids activities and viewing night sky objects through numerous high-powered telescopes, Dr. Tyler Nordgren will give a presentation about astronomy in national parks. Dr. Nordgren, a professor of physics and astronomy at University of Redlands, is well known for his gorgeous retro-style posters of national parks in the dark. His work has been featured by media, such as Wired magazine and National Public Radio.

Dr. Nordgren is also working on a night sky poster featuring Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. A recent study found that light pollution produced within the recreation area, although high, remained relatively steady between 1992 and 2012. Tips on reducing light pollution are available on the website from the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service.

The full schedule for the evening is:

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Kids' Activities

6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.: Stars Above, Earth Below: Astronomy in the National Parks, Dr. Tyler Nordgren

7:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Telescope Viewing

Paramount Ranch is located at 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura.

Rain will cancel the telescope viewing, but will not cancel Dr. Nordgren’s talk or kids activities, which will be located under a covered pavilion.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/samo.

Ojai Studio Artists Second Saturday Open Studios - Free Event on January 14, 2017

The Ojai Studio Artists Second Saturday mini-tours begin on January 14 with four open studios in downtown Ojai. Featured this month are Andrea Haffner, Rex Kochel, Marta Nelson and Iris Williams. Studios will be open from 10am - 3pm. Admission is free, and the studios are all located within a few miles of each other.

With enthusiastic response from the community to the Second Saturday tours, OSA is scheduling mini-tours from January through July. "It gives people a chance to spend some in-depth time with each artist," Ms. Moran says. "With over 60 artists on the October Studio Tour, people really have to pick and choose who to see. This is a more leisurely tour."

A professional artist for the past 18 years, Andrea Haffner's resin cast pieces are unique and delicate. Inspired by the natural form - from yucca capsules to maple samaras, Haffner assembles and suspends bits of natural material in resin colored with transparent dyes. With a background in both photography and glass, light is a primary consideration in her work. Elegant yet abstract, she encases her assemblages within small sterling silver or larger steel frames. She creates jewelry pieces as well as large commissions. Haffner has exhibited extensively across the country and recently completed numerous large-scale commissions for hospitals, hotels and private residences.
After 34 years as an educator in the Ventura School District, Rex Kochel is now a full-time artist. His whimsical style evolved primarily from the use of blind continuous line drawings. He begins his watercolors on location, then continues to modify them in his studio before he begins to paint. His work reflects his travels to Mexico, Peru, Panama, Argentina, as well as time spent in San Francisco and Ventura County. He maintains a strong compositional focus in all of his artwork, frequently moving in the direction of abstract realism. His work can be seen at the new Remax Building in Ventura, for which he created 54 paintings which are part of their permanent collection.

Marta Nelson is a painter, printmaker and sculptor and a founding member of Ojai Studio Artists. A lifelong artist, she won her first art scholarship at 10 years old, and attended her first figure drawing classes at Chouinard Art Institute. She later taught at Bakersfield College, teaching painting and sculpture. Her art often reflects her interest in dance, her garden in Ojai as well as exotic scenes from her travels around the world. Her paintings and prints hang in private collections across the United State, Mexico and Japan. Marta is also deeply committed to the International Peace Movement. Incorporating peace doves in all her work, Marta was instrumental in establishing the first Peace Pole in Ojai.

Iris Williams sees art as a silent language. Her oil paintings are often mischievous and whimsical and also involve some aspect of storytelling. “Art was the agent that allowed me to speak,” she explains. She uses her art to explore her imagination and dreams. In all her work, whether still life, landscape or figurative work, she aims to elicit a feeling of wonder. As co-owner of Ojai Creates along with her husband Kirk Lowry, Williams sells art supplies to the community and has a longtime association with the Ojai Art Center.

A map for the January 14th event can be printed from the OSA website: ojaistudioartists.org. Any changes or additions to the list of artists will be posted there.

Rocky Peak 50K/30K Ultra Trail Race in Simi Valley on Saturday, October 14th

The Rocky Peak Trail Race 50K/30K takes place at Corriganville Park, 700 Smith Road, Simi Valley on Saturday, October 24, 2017.  This was previously the Bandit Ultra Trail Run, which ended in 2016 but was taken over by Trail Run Events in 2017. Pre-registration is a must for these, long, challenging courses! Learn more at http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=41961.