POPPY FESTIVAL OFFERS SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY.
Music, arts and crafts, a flower garden and market and a carnival are part of the eighth annual California Poppy Festival that marks the state flower's peak blossoming period - which this year isn't very peak.
Jazz musicians, including ``Tonight Show'' band leader Kevin Eubanks, will headline the festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 10 and 11 at Lancaster City Park, 43011 10th St. W.
Kicking off the weekend of music will be the Chris Ho Band performing contemporary jazz at 1:30 p.m. April 10. For the past 10 years, Ho has toured with Smokey Robinson, as well as with jazz artists such as Kilaueea, Pocket Change, Russ Freeman, Phil Perry and Kenny G.
Following Ho will be jazz trumpeter Rick Braun at 3:30 p.m., also performing contemporary-style jazz. Braun has toured with REO Speedwagon, Rickie Lee Jones, Sade, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Glenn Frey, Natalie Cole, Tom Petty, Crowded House, Phoebe Snow, and War.
Gospel singer Frank Graves and the Master's Plan and the Agape Men's Fellowship Choir perform at noon April 11.
The six-piece Bamboo Forest will perform smooth jazz at 2 p.m. April 11. The Southern California band was formed by veteran musicians Steve Reid and Jeff Kashiwa, both former members of The Rippingtons. Reid has also performed with Supertramp as well as doing the sound design for the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge CD-ROM. Kashiwa previously toured with another Southern California group, Feirenheight.
Closing out the weekend of music will be Eubanks, beginning at 4 p.m. April 11. Eubanks has released more than a dozen albums during his 14-year recording career. Before being named the Tonight Show's music director in 1995, Eubanks had toured and recorded with top jazz artists.
Offering a change from the jazz theme of the festival, the South American-style Andean Nation will perform between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. both days. Its instruments include the siku, a flute similar to the pan-flute; a kena, a notched bamboo flute and other native wind instruments as well as European string instruments.
Radio station KUTY AM 1470 will present Musica Mas Caliente from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Local entertainment includes the children's group Jazzy Kids dancers, Lancaster Elementary School's Day Dreamers choir group, Sunshine Generation performance group, Keyboard Magic musical group, Generation of Dancers, Chaparral Elementary Drill Team and Drum Corp, and the A.V. Ballet and the A.V. Square Dancers.
Besides listening to music, festival guests can shop for paintings, pottery, porcelain, clothing, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, glass and other ware created by more than 250 artists and craftspeople from throughout California. Prices will range from $1 to more than $300.
On display will be wildflower paintings by the late Jane S. Pinheiro of Lancaster, one of the prime contributors to the creation of the 1,700-acre Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, 15 miles west of Lancaster.
Flower Garden and Market vendors will display and sell flowers and garden-related items along one of the main walkways near the festival entrance. On sale will be fresh flowers, bedding plants, shrubs and small trees, cactuses, silk and dried flowers, wildflower seeds, garden ornaments, and fountains.
One market attraction is the ``Cactus Ranch'' provided by California Nursery Specialties, one of Southern California's largest suppliers of cactuses and succulents. The highlighted succulents and drought-tolerant plants will be offered for sale from $2 to $4.
Carnival rides include a 55-foot-tall Ferris wheel, 100-foot-long giant slide, a swing ride, the Tempest tub ride, the spinning tornado ride, the Round-Up spin ride and the long-armed octopus ride.
Rides for younger children will include a kid-size roller coaster, the Tubs of Fun spinning cups ride, a mini Ferris wheel with enclosed cages, the Moonbuster jumping booth, a tiny train ride, pirate ride and small car ride.
For aeronautics enthusiasts, the popular helicopter rides have again been included in the lineup of activities. A 5- to 7-minute spin over the festival grounds can be purchased for $15, with longer rides offered at a higher price.
Visitors will also be able to ``rent'' a section of sidewalk to try their hand at creating sidewalk chalk art under the influence of a local floral artist who will create a giant wildflower chalk art drawing.
This year's festival will also play host to a traveling ``Millennium Museum'' trailer, which provides an informative look at how mankind has advanced during the past 1,000 years. A ``Hopes and Dreams Journal'' will give visitors a chance to write a message to future generations concerning hopes for the United States as the new millennium approaches.
The millennium exhibit started traveling the country on Dec. 31, 1998, and will stop in 50 cities, at 35 major events and more than 150 schools before it concludes in December 1999.
More than 25 food vendors will offer a wide variety of foods.
Admission is $6 for ages 13 through 61, $3 for ages 62 and over, and $3 for children 6 through 12. Children under 5 are free. Parking is $2 per car.
For more information, call (661) 723-6077.
CALIFORNIA POPPY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.April 10 and 11
Lancaster City Park, 43011 10th St. W.
11:30 a.m. - West Los Angeles Community Gospel Choir
1:30 p.m. - Chris Ho Band
3:30 p.m. - Jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist Rick Braun
Noon - Frank Graves and the Master's Plan, Agape Men's Fellowship Choir
2 p.m. - Steve Reid's Bamboo Forest 2 p.m.
4 p.m. - Kevin Eubanks
Noon-5 p.m. - Musica Mas Caliente
Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for seniors ages 62 and older and children ages 6 to 12. Parking is $2.
BOX: CALIFORNIA POPPY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (See text)