Swap those flip flops for some cowboy boots and mosey on down to the City of Carlsbad's annual Wild West Fest on Saturday, May 17, for a rustic adventure of western themed crafts, salsa contest, root beer tastings, pony rides and mechanical bull riding for kids.
The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will take place at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, located at 6200 Flying L.C. Lane. The park was once a working rancho owned by actor, philanthropist, poet and preservationist Leo Carrillo and is a designated California Historical Landmark.
Admission to Wild West Fest is free, and activity cards can be purchased for $6 for things like pony and mechanical bull rides, souvenir photos with authentically dressed cowboys and cowgirls, and western themed crafts.
Among the event highlights is the salsa contest, which is judged by Chili's, and features prizes for salsa taste as well as table presentation in the following categories: best overall, people's choice, best presentation, funniest presentation, best fruit salsa, hottest salsa and originality.
New this year will be a root beer tasting. For $3 participants can taste five different root beers and then receive a root beer float.
Rachael Shay, special events supervisor, said the event celebrates Carlsbad's rich history.
"Wild West Fest is a step back in time since Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park was once an actual working ranch," she said. "The Wild West is something beach communities like Carlsbad don't often get to experience. It's a fun change of pace that also looks back at the city’s heritage."
The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park was established in the late 1930s by Leo Carrillo and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in addition to being a registered California Historical Landmark. Regular walking tours at the park will be preempted by the event festivities on May 17, but the Hacienda will remain open for tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free parking is available at Carrillo Elementary School.
—City of Carlsbad