Benedictine Monks Welcome Public to 32nd Fall Festival

The 26 Benedictine monks at St. Andrew’s Priory are welcoming visitors this weekend to their 32nd annual Valyermo Fall Festival near Pearblossom. At the 500-acre ranch in the desert, usually the site of contemplative retreats, the monks will offer priory-raised watermelons, peaches, apples and herbs as well as family fun with games, food, crafts and music.

A special children’s world will have pony rides, a petting zoo with 4-H animals, puppet shows, a bounce ride, clowns, face painting and panning for gold. For parents, there’s a flea market and auction scheduled for both days. Pianos, bikes and trips to Hawaii and Mexico have been donated for the event.

Out on the priory’s pasture (cleared of cows and sheep and “cleaned up” for the occasion), country music bands will play for listening and dancing. Near the Continental Cafe area, classical, Renaissance and ethnic music will be performed.

In addition to wine and food at the cafe, the monks will serve roast-beef dinners under a tent. The Chinese Tea Garden, also serving food, overlooks the lake.


To reach Valyermo, take California 14 (Antelope Valley Highway) to Pearblossom Highway, then drive four miles east to California 138. Follow the signs to the priory. Admission is free; parking is $3. Hours today and Sunday are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Information: (805) 944-2178.


The final film in Paramount Ranch’s “Silents Under the Stars” series is Sunday at 7 p.m. at the ranch’s pavilion. “Lilac Time,” made in 1927 and starring Gary Cooper and Colleen Moore, will be presented with live musical accompaniment. It tells the story of a French girl who falls in love with a World War I flying ace. The ranch will be open early for those wishing to picnic or explore the park before the program begins. For reservations: (818) 888-3770. To reach the ranch, take the Kanan Road exit from the U.S. 101 (Ventura Freeway) south to Sideway Road. Turn right on Cornell Road and drive 2 1/2 miles to the park entrance. Tickets are $6.

Another last-in-the-series event this weekend: The Sunday family workshops at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd. This week’s theme, “Long Ago and Far Away,” focuses on art of the ancient world. Beginning at 1 p.m., there will be special child-parent tours of the ancient art collections, plus poetry-writing and dance workshops, art-in-the-park tables and storytelling by We Tell Stories. The program is free with museum admission ($3 for adults, 75 cents for children). Information: (213) 857-6000.


Historic Rancho Los Alamitos, 6400 Bixby Hill Road, will help celebrate Long Beach’s centennial Sunday with an afternoon of family entertainment. To create a feeling of what life was like on the rancho a hundred years ago, volunteers will lead kids in traditional games: horseshoe tossing, apple bobbing and hopscotch. There will be farm animals to pet and light refreshments will be available. The adobe ranch house, one of the oldest buildings in the city, was built in 1806. The program is free and begins at 1 p.m. Information: (213) 431-3541.

L.A. Parent magazine is celebrating “Day of the Child” today with a kids’ vaudeville-style show at the Westwood Playhouse. J. P. Nightingale will headline the show, which also includes Hubble Hare, Cory the Clown and Whirlie the Clown. The one-hour show begins at 11:30 a.m. and is suitable for preschoolers to sixth-graders. The playhouse is at 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. Tickets are $7. Call for reservations: (213) 208-5454.

Send items at least two weeks before event (Saturday and Sunday events only) to Family Spots, View section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Phone calls will not be accepted. All items must include date, times, exact address, phone number and ticket prices.