Conejo Valley Days, the rip-roaring annual Western festival where businessmen exchange three-piece suits for jeans and cowboy hats, will start this weekend for a nine-day run, with events ranging from a chili cook-off to a carnival and a rodeo.
The celebration of the Old West begins Saturday with a 7:30 a.m. "rabbit run" at California Lutheran University and a 10 a.m. children's parade beginning at the Westlake Auto Center on Thousand Oaks Boulevard.
On Sunday, more than 100 entrants are expected at the chili cook-off, with cooks coming from as far away as Texas and Colorado. The cook-off is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Conejo Creek Park next to the Moorpark Freeway and Janss Road.
Also featured at the cook-off will be the festival's first Cutting Horse Spectacular, where the sport of separating cows from a herd will be demonstrated.
The Conejo Valley Days carnival will open Wednesday at Conejo Creek Park. Various rides and attractions will begin at 5 p.m. The carnival will be open through April 30.
On April 29, the Conejo Valley Days parade will begin at 9 a.m. at the Westlake Auto Center. The final event of the festival will be a Western-style rodeo at Conejo Creek Park at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. April 29. The rodeo will return April 30 at 1 and 4 p.m.
Additional activities include an art contest, a special children's day for mentally and physically handicapped children from the Conejo Valley Unified School District, a ladies Western dress contest and a junior rodeo.