Santa Paula Times

Moonlight at the Ranch III proved to be a true “Out of This World” experience when about 1,000 guests visited Limoneira Ranch, AKA Area 51, to show their spacey support of the Santa Paula Police and Fire Foundation and Chamber of Commerce. Cynthia Davis dressed for an “Out of the World” evening, as did many guests.

Moonlight at the Ranch III proves to be truly ‘Out of This World!’

August 26, 2009
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesMoonlight at the Ranch III proved to be a true “Out of This World” experience when about 1,000 guests visited Limoneira Ranch, AKA Area 51, to show their spacey support of the Santa Paula Police and Fire Foundation and Chamber of Commerce. With this year’s celebration of all things sci-fi, Moonlight brought out the best and brightest from throughout the universe, from Star War storm troopers and Star Trek Tribbles to Coneheads and space cowboys and cowgirls.Guests knew they were in for a night of fun when they approached the “Out of This World!” ticket counters listing flights to Jupiter as well as other outer space venues, and underwent a security check to make sure they weren’t carrying anti-space-fun contraband. A stroll through the extraterrestrial and educational Ventura County Health Care Agency’s decontamination tent past fallen space aliens needing some down-home Earth care led to live heroes and villains of space.Once officially greeted by Queen Galaxia, guests enjoyed the ambiance of real life film props of the out of this world variety, generously lent to the event by Universal Studios, Aero Mock-Ups, Amblin Entertainment, Norton Rocket Sales, Apex Electronics, Global Effects and Lindsey Excavating & Grading. Santa Paula Chevrolet’s sleek 2009 Camaro was tailor-made for men in black, but held a space traveler peering back at the curious crowd.The Return of the Lost Squadron - i.e. Bruce Dickenson in his own built “Mr. Dickenson,” a 1940s replica Howard, and David Wattson and Diane Deanda flying Moths from the 1930s - received a joyous welcome home as they flew over the ranch. Later Janice Dickenson, obviously outer space royalty, led her earthling pet, husband Bruce, by a leash through the party.Virginia Gunderson, outfitted for “My Fair Lady,” said she was kidnapped by theater loving aliens while on stage, while the family of Arthur and Anita Pulido were all eyes - and we mean extra eyes - for their night of sci-fi entertainment.“It’s a wonderful party for a wonderful cause,” said Limoneira President/CEO Harold Edwards, who came as himself; but reports from space were that he purchased Mother Ship Communicators, i.e. head boppers that were available for sale. Flashing Moonlight glasses for earthly beverages were also available, but there were enough LED lights worn by guests and provided by twinkle lights and shooting from sabers and ray guns to illuminate the blackest hole.With a crowd countdown at 7 p.m., guests blasted off and were teleported to a world of out of this world food from dozens of regional restaurants and luscious wines, all for the tasting. Prominently displayed in the back was The Time Car ala “Back to the Future,” as well as a full faux moon hanging low but shining bright over the orchards.“This is my first Moonlight,” said Ventura County DA Greg Totten. “It’s wonderful... and I’ll be back next year!”“The operative word I’m hearing most often tonight is fun,” said Chamber President/CEO and Moonlight Co-Commander John Blanchard. “People are having fun tonight, and hundreds of smiling faces make all the work so worthwhile. I’ve heard some very preliminary dollar numbers, and they are encouraging.”And, Blanchard noted, “Hopefully, when all the receipts are counted, we’ll be able to write a very large check to the Police & Fire Foundation. We are so grateful to people from all over for continuing to support this great event.”
Honorary Chairman Buzz Aldrin was unable to make the event - he was accepting a technical Emmy award on behalf of NASA - but a statue wearing one of his flight suits was a popular stop for space tourists who wanted to snap a photograph with the second man on the moon.And speaking of Men on the Moon, the crowd danced up a meteor storm when the popular band took to the stage for a show that included lasers and plenty of space rock ‘n’ roll. From light sabers and green makeup, blue wigs and Coneheads to ray guns, everyone, even the most staid earthlings, got into the Moonlight mania that drew guests from Ventura and Los Angeles counties.Also celebrated was the wonderful array of raffle items, including a Princess Cruise stateroom to Victoria, B.C. and the one item only special silent auction of the Mobley Beach House.Co-Space Commanders Police Chief Steve MacKinnon and Blanchard were delighted with the results.“Another spectacular Moonlight at the Ranch,” said Blanchard. “I heard so many of our guests say it was the best one yet, and they pleaded with us to keep a wonderful tradition going.... Limoneira Ranch looked spectacular, the food was ‘Out of This World!’ delicious, the dance floor packed from the band’s first song, and it was proven once again that the best parties in the county take place in Santa Paula.”Blanchard gave “special thanks to my co-chair, Chief Steve MacKinnon, whose extraordinary leadership abilities ensured that our 10 committees and over 100 volunteers stayed on track and motivated. It was a huge effort” that took nine months to ensure it would have a successful takeoff. “Just constructing the futuristic centerpieces” that bounced dazzling light onto silver Mylar tablecloths “took 10 volunteers over four hours!”“The weather was perfect, everyone had a great time and everyone,” noted Co-Commander Chief MacKinnon, “was safely returned to Earth after splashdown. How could this not have been a great event?”And everyone agreed: “All throughout the evening all I heard was ‘Santa Paula puts on such great events!’ And with all this support, the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation will have the funds to further support public safety and our community. Thanks to all!”