Santa Paula Times

Kids Discovery Day will kick off 5th Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival

July 20, 2012
Santa Paula News

A reality based farm experience for children will put the citrus in the 5th Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival with Agriculture Discovery Stations on the first day of the July 27-28 event, according to Ag Alley creator Mary Maranville.

Kids Discovery Day will be Friday, July 27 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the festival (which closes Friday and Saturday at 11:30 p.m.) held at Limoneira Soccer Fields. 

Maranville spoke about Kids Discovery Day at the July Chamber of Commerce sponsored Good Morning Santa Paula, held at the Glen Tavern Inn.

Maranville said she is “thrilled” with all the activities in Santa Paula and that her hometown of Ojai “can’t keep up with you.”

She created Ag Alley about four years ago “When I came up with the idea to having an agriculture education program,” that provided children with a “farm-based experience,” such as her own.

After meeting with Limoneira President/CEO Harold Edwards and Marketing Director John Chamberlain - also the chamber’s president - Maranville said the program was launched at Limoneira Ranch.

“Since that time I’ve seen about 5,000 kids in classrooms and taken about 4,000 kids through Limoneira... word has gotten out,” and caught the interest of parents many who now attend the programs.

Now called 21st Century Farming & Agriculture, the program also includes the science of growing crops among other educational features of agriculture, of which Ventura County is a statewide leader.

“I talk to them about uses of onion juice, including as an alternate energy, Limoneira’s Solar Field, beneficial insects... I am most proud of how the community rallied around me,” enabling the program to be provided free to schools.

Said Maranville, “This year you can imagine how thrilled I was,” when Balloon Festival founder and organizer Carla Edwards asked her to stage the Agricultural Discovery Stations after she interviewed “soccer moms” who asked for such a program.

Featured will be a Citrus Orchard Tour, highlights of Ventura County’s top crops, It’s Hanging Hydroponics, Slugs & Snails Beneficial Insects, Plant A Seed, green waste recycling, water conservation, bio-fuel and Can You Guess? Plant Identification.

In the Ag Alley each participant will have a booth highlighting their expertise in their specific area and Maranville will be conducting the orchard tours at Teague McKevett Ranch each hour.

Kids Discovery Day will offer children a chance to discover not only agriculture but also all about hot air ballooning and pilots (and don’t forget to get those pilot trading cards and autographs!) as well as how hot air balloons work, balloon powered helicopters, balloon dart games, the Gondola Challenge, and ballooning history, among others.

Kids Discovery Day will also feature more fun with stage shows, dancing, water balls, youth cardio-boxing and Zumba, carnival, face painting, Jolly Jumps and inflatable slides, Citrus Bowling & Baseball and tons of other activities that will create a day of fun with fascination.

On Friday’s Kids Discovery Day there are special prices for admission: Kids 7 and younger are FREE and it’s only $5 for an Adult/Youth (8-14) Combo Ticket.

Gates to the festival will open at 6:30 a.m. both days and weather permitting tethered rides will be available starting at 7 a.m. 

Weather permitting each evening there will be a Sunset Glow when the hot air balloons are tethered and illuminated for a spectacular and singular experience that creates a lifetime memory. 

For more information visit