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Hometown Tradition Returns

Conejo Valley “Good Old Days” Parade

“You don’t know what you had as a child in your hometown until you go away for awhile, return to where you grew up and find out that a tradition that provided you with wonderful childhood memories is gone,” says Wendy MacLeod, a Conejo Valley resident who is resolved to revive the Conejo Valley Days Parade. The Thousand Oaks tradition was discontinued in 2006 and had been an annual mainstay of CVD dating back to 1957.

“I remember growing up here in the 1970s and 80s and Conejo Valley Days had a kickoff picnic, a chili cookoff, followed by a huge carnival and a rodeo,” MacLeod recalls. “Those events were followed by a fantastic parade, in which everyone dressed in appropriate Old Western attire, including many of the people who worked in the storefronts along the parade route. Our huge procession even included covered wagons. It looked like Little House on The Prairie had exploded!”

Smiling as she reminisced, MacLeod adds, “It was wonderful! I want my daughter and her generation to enjoy this tradition, and with the help of Jimmy Hubbs, Gerritt Beatty and the rest of our team, we’re going to revive the parade and hold it on May 5th!”

MacLeod and Beatty recall watching Donna “Conejo” Fargo, one of the city’s founders, lead the parade in her 1930s red vintage Model A pickup truck, “Queenie.” Fargo was also instrumental in saving the Stagecoach Inn from destruction in 1964, striving to preserve Thousand Oaks' wonderful history.

MacLeod and her ever-strengthening team of committed organizers want to keep Fargo’s spirit alive in the rebirth of the parade. They are restoring Queenie to her original glory, with the help of David Melton and the team at Ogara Coach.

Jimmy Hubbs, who is doing the yeoman’s work of forming a nonprofit organization to fund the event, also fondly recalls participating in the parade.

“The parade was a huge deal for me and my family as we originally had Texas roots and hometown events are part of our being. I grew up in Meadows and always loved the parade. I’m the father of two girls, aged 10 and 13, and I want them to know what it was like in Thousand Oaks when I was young, when it didn’t matter if a person was a millionaire or an ordinary citizen—we all walked in the parade.” Hubbs says. “I walked with my sister and parents and the memories it instilled in me will last a lifetime.

 “Over the years, there has been talk of reviving the parade, but nothing was done. That is, until Wendy started a Facebook group and it just took off from there.”

"Reviving the parade is integral to keeping the identity and legacy of Thousand Oaks alive," says Hubbs.

“As our town has grown from 53,000 residents to its current size, we’ve lost touch of the essence of our town,” he says. “When I was young, the parade brought us all together.”

The Parade Revival team members are dedicated to bringing the exciting community event back with the help of the community, local schools and businesses.

“We’ll even have one of the Corrigan's Steakhouse Wagons which will be pulled along in the parade as well; their wagons have been in a lot of Westerns over the years,” he says, adding that Westerns are both a part of Thousand Oaks’ cultural heritage as well as his own family’s history. “My Grandpa James Dougherty was friends with both John Wayne and Ronald Reagan.”

Team member and local resident Gerritt Beatty also views the parade revival as integral to keeping the spirit of Thousand Oaks’ legacy alive.

“Thanks to COVID, we have all become too disconnected from one another. The strength of a society is determined by the community they build. In the past, the Conejo Valley Days Parade was a way for the people of Thousand Oaks and the surrounding neighborhoods to come together and celebrate our own little slice of paradise here in Ventura County,” Beatty says. “Our committee wants to recapture that and make it available once again for the citizens of Conejo Valley. COVID and fear may have separated us, but like the Phoenix, the spirit of the people in this valley is resilient enough to rise again to the levels we enjoyed with the parade more than a decade ago. Let’s bring back the parade!”

MacLeod and the team encourage everyone in Thousand Oaks to get involved by participating in or sponsoring the event. MacLeod proudly announced that Mikey Taylor, Thousand Oaks City Councilperson, promised to be the first parade sponsor.

“We have $30,000 promised to us from a number of generous donors!” MacLeod says. “The parade is an inclusive event and we are inviting members of our indigenous community to be in the parade, and we are asking former Miss Conejo Valley beauty queens to participate as well, including those from Ventura, Thousand Oaks and Westlake. So far, we’ve located 10 of the beauty queens who want to be in the parade. One of them is even traveling from Colorado to do so!”

To get involved, visit the