New life in Old Town
Classic cars, pinup girls, food trucks, live music, a farmers market, street performers, and a mechanical bull — Santa Clarita, Calif., residents are finding any or all of those items each week at “Thursdays @ Newhall” events in the streets of the Old Town Newhall historic district. Organized by the city, the attractions have drawn thousands of residents to the area over the last year, reintroducing many to the neighborhood to sample its restaurants, shops and new businesses.
Serving as one of the main gateways into Santa Clarita, which is located 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Old Town Newhall dates back to the 1870s and been undergoing redevelopment since 1997. The city’s efforts to transform the area into an arts and entertainment district have attracted two performance theaters, several new restaurants and shops, and a Walk of Western Stars, which pays tribute to the men and women of film, the arts, and entertainment who honor the West.
To help draw attention to Old Town, last June, staff from Santa Clarita’s Arts & Events, Community Services, Communications, and Economic Development divisions began organizing free weekly street fairs. A farmers market anchors the events each Thursday, and twice a month, themed events — such as beach parties, Western-themed evenings with line dancing and bull-riding, toga parties, and 1950s-inspired rockabilly nights — create a night-club atmosphere. This month’s “Art of the Tattoo” art-themed evening will include demonstrations by local artists, a fashion show, photo shoots, and live music by a local punk rock band.