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Michele E. Buttelman: Cooking up a prize chili and more

SCV Scene

Posted: August 26, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 26, 2012 2:00 a.m.

It’s the last Sunday in August. How did that happen? What are you doing for Labor Day weekend? I’ll be getting ready for my trip to England and Scotland. I’m still seeking reader suggestions for best “tea” in London and other ideas.

Fun in the Sun

The Fun in the Sun Chili Cook-Off to benefit Santa Clarita Special Olympics will be held at the Jack Bones Equestrian Center, 26983 Tapia Canyon Road in Castaic, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and feature more than 25 chili booths, displays from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, live music on two stages, vendors and a Kids’ Zone with pony rides, bounce house, rock wall and a free painting and coloring tent. Chili cards are $5 for adults, $3 for children 7-14. Info: Tabitha Youngstrom, 661-294-6313 or

Something to cluck about

Merry Graham, Newhall’s recipe queen, has made it into the semi-finals of the Foster Farms Cook-off. She will compete against four other contestants in San Diego on Sept. 7. Two finalists will then head to Napa and compete for $10,000. Foster Farms has given Graham 10 tickets to give away.

She will compete at the Regional Finals of the Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest on Friday, Sept. 7 from 9:30 a.m. – noon at the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Diego.

The first 10 people to send an email to will be added to the exclusive guest list. Guests will enjoy lots of great food and socializing.

The five California semifinalists’ recipes were chosen from more than 1,200 submissions.

Graham as been on a winning streak as well.

Graham’s last win

Merry Graham’s last win was at the Aetna Healthy Food Fight. Bobby Flay judged and Graham’s face was on the marquee in New York City’s Time Square. She won a $10,000 gift card to Ralph’s. That win has qualified Graham to compete in The World Food Championships in Las Vegas on Nov. 1-4. The final prize is $75,000.

Ramona Days

Five years ago the Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark Museum forged a historic partnership with the Ramona Outdoor Play which has been performed in Hemet since 1923. On Sept. 29 performances by the core cast and dancers from the play “Ramona” (the California Official Outdoor Play) will again highlight the annual “Ramona Days” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rancho Camulos Museum in Piru.

In addition to watching vignettes from the play (11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.), visitors can view the 1910 Mary Pickford movie which was filmed on location at Camulos, see unique memorabilia and historic displays, experience living history and attend presentations by Ramona experts. Among the new additions for this year’s festival will be an opportunity to watch and learn the art of flamenco with Sakai Flamenco featuring Linda “La Matadora” Andrade.

Also food, music, a used book sale, art and craft sales and demonstrations, original artwork by local artists, museum and garden tours, free children’s activities and more will be available.

Advance tickets are $5, and gate admission is $10. Children aged 12 and under will be free. Advance tickets can now be purchased in person Sundays from 1-4 p.m. at the museum gift shop, by emailing, calling 805-521-1501 or at will call.

Additional details will be posted at

Vendor, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are also available for this unique event.

All proceeds benefit the historical preservation, restoration, and educational efforts.

Rancho Camulos is located on Highway 126, two miles east of Piru and 10 miles west of the Interstate 5 Newhall Ranch Road exit.

Michele E. Buttelman is the features editor of The Signal. She can be reached by email at Follow SCV Scene on Facebook and on Twitter @SCVScene.


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