Intro Text

Press Contact: Malei Weir, Mooncatcher
Communications, 805.344.6620;
fax: 413.683.9450;

1920s-style soda fountain and restaurant with charming décor and old-fashioned fare opens at Ventura Harbor
"It's like stepping back into the 1920s," says Lowell Britton, owner of The Parlor, a new soda fountain and restaurant at Ventura Harbor Village. Indeed, from marble-covered counter tops and tables to elaborate tin ceiling tiles, classic fixtures and a checkerboard floor, this place has a serious "Normal Rockwell" vibe. The décor largely consists of Britton's ice cream memorabilia that he has collected for years. But The Parlor is not just about looks. While patrons enjoy the sounds of an antique player piano complete with drums, a cymbal and a glockenspiel, the yummy comfort of all-American fare such as fried boloney, fried egg sandwiches and old-fashioned soda fountain favorites, really keeps people coming back. "Our hamburgers, 'pup dogs,' tri-tip and chicken sandwiches are all fairly priced for families," says Britton. And, he strongly recommends that you save room for dessert! Contact Malei Weir at 805-344-6620.

New beachside full-service Marriott opens in Ventura late January 2003
Every corner of Ventura's old Clarion Hotel has been gutted and transformed into a stunning new full-service Marriott. The property, which was purchased by Remington Hotels, Inc., will be finished in late January 2003 when the new name, "Marriott Ventura Beach Hotel" officially takes effect. The renovation included work on five ballrooms that each can seat 580 people for dinner, as well as four boardrooms that have been outfitted with leather executive chairs, glass tabletops, big-screen televisions and high-speed internet access. A business center is also available for guests. Each of the 286 guest rooms features down-filled duvet covers, voicemail and high-speed internet access. A new restaurant and lounge called Café Pacifico is also opening. Contact Malei Weir at 805-344-6620,

Classic labels from old wooden fruit and vegetable crates are now "Art of Agriculture" exhibit "A Package Deal: The Art of Agriculture" comes to the Ventura County Museum of History & Art March 9 through May 25. Created by the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, this original exhibit shows examples of the colorful lithographed paper labels that were pasted to wooden fruit and vegetable crates from the 1880s through the 1940s. Initially designed and produced during an era practically devoid of color advertising, these fanciful labels were highly seductive point-of-purchase advertising tools in their day.

Historic mission and Perry Mason's courthouse host Ventura Chamber Music Festival in May
This revitalized city by the sea will celebrate its bustling cultural district with big names in intimate settings, as world-class music and charming venues set the scene for the ninth-annual Ventura Chamber Music Festival May 1 - 11, 2003. An increasingly popular destination for both artists and patrons, Ventura continues to draw talent of national and international stature to the intimate, historic venues of this laid back, seaside city located 27 miles south of Santa Barbara and 60 miles north of Los Angeles. The 10-day, 14-concert Festival features violinist-composer Mark O'Connor, who the New York Times calls, "one of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music." Another highlight is the Colorado String Quartet, which is recognized on four continents as one of the finest string quartets in the world. Themed "New Beginnings," the Festival will showcase composers such as Handel, Beethoven and Schoenberg, who, from the depths of loss and despair, regenerated their spirit and talent to give the world musical masterpieces.

"Chocolate Decadence Body Treatments" at Ventura's Pierpont Inn allow guilt-free indulgence
Chocolate is not all about calories and guilt. According to Diane Loring, owner and operator of Spa by Diane Loring at Ventura's Pierpont Inn & Racquet Club, cocoa is an antioxidant that also increases blood circulation? making it an ideal component to her new Chocolate Decadence Body Treatments. Spa treatments and products now available at this Historic Hotels of America property are a great way to get through the winter. "Our Chocolate Contour Body Wrap is a totally unique experience that detoxifies and balances excess body fluids while coating clients in a silky smooth 'Chocolate Fondue,'" said Loring. Indeed, sessions at the historic Pierpont Inn's stunning seaside property begin with a Chocolate Mineral Buff, which gently exfoliates the entire body. Next, the aroma of chocolate captivates your senses as a mixture of fine sea salt, cocoa, vitamin C and Chocolate Body Syrup is rubbed into your skin. And since every indulgence should be topped with a dollop of whipped cream, the treatment finale features an application of Chocolate Whipped Cream Body Lotion. "It's totally non-fattening and fun, with excellent results in smoothing, firming and contouring your body," said Diane. Contact Malei Weir, 805-344-6620,

New owners putting millions into downtown Ventura's Clock Tower Inn An ideal location is not the only thing going for downtown Ventura's Clock Tower Inn these days. Now under new ownership, the 50-room historic property near Mission Park has undergone a thorough renovation. While the building's landmark clock tower, courtyard and lush gardens have been revitalized, the South Western interior design and the lobby amenities have been refreshed. High speed internet access is now available in all guest rooms and meeting rooms, and all guest rooms have been recently refurbished. Within walking distance of the beach and downtown, this lower to mid-priced property is a real value. Phone Malei Weir at 805-344-6620.

Talent from Broadway and Hollywood continue to perform at Ventura's Rubicon Theatre Company
Ventura's emerging cultural district continues to gain momentum with big talent in the intimate setting of its 1920s church-turned-stage theater. Actress Linda Purl stars in "A Street Car Named Desire," which runs April 26 through May 25. Emmy Award-winning actress Susan Clark stars in "Dancing at Lughnasa" February 26 - 28 and March 1 - 30, 2003. This magical memory play follows an Irish man long gone from his native land as he recalls the characters who shaped his life. For more information contact Malei Weir, 805-344-6620,

More than 15,000 to flood streets of Ventura for "Spring ArtWalk Festival" on April 26
As each of Ventura's tri-annual ArtWalk events seems to gain more momentum than the last, the city is celebrating its burgeoning arts scene and cultural renaissance with its downtown "Spring ArtWalk" on April 26 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. More than 150 artists will exhibit their work throughout 60 merchant, studio and gallery locations. It doesn't matter what they normally sell - Ventura shops will be papered in paintings, prolific with pottery, draped in designs and swirling in sculpture. Outside, food vendors, musicians and dancers will fill the streets with entertainment. A number of ArtWalk "prelude" events are also scheduled. For a complete event listing and more information contact Malei Weir at 805-344-6620,