The old Carlsbad ranch of movie star Leo Carrillo, famous for his role as “Pancho” in the 1950s TV western “The Cisco Kid,” will be home to a Wild West Fest set for Saturday.
The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, built as a working ranch by the actor in the late 1930’s, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a registered California Historical Landmark.
Saturday’s event will include a petting corral, western themed crafts, salsa contest, root beer tastings, pony rides and mechanical bull riding for kids.
The salsa contest will be judged by Chili’s Encinitas and features prizes for categories such as taste, funniest presentation, hottest, best overall and people’s choice.
The Carrillo ranch was known for years as Rancho de los Quitos or Ranch of the Spanish Daggers, named after the cactus, but today is better known for the many peacocks that roam the grounds.
Engraved in stone at the entry gate to the ranch house, are the words “Su Casa Amigo” (My House is your House). Carrillo entertained his Hollywood friends there and his guest list included many celebrities of that time such as Will Rogers and Clark Gable.
Carrillo lived from 1881 to 1961, and he came from an old California family whose members were among the early settlers of San Diego. They included Carlos Antonio Carrillo, governor of Alta California in the late 1830s.
Carrillo was born in Los Angeles, but his grandparents Josefa Bandini and Boston-educated Pedro Carrillo, lived in San Diego. When they married in 1846, Pio Pico — the last governor of California under Mexican rule — awarded them title to Coronado Island, which they sold 23 years later for $1,000, according to the Friends of Carrillo Ranch.
Saturday’s Wild West Fest runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying L.C. Lane.
Admission is free and parking is available at Carrillo Elementary School. Root beer floats and root-beer tastings are $3; mechanical bull and pony rides are $6.
Regular walking tours at the park will be preempted by the festivities, but the hacienda will remain open for tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free admission and parking at Carrillo Elementary School.
Visit carlsbadca.gov/parksandrec or call 760.602.7519.