Hometown Country Fair at Crescenta Valley Park

Brothers Mateo Soriano, 8, left, and Joaquin Soriano, 5, right, take a close look at a ball python snake at the annual Hometown Country Fair at Crescenta Valley Park in La Crescenta on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / April 9, 2014)

Familiar sightings in La Crescenta such as roving robots and dogs in festive outfits were joined by uncommon visitors such as the world’s largest breed of porcupine on Saturday at the ninth annual Hometown Country Fair.

The event brought together many kinds of foods, live acts, carnival rides and critters at Crescenta Valley Park, but many visitors were just happy to see their neighbors on a weekend outing.

Resident Leanna Levine came to see her daughters — a gymnast and a cheerleader — perform.

“It’s just been real fun for all the girls to see their friends here from school and I’ve seen a few of my friends here. It just feels really good; it’s a real hometown feel,” she said.

Many breeds of canines were brought by their owners, and most of the pooches strutted in single file around the park during a dog parade.

Margaret Armstrong stopped by with her pit bull/Labrador mix and said she was glad to have a new setting where her pet could mingle with others.

“It’s cool that I can bring my dog here because at the Montrose Farmers Market, you can’t,” she said. “(The dogs) love it and it’s fun to watch them interact.”

One of the four-legged guests that garnered the most attention and petting was Rudi, a 4-year-old gray Great Dane that stood 3 feet tall and weighed 173 pounds.

Rudi frequents the nearby dog park with his owner, Marina Dahlen, who said she was glad to see so many pets socializing with one another and playing safely with kids.

“(The fair) brings people together and shows them how well-behaved dogs can be with people, kids, everybody,” Dahlen said.

Other fixtures at the fair included robots engineered by students at Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools that roamed throughout the park, as well as a hot-rod display featuring dozens of classic cars and carnival rides such as a traditional Ferris Wheel.

One of the most popular exhibits, courtesy of the nonprofit animal sanctuary Wildlife Waystation, featured several animals including an eagle, along with an array of insects and alpacas.

With visitors like Penelope, a cape porcupine — one of the largest breed of the species from Africa — it wasn’t a petting zoo, but kids and adults got pretty close.

Wes Horton, who lives across the street from Crescenta Valley Park with his two young children, said his kids enjoyed getting up-close with the wild animals and got to enjoy carnival rides for the first time.

A native Midwesterner, he gave the Hometown Country Fair his seal of approval.

“My wife and I are both from Minnesota. She grew up on a farm and this is perfect for her, she loves it,” he said.

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Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.

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