Senior hosts Ventura Heritage Day at Olivas Adobe (9 photos)

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Senior hosts Ventura Heritage Day at Olivas Adobe (9 photos)

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Foothill senior Brittany Bernardi listens to a presentation by Lief Engeswick, right, at Ventura Heritage Day, which she organized for her Senior Hero Project. Credit: Alison English/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Foothill senior Brittany Bernardi listens to a presentation by Lief Engeswick, right, at Ventura Heritage Day, which she organized for her Senior Hero Project. Credit: Alison English/The Foothill Dragon Press.

About 100 visitors gathered at Ventura’s Olivas Adobe Sunday to learn more about the city’s past at Ventura Heritage Day. Docents dressed in antique clothes dating as far back as the 1700s spoke with guests, and Foothill senior Brittany Bernardi scrambled around booths and between crowds, clipboard in hand, managing the event.

Bernardi, who has been volunteering at the Olivas Adobe since she was in sixth grade, was the event coordinator and host of Ventura Heritage Day for her Senior Hero Project.

Her goal with the project was to help “bring everything [Ventura] together” and show Ventura residents the city’s historical past.

Bernardi, the youngest trained docent, took it upon herself with the help of her mentor Jerry Leckie, to line up associations such as the Ventura County Maritime Museum, Friends of Heritage Square in Oxnard, Mission of San Buenaventura, San Buenaventura Conservancy, and the California Oil Museum for the event.

“It is pretty successful, I think. We did lose three booths and a band though,” said Bernardi, who had to reschedule the event after it was rained out on March 20.

The event was designed for visitors to “take a walk through history,” said Leckie as he gestured to the chronological timeline that the booth representatives had made throughout the Olivas Adobe historic rancho courtyard.

Docents led visitors through their booths and gave them a glimpse into a critical time in both Ventura and California history.

Docent Rosalee Calvillo showed visitors how to make their own tortillas like the Olivas family did over 100 years ago and Lief Engeswick played his refurbished 140-year old barrel organ called Plain Jane, to help guest relive the time period.

Docent Ross Goodman began his presentation by asking visitors, “Can I brand you with this 1840s iron?” and then showed visitors the unique wax candles and soaps made for trade. He continued by discussing the trade opportunities and the fertile farmland that Ventura was blessed with.

As visitors toured the impressive house, people also crowded around the table where Bernardi was selling her transcribed book City by the Sea by Richard Senate, which includes information about where Ventura residents came from and how today we differ today.

Bernardi was overall pleased with the success of the event, and ended on a high note. “It is important to know where you came from. I’m really excited to live in a place with so much history associated with it.”

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