#TheOjaiWay Welcome to the Ojai Way, a weekly walk about town that explores the different places of interest.
Today we will explore Libbey Park.
When I first moved to Ojai as a teenager my friends and family from the city would come and visit… the joke was, Ojai is a beautiful little town, and if you blink twice while driving through, you’ll miss it!
We wouldn't want you to miss a thing on your visit so here is a little guide to start you on the Ojai Way.
There is only one stop light in down town Ojai, one movie theater, one ice cream shop. Let’s start there. When you get to the stoplight at Ojai Avenue and Signal Street, turn right just after the Ojai Movie Theater and before the Ojai Post Office. Park your car, at no charge, and walk across the street to Ojai Ice Cream and get a cone of your favorite flavor. Cross the street and take a walk under the Pergola. Enter Libby Park through the arches and find a seat on the grass or on a bench and enjoy.
What you’ll find here is a lovely square in the middle of the town, typical of the squares you’d see in an old European town or on the East Coast with a fountain in the center. There are Children playing, nannies, young parents and grandparents strolling with babies and children. Usually you’ll find a couple of locals discussing politics and their ideas for changing the world over a cup of coffee, or perhaps an artist with an easel capturing the moment on canvass, or a young person doing homework at a picnic table, or someone playing guitar under the canopy of Oaks.
Libbey Park one of Ojai’s gems was named in honor of Ojai’s greatest benefactor, Edward Libbey of Toledo, Ohio. In 1917 Mr. Libby donated the park to the Ojai Civic Association which in turn signed over the deed on March 2, 1971, to the City of Ojai with the stipulation that the land be used as a park.
The city resolved to call the gift, Libbey Park, in honor of the man that had done so much for the city.
In addition to the great people watching and enjoyment of nature, our Libbey park has a delightful playground for our youth, tennis courts that host the oldest amatuer tennis tournament in the USA, a community bandstand that has local talent play classic Americana music, such as John Philips Sousa March and musical scores from Broadway, this occurs on Wednesday nights during the summer months.
Continue on your tour through the park and visit Libbey Bowl, our own out door amphitheater that hosts the Ojai Music Festival, Bowl Full of Blues and other musical venues, plays and community events. We’ve also had the pleasure of hosting outdoor films such as Twenty Feet From Stardom that had an amazing Q and A featuring the members of the original cast that included some of the back up singers from the Rolling Stones. We also had the pleasure of seeing the classic cult film, The Rocky Horror Show one evening on the big screen, where the locals came in costume mimicking the roles played in the film.
In 2011 the bowl was completely renovated and restored and a Unique interactive sculpture designed by Trimpin, a Seattle-based Artist with installed called the Sound Arch.
At the back of the park you will connect with the Ojai bike and walking trail. Enjoy your walk.
Talk to you soon,