Come Experience More Than Great History at Heritage Square!

Historical Performances & Talks


The following living history performances, fashion shows and historic talks are available through The Friends of Heritage Square. These performances and talks can be scheduled at events at Heritage Square, or as Guest Speaker presentations at your event, at a location of your choice. Another option is to bring your event to Heritage Square for a luncheon or a tea. Payment is requested in the form of a Donation to the Friends of Heritage Square, Oxnard, and varies by program.

Overview of Heritage Square

This PowerPoint presentation starts with a brief history of the Oxnard Plain, beginning with the pioneer farming families arriving in the 1870’s to the evolution of the redevelopment project that became Heritage Square in the 1980’s. The houses that were moved to Heritage Square each have a unique history and architecture. Pictures and narration will explain how the houses and the people who lived in them played an important role in local history and how these buildings continue to survive and are appreciated today.

Tales of Early Oxnard Frances Kaufman Petit tells how her family crossed the country in a wagon train on the Oregon Trail and settled on the Oxnard Plain. She tells what Oxnard was like in the Wild West days and how the coming of the Sugar Beet Factory changed everything. One of her favorite stories is how Oxnard got its name.

Tales of Early Oxnard and an Overview of Heritage Square

This is a combination of the two presentations above, Oxnard and Heritage Square from France Kaufman Petit’s point of view. If done at Heritage Square, it can be presented with a powerpoint or Frances can invite some of her “neighbors” to talk about their houses and histories in person.

Living History Performance

A Visit with Lucy Levy: From Paris Society to Ventura County

Lucy Levy was a Parisian socialite when a matchmaker introduced her to Achille Levy, a merchant from Hueneme, Ca. She tells the story of her grand arrival in Ventura County and the surprises she found as she adjusted to pioneer life. Lucy chronicles her husband’s business in agriculture, and as the first banker in “Sugar Town”, as well as her own civic contributions. Her stories begin in 1882 and move into the 20th century, through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression as related to the family owned Bank of A. Levy, which served Ventura County for over 100 years.

What We Wore: Fashion Memoirs of a Pioneer Woman

Annette Petit Laurent was the first of her family to come to California with her pioneer husband Martin. Today, the house they built still stands in downtown Oxnard’s Heritage Square. Annette shares both personal and historic stories and memories of her life as an early settler from France to Pennsylvania and finally Ventura County through fashions of the day, from the 1850’s through 1913. A powerpoint presentation displays outfits that Annette might have worn at milestone events in her lifetime and important events in local and national history. This presentation can be a live model fashion show or a one woman presentation with vintage costumes on display.

An Interview with Sarah Josepha Hale: “The Godmother of Thanksgiving”

Did you ever wonder how this uniquely American holiday got started? Most people in the USA never even heard of Thanksgiving until Sarah Hale, a widowed mother of 5 children, introduced it in 1827. Sarah shares her passionate and unrelenting 40 year campaign to create a national day of Thanksgiving while the country was in the midst of the Civil War. This multimedia presentation uses quotes from her journals and editorials, as the Editor of the first American magazine for women, and from letters to and from 5 presidents of the USA, integrating some traditional Thanksgiving songs. Sarah’s story is an authentic representation of how a woman on a mission can get the job done!

Women’s Suffrage: A Reader’s Theatre “Herstory” Lesson 

This presentation is in the form of a Reader’s Theatre script for your own group. Members of your group may participate. The setting is Ventura County, 1920, just after the 19th amendment has passed, granting women the right to vote across the nation. The characters in the script are Ventura County ladies, gathered to celebrate and to review the years leading up to women’s suffrage through a series of letters and newspaper articles that capture the times from 1848-1920.

A Meeting of the Edwardian Tea Society for Downton Abbey Fans and Fanatics

It’s 1913 and three women with different viewpoints speak about life in an English Manor. Lady Wyndham is an aristocrat whose topic is “How to Marry an English Lord”. Mrs. Cutler, the cook, discusses “Life Below Stairs” and Miss Diana presents “A Modern Woman’s Viewpoint of Society Life”.

Fashions Inspired by the Downton Abbey Years

A look back at the drama we love – the characters, events and the romance of the time period. Find out how the changing world of the early 1900s affected fashion trends of the 19teens and the Roaring Twenties; and how those fashions were revisited again in the years to come. This presentation can be a live model fashion show or a one woman presentation with costumes on display.

Oxnard in the 1920s: The New Hollywood

This presentation celebrates life in the 1920s, exploring a little bit of history, both local and national, leading up to the golden era and life style of the times; including arts and culture, prohibition. Learn about the Hollywood connection to Oxnard, the development of three new beach communities and some colorful characters who lived or visited here.

1920s Oxnard Fashion Show

Combining the two presentations above, live models will show you what you would have worn if you were here in the 1920s attending local events, as well as local and national life style and of course, the Hollywood connection! Narrated by a fictitious character based on a famous Hollywood personality.

How I Met Santa, by Mrs. Claus

This spirited lady tells her story, from her childhood in the 5th Century, to becoming the First Lady of Christmas. You will have to suspend reality and embrace the magic of Christmas as she talks about her romance with Nicholas, tells some unknown tidbits about the ever popular jolly old man, how some of our favorite Christmas traditions got started and her adventures throughout the centuries, including how she “saved Christmas” from those who tried to abolish it. Come and meet the great woman who has stood not only behind but alongside the great man for hundreds of years!

“The Port of Hueneme: A Father and Son Legacy”

The story of the development of the port, beginning in 1871 with Thomas Bard’s vision of a wharf to ship out local farmer’s crops. The story tells the ups and downs of the wharf, and son Richard Bard’s struggle to build his dream port which began with his father’s vision.

Music from the Gilded Age to the Broadway Stage written by Diane Mautner.

Carrie Jacobs-Bond, composer, singer and pianist was the first woman to sell 1 million copies of a hit song. She comes to Heritage Square as a guest of Harriet Puntenney, our local music teacher who lived in one of the houses that was moved to Heritage Square during the 1920s-1940s. Join Harriet and Carrie for a conversation about music from the 1890s to the Broadway musicals of the 30s and 40s, sharing memorabilia, juicy anecdotes, humor, and songs by composers such as Scott Joplin, the George M. Cohan, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Live music will be performed and the audience is invited to sing along.

Connie Korenstein is a three time winner of “Uncle Leo’s Stories of Ventura County” contest at the Ventura County Fair. She is a retired educator who has written a book on Oxnard History for the children of the Oxnard School District and is dedicated to history and vintage fashions. Besides researching and creating living history performances, Connie is a docent at Heritage Square, the Channel Islands Maritime Museum and the Dudley House.

All programs, with the exception of “Music from the Gilded Age to the Broadway Stage” are created and performed by Connie Korenstein, docent and member of Friends of Heritage Square

For further information about program and scheduling:

Connie Korenstein 805-985-9424 or 657-1970, e-mail:

Payment is requested in the form of a Donation to the Friends of Heritage Square, Oxnard and varies by program, depending on number of players.

Performance donations can be made here online once your event details are confirmed.