It's beginning to look a lot like Purim. The hamantaschen-filled holiday comes one month early this year, as Temple Beth Ami in Santa Clarita and Six Flags Magic Mountain co-host PurimFest: The World's Largest Purim Carnival this Sunday.
The early date was chosen "to allow everybody to come, so people won't miss the Purim parties at their own synagogues," said Rabbi Mark Blazer of Beth Ami, a congregation of 200 families.
While some might see the Valencia theme park as an unlikely place for a Jewish event, Blazer saw it as an opportunity to reach out to Jews across Southern California.
"To put on a smaller-sized carnival was a lot of work for one day," he said. "[We thought] why not use the amazing resource right here?"
PurimFest joins Chabad's yearly Chanukah Party at Universal Studios in finding new ways to reach out to the area's many unaffiliated Jews; event coordinators hope this, too, will become an annual event.
In addition to myriad scream-till- you're-hoarse coasters, there will be mask making, music from recording artist Cindy Paley, face painting and a celebrity Purim spiel. Plus, for the first time in Magic Mountain's history, the park is allowing in kosher vendors. The area around Bugs Bunny Land will feature glatt kosher hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as dairy and pareve offerings, including, of course, hamantachen.
"The great thing about Purim is it is a celebration of Jewish identity in the face of assimilation and disaster," Blazer said. "Purim becomes a celebration of what we used to have to be afraid of."
So this year, ride Colossus until you can't tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman.
The event will be held Sunday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. See coupon in this week's Journal.