VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. – If you've driven past Toro Canyon on Highway 101, you may have seen a bright, large ruby stiletto resting on the hill.
Did Dorothy lose her red slipper? Is a giant missing one of their favorite shoes? Well, this mysterious Cinderella story has a happy ending.
It all started ten years ago, when the dazzling shoe caught the attention of a group of friends passing through a Los Angeles prop shop. After some thought one of the ladies, Sharon Bradford, thought it would be the perfect gift for her friend, Phyllis Smith, in celebration of her 70th birthday.
Bradford said, “Her husband called me and said, what would she really like? And I said, You know what? I think she'd really like a big red shoe.”
Unfortunately, the birthday girl's husband broke his hip before the big night, so the party never happened.
After years of sitting in storage collecting dust, the shoe was set out in Toro Canyon for trash collection.
Well, farmer Dennis Pozzebon spotted the stiletto on his way back to the ranch. He decided to dust off the shoe and bring it to his property. From there, the heel made history as locals and visitors alike questioned the mysterious stiletto on the side of Highway 101.
Theories of a health campaign, theft, and a local prank have circled around the random slipper.
"I heard rumors that was an artistic farmer down there," Pozzebon said. "And then I heard rumors that it was political and it's not."
But the story doesn't end there.
Fast forward to now, Smith prepares to celebrate her friend's 80th birthday on Aug. 26 with a freshly painted stiletto.
Seeing the shoe years later, Smith said, "This shoe is a memory about everything that occurred, but also about friendship and love and the things we do to make one another happy and birthdays exciting."
This time, the group was determined to revive the original party plan– by any means necessary. Begging, borrowing, even stealing the stiletto.
Although the group devised a meticulous plan to scale the barbed wire fence protecting the shoe, there was no need.
The farmer delivered the red slipper to the group. After the festivities, he will pick up the shoe and return it to the property.
To catch a glimpse of the stiletto, head northbound on Highway 101 and drive past Ventura.