Category Archives: Community

KVMR Celtic Festival announces performers

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The 18th annual KVMR Celtic Festival and Marketplace mixes Celtic music and magic with world-class musicians, dance, pageantry, living history, falconry, athletics, storytelling, jam sessions and shopping. The outdoor event takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 26, 27 & 28 in Grass Valley, California at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, a bucolic setting on 100 acres among giant ponderosa pines. There are eight stages and performance areas. Our main stage hosts many of the best Celtic musicians on the world stage.

Our 2014 main-stage headliners include, from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, Irish flutist Nuala Kennedy and her band, the international quintet – Runa, four sisters from Ireland’s County Bundoran – The Screaming Orphans, a return appearance of the Hanz Araki Band featuring Colleen Raney, Celtic rockers the Mclean Avenue Band, 1916, Tempest and home town favorites A Thousand Years at Sea.

As late summer begins to cool, the Nevada County Fairgrounds will be transformed into a Celtic village where world-famous Celtic musicians perform, shopping and dining opportunities abound and O’Dea’s Irish Pub celebrates the change of season. Hundreds of regional performers, singers, bagpipers, actors, jugglers and storytellers roam the fairgrounds.

Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and join in with jam sessions and workshops scheduled throughout the weekend. Revelers make music into the night in the available campgrounds and RV hook-ups complete with tall trees and a lake.

History buffs explore encampments of “Guilds” who re-create points and places in time. Royalty and their subjects demonstrate how peasants and gentry lived in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Exciting and educational, the Celtic Animals exhibit houses falcons, eagles, hawks, owls, sheep and ponies.

Amateur and professional athletes test their strength and skill in Scottish Games. Children are kept engaged with arts and crafts, story telling, and romping in a straw bale castle. Seniors are admitted an hour before the event opens on Sunday and treated to scones and tea. The festival is disabled accessible.

For tickets and to read more about the KVMR Celtic Festival’s performances and events click here or visit their website.

(Photo: Riley Smith, McLean Avenue Band)

Sierra Brewfest: An epic afternoon of sun, suds and fun (video)

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The Sierra BrewFest will celebrate its 25th Anniversary on August 23, 2014 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. As one of the oldest, continuously running brewfests in California, the Sierra BrewFest is known for showcasing small microbreweries in Northern California such as ol’Republic Brewery, Auburn Ale House, Hoppy Brewing Company, Tahoe Mountain Brewery, Loomis Basin Brewery and Out of Bounds Brewing Company just to name a few. This year’s roster will feature over 100 hand-crafted beers from some of the best microbreweries on the planet.

Enjoy yourself at the most beautiful fairgrounds in California in the Sierra Foothills surrounded by the tall pines. This unique microbrew tasting experience includes unlimited beer tastings, Bag-O games, and delicious food from some of the best food trucks and local restaurants. Where else can you taste delicious beer while enjoying barbequed oysters or fresh sushi?!

This year marks the second Bag-O games tournament, also known as corn hole or bean bag toss. Gather a team of friends to compete in the friendly tournament where you can win tickets to the 2015 Sierra BrewFest. Start practicing and get ready to sign up at the event.

And there’s more than just suds and fun on tap. This year’s entertainment will feature blues, soul, and rock-n-roll from the wildly popular Jamal Walker Band (see video below). Soak up the sun, fill up on the suds, eat some grub, and shake your groove thang!

Proceeds from the BrewFest benefit Music in the Mountains, and help them bring great music to the community and the schools. Tickets for unlimited tastings are available in advance for $30 and at the gate for $35. Tickets for non-tasters are $10, and youth under 18 are free. Buy tickets and get more information at or call the MIM box office at (530) 265-6124.

(Photo: Kris Wakefield)

LA Weekly promotes Nevada City’s new Three Forks Bakery & Brewery

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“Have you ever had a seven-minute egg? Wait. Have you ever heard of Nevada County? Well, it’s between Sac and Tahoe, and if you’re up for about a seven-hour road trip and you’re willing to believe me that this place is nicer than Tahoe, and about an hour closer, well, perhaps you’ll give it a try.

“Anyway, Nevada County’s got the Yuba River and a nice vintage store called The Parlour, and now, wonderfully, Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. Three Forks makes its own beer and pizza (and everything else) from scratch and it is also is the home of Three Forks cook Jes Taber and her delicious and inventive (but not annoyingly so) salads, many of which feature a seven-minute egg,” writes Sarah Miller for LA Weekly.

Read the full article of LA Weekly’s promotion of Nevada City’s new Three Forks Bakery & Brewery by clicking here.

(Source: SF Weekly, photo: Jes Taber)

119th Miners Picnic at Empire Mine August 23

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The 119th Miners Picnic at the Empire Mine is Saturday, August 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; plenty of activities and history galore for everyone. You can read more about the Empire Mine State Historic Park here. Click below to watch a short video about this year’s Miners Picnic:

(Photo: Empire Mine State Historic Park, video: NCTV)

North Star House master plan for restoration in the works

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By Joe Heckel, President, North Star Historic Conservancy

In 2003, a building sat vacant. It was in poor condition and deteriorating to the point of collapse. Rain poured into the building from a failing roof and through open windows. The interior had been vandalized, with all fixtures stripped and graffiti covered the walls.

Piles of garbage and debris littered the floors. There was no heat, water or sewer. What occurred next to this building and the surrounding property is one of the more remarkable stories of perseverance and dedication for our County.

This building and its surrounding grounds contain a unique legacy. It was once a beautiful iconic landmark, serving as the main building for the second largest gold producer in California history; the home of one most significant and interesting families in the American West and the first major work of a premier female architect.

The building, of course, is The North Star House at 12075 Auburn Road, south of Grass Valley. Through the efforts and vision of countless volunteers and leaders of our community, this 10,000 square foot building stands today, very much intact. The grounds have been cleaned of debris, abandoned cars, excessive vegetation and the historic gardens are being restored.

The North Star House is now managed and operated by the North Star Historic Conservancy (NSHC), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization.

The North Star House was designed by famed architect Julia Morgan and built in 1905 for the owners of the North Star Mine. The North Star House served as the social headquarters of the North Star Mine and was where the public and investors were invited to meet and greet. This special example of California Craftsman-style architecture was recently placed on the National and the California State Historic Buildings Registers.

It served as the home to mine superintendent Arthur DeWindt Foote, his wife, Mary Halleck Foote and their children. Arthur, known as A.D., was an engineering genius who pioneered the use of the Pelton wheel and designed the Tyler-Foote Road. He was also an amateur botanist who shared his work with such notable horticulturists as Luther Burbank and Felix Gillette.

Mary was as remarkable as A.D., as she was an accomplished artist who illustrated the works of many prominent authors of the period, including Bret Harte and Nathaniel Hawthorne. She was a regular correspondent to periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly, where she shared her perspective of a Victorian woman in the Gold Country.

The House and surrounding historic grounds was seen as a historically important site that a few thoughtful citizens recognized as worthy of preservation and restoration.

In 2004, the owner and prospective developer of the 762 acre North Star property donated the House and 14 acres to the Nevada County Land Trust, today the Bear Yuba Land Trust.

In 2006, the NSHC was created to restore and manage the North Star House and the historic grounds. After years of volunteer labor and an infusion of donated funds and materials, the House and grounds have been significantly improved and made more accessible to the public.

Now fast forward onto 2014 and what is happening for the property and The North Star House. The NSHC has prepared a Master Plan for the 14 acres which not only seeks to restore and rehabilitate The North Star House and grounds, but allows it to be opened to the public in a phased approach. Our goal is to continue to restore the North Star House and open it as a cultural event center.

The North Star House will be a wide range of social, cultural and educational opportunities including exhibits, meetings, classes, performances and gatherings of all types. Funds obtained from these activities will be invested into restoration efforts.

Our application (here) to approve our Master Plan will be presented before the Planning Commission on August 14.

Also, the NSHC is hosting its first-ever fundraiser on Saturday, August 16. This is a benefit concert to help with our renovation projects and to further our Master Plan for the property.

Come enjoy the sounds of Lorraine Gervais and her Love Bombs on the front lawn on a summer night. Information about our August 16 event can be found on our website at

The North Star House can become a cultural event center for Nevada County. Please help us make the North Star shine once again with your generous support.

To see more photos of the historic North Star House, click here.

(Photos: North Star House and

Sneak peek of the soon to open Donner Memorial Visitor Center

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Celebrate the pioneer heritage while touring the new Donner Memorial Visitor Center this Saturday before the interpretive exhibits arrive.

This fundraising event to support the visitor center will be held Saturday, August 16 at 6 p.m. Enjoy a facility tour and exhibit previews, chuck wagon dinner, spiritual dedication by members of the Washoe Tribe, live music by Richard Blair, “Get in the Pioneer Spirit” costume contest, and square dancing. Tickets are $45 and may be purchased online at

Sunday, August 24 is the final Pioneer Park Picnic & Pops concert

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“Just a Kid at Heart” is the name of the final Pioneer Park Picnic & Pops concert by the Nevada County Concert Band on Sunday, August 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. Music will include “March to the Principal’s Office,” Goldman’s “Children’s March,” “The Toy Trumpet,” Sousa’s “High School Cadets,” and highlights from “The Lion King.” Also appearing are the Gold Country Brass, Blended Metal Saxophones, and the Stamp Mill Stompers.

Prepare your picnic basket, or treat yourself with goodies from the hot dog or ice cream vendors. Bring your family and friends for music and fun!

Our Pioneer Park Picnic & Pops (PPPP) concert series is always filled with great music, solos, small ensembles, and other entertaining surprises from conductor Cheryl Woldseth.

The NCCBand celebrates its 43rd season as a county-wide band, with historical roots through local city-based community bands that date back to the 1880s. And just like then, we still play FREE concerts for all to enjoy.

(Photos: Nevada County Concert Band)

Destruction Derby tonight at the Nevada County Fair

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It’s back – the Destruction Derby at the Nevada County Fair! The popular Derby, held on Sunday of the Nevada County Fair, will be locally produced by five of Nevada County’s Rotary Clubs – The Rotary Club of Nevada City, Rotary Club of Nevada County South, 49er Breakfast Rotary of Nevada City, Penn Valley Rotary, and Rotary Club of Grass Valley.

This year’s Destruction Derby is sure to be a crowd favorite! Watch as drivers put their cars to the ultimate test and crash, smash, and ram other vehicles while trying to keep their own vehicle running! That’s demolition at its best.

“The Nevada County Fairgrounds is extremely pleased that the Rotarians, who are leaders in our community, are taking on the production of the Destruction Derby at the Fair,” said Sandy Woods, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “This event will be a truly locally produced event, and we are excited to be able to offer this entertainment to our community.”

The Destruction Derby is held on Sunday, August 10, at 7 pm at the Nevada County Fair. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. For tickets to Rotary’s Destruction Derby or any of the arena events, visit

(Photo: Nevada County Fair)

Don’t miss the last day of the 2014 Nevada County Fair

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Today’s the last day of the 2014 Nevada County Fair! Lots of rides, exhibits, fun and food for everyone.

Watch a cool video of the fair below:

(Photo & video: Nevada County Fair)

Nevada County exhibit at the Nevada County Fair

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Be sure to stop by the Nevada County exhibit and say “Hi” when enjoying the Nevada County Fair this week. This exhibit was part of the Nevada County booth that won a Silver Award at the recent California State Fair which saw its largest attendance (over 750,000 visitors) since 2008. Thank you Lani Lott and volunteers!