Category Archives: Community

Open Studios & Art Tour begins this weekend

Leave a comment

The annual Fall Colors Open Studios & Art Tour begins this weekend. The tour takes place over two weekends and gives art lovers the opportunity to see where art is made by 72 artists in 50 studios in western Nevada County. View and purchase original work in a wide variety of media and styles, watch live demonstrations, observe works in progress, and learn about an art process from concept to completion and experience first-hand how, why and where art is created.

View a list of participating artists and map to their studios below and visit The Center for the Arts for more information.

Poncho Sanchez performs this weekend in Grass Valley

Leave a comment

This Sunday, Grammy Award-winning Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band will be in Grass Valley to perform a benefit concert for Bear Yuba Land Trust. It’s going to be the hottest dance party of the year.

Gates open at 5 p.m. followed by high energy Latin American music at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28. The stage is set in the courtyard of Grass Valley’s budding historic venue, the Julia Morgan-designed North Star House.

Sanchez’s touring band takes a traditional approach to Latin American music – paying attention to rhythm and history – to deliver a blend of infectious melodies and gritty soul music. Sanchez plays congas and is accompanied by band members on piano, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass and lots of drumming.

During the benefit, local dance instructors from Salsa Sierra will teach salsa dancing. Concert-goers can cast their black bean vote for the best local salsa made by area chefs: Antonio Ayestaran Catering, Christopher’s Catering Company, Briar Patch Co-op, Musa Musa, Diego’s Restaurant, Horn of the Bull Taqueria and Garden Girl Preserves.

At the Land Trust bar grab a daiquiri, wine from Coufos Cellars or a micro-brew from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Order food from vendors Horn of the Bull Taqueria and Musa Musa. Land Trust supporters can shop and bid on dozens of goods and services, outdoor adventures, entertainment and lodging during the Silent and Live Auctions.

This is the biggest fundraiser of the year and supports BYLT’s ongoing land conservation projects, trail building, outdoor education and popular trekking program. To date, BYLT has conserved 9,000 acres within the Bear and Yuba watersheds.

Learn more and purchase tickets at or call 272-5994. General Admission tickets are also available at Briar Patch Co-op and Clock Tower Records in Grass Valley.

Draft Horse Classic this weekend!

Leave a comment

The Draft Horse Classic is this weekend at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Featuring six performances by the beautiful Draft Horses, this event has become the premier Draft Horse show in the western United States. The Classic spotlights a variety of horses, teams, and performances; featuring everything from farm wagons, carriages, and driving competitions to dancing horses and racing mules. The stars of the show are the horses, and with more than 120 horses stabled on the grounds, the Classic offers a unique chance to observe them in a multitude of settings.

Watch a video from the 2013 Draft Horse Classic here.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (530-273-6217), faxing (530-273-1146), or visiting the Fair Office on McCourtney Road. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at

Awesome Nevada City Dirt Bike Classic video!

Leave a comment

Grab your bike and your kids and hit the dirt trails with the Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

This event begins with a helmet and bike check before you head out on the trails and is followed with a caterer lunch. There will be t-shirt painting, skills clinic, fender blender demo and goodie bags for participants. Preregistration required. For more information check out their website,

You can read more about this organization here. Meanwhile, check out the video of the 2014 Nevada City Dirt Classic, a 3-race summer series:

(Filmed and edited by Matteo Pierrazi)

Nisenan Heritage Day is September 6

Leave a comment

“Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future” The indigenous people of Nevada County – the Nisenan – in partnership with Sierra College-Nevada County Campus, and the California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP), invites the public to attend their fifth annual Nisenan Heritage Day which will be held on Saturday, September 6th, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Nevada County Campus of Sierra College, located at 250 Sierra College Drive, in Grass Valley, California.

Nisenan Heritage Day presents a unique opportunity to experience a taste of living history, and a day of community building with cultural education as the Nisenan, CHIRP, and Sierra College celebrate this year’s theme: “Honoring Our Past Envisioning our Future.” The event will take place in the Multipurpose Center, Building N12, and will host California Native American artisans, speakers, Traditional Dancers, and more.

“We have a wonderful lineup of educational speakers again this year,” says Shelly Covert, Tribal Secretary of the Nevada City Rancheria, “a smattering of some of the best out there within the Native community such as Dugan Aguilar, Judith Lowry, Dr. Sheri Tatsch, Heyday Books with special guest Malcolm Margolin, Leanne Hinton an emerita professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, and members of the Nevada City Rancheria Tribal Council will be talking about the history of the Nisenan, the Nevada City Rancheria, the Nisenan cultural revitalization happening now, and their vision for the future of the Nisenan people.”

‘Top notch’ Native Artisans and Basket Weavers have been personally invited to showcase their original creations. The 2014 Nisenan Heritage Day Tee-Shirt, with a fresh new logo designed by Judith Lowry, will also be available. Nisenan Heritage Day is an ‘all age’ friendly event – admission is free with parking available for free as well. Food and drink will be for sale on site courtesy of the BriarPatch Natural Foods Co-op. Visit for more information.

(Photo: Nevada City Rancheria)

Sierra Starr hosts a harvest party on September 20

Leave a comment

Sierra Starr Vineyard and Winery is hosting a Harvest Party open house and wine-club pick up on September 20 as its wine-grape harvest gets fully underway.

Visit the Grass Valley winery and see how Sierra Starr’s highly acclaimed wines are made. “See the sights, smell the amazing smells and maybe participate in the winemaking process and get your hands purple dirty,” said winemaker and vineyard manager Jackson Starr.

The Harvest Party includes winemaking demonstrations, tastings of gold- and silver-medal winning wines and “Harvest Special” wine sales.

The gathering is from noon-5 p.m. on September 20 at Sierra Starr Vineyards, 1179 Gibson Drive, Grass Valley. For more information, call 530-477-8282. Sierra Starr’s downtown Grass Valley tasting room will be closed this day.

Sierra Starr’s harvest is well underway. The winery just finished harvesting its Sauvignon Blanc grapes. “It is two weeks ahead of what used to be a normal harvest date and one week earlier than last year,” Starr said.

“The rest of the crops look good. I believe it’s going to be a beautiful growing season this year. We are convinced our vineyard is much happier with this warmer climate.” Sierra Starr will resume picking its estate fruit later this week.
Wine club members of Sierra Starr Vineyard recently had a chance to help with the grape harvest, and their reward was a free bottle of wine.

(Photo: Sierra Starr, video: KCRA)

Strawberry Music Festival at Nevada County Fairgrounds on Sept. 11-14

Leave a comment

Nevada County Fairgrounds hosts the Strawberry Music Festival in Grass Valley is home to the Nevada County Fair and the Draft Horse Classic. Located under tall pine trees, the fairgrounds are often referred to as “California’s most beautiful fairgrounds.”

But it also is gaining stature as a gathering place for music festivals and world-famous musicians. Two summers ago, on the same weekend, country music icons Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard performed at the Fairgrounds, thanks largely to The Center for the Arts.

This year the Nevada County Fairgrounds scored a coup, landing the Strawberry Music Festival on September 11-14 long considered the premiere music festival in the Sierra. Since 1982, the festival has brought musicians and festival-goers from throughout the world to the idyllic setting of Camp Mather, just outside the gates of Yosemite National Park.

A family festival—featuring four days of music, camping and recreation—features Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, swing, rock, Cajun, Celtic and gospel. Lyle Lovett, K.D. Lang, Alasdair Fraser, and the late U. Utah Phillips have performed at the festival. It draws as many as 7,000 people.

The Tower of Power will perform at the Festival on September 13. More performers are listed here.

Last year, Strawberry Music’s Fall Festival was cancelled due to the Rim Fire that burned all around Camp Mather. After being denied a permit for this year’s fall festival at the site, they came to the Nevada County Fairgrounds to ask for sanctuary so the festival could continue.

The Strawberry Music Festival joins several popular music festivals held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds throughout the year.

This year’s line-up includes: CBA Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival, June 12-15; Music in the Mountains SummerFest, June 26-July 3; California WorldFest, July 10-13; and the KVMR Celtic Festival & Marketplace, Sept. 26-28.

KVMR’s 18th annual Celtic Festival & Marketplace debuted at the Fairgrounds in 1996. What began as a relatively simple gathering has now grown to include Scottish games, sheepdog trials, birds of prey, Claude the fire-breathing dragon, jam sessions, five stages of entertainment and a crowd upwards of 7,000.

Festival-goers enjoy camping at the Fairgrounds. The RV Park has 44 sites with full hook-ups, about 100 sites with water and power hook-ups, and numerous RV sites without hook-ups throughout the grounds.

(Source: Sierra FoodWineArt, photo: Strawberry Music Festival)

Sacramento Bee writes about Empire Mine State Park Cottage Living History days

Leave a comment

The Sacramento Bee has a feature story today about the Empire Mine State Historic Park and its Bourn Cottage:

“Volunteers, thinking fast on their feet, give Empire Mine cottage a turn-of-century feel. Backstage – or, rather in the cottage – the actors bustled about in full turn-of-the-century regalia, tucking stray hairs into billowy bonnets, adjusting bow ties and buttoning vests, retrieving props like the box camera and the silver tray to accept calling cards, setting out the oatmeal cookies in the kitchen for the young ones.

“They weren’t in character, yet. But these volunteers have been portraying the inhabitants of the Bourn Cottage at Empire Mine State Park for enough Saturdays now to turn their characters on and off like the antique light switches in this, one of the finest houses wired for electricity in the area. These aren’t card-carrying professional actors, anyway, just folks with a yen for history and latent childlike desires to play dress-up and become historical figures.”

To read the rest of the Sacramento Bee article, click here.

(Source: Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee, photos: Randall Benton)

Check out Truckee in September!

Leave a comment

Truckee Offers an Array of Colorful Events and Activities this September

Located near the Sierra Nevada crest at almost six-thousand feet, the historic town of Truckee is amazingly picturesque during autumn, when the air is crisp, the sun bright and the tree-covered mountains become a patchwork of warm and vibrant colors. Perfect weather for hiking, cycling, fishing or almost any outdoor activity as well as a whole heap of spectacular events!

How will you be spending this spectacular season? Photographing the variety of colors and scenic landscapes? Hiking or cycling along the numerous trails spanning Tahoe National Forest? Paddleboarding across Donner lake? Sampling the Truckee tastings for the wine connoisseur? Fishing in one of the many rivers, lakes or streams? Dining at any one of Truckee’s fine restaurants?

Whatever activities you choose…you are sure to have an outstanding time in Truckee this fall.

First Fridays – September 5, 2014

Every First Friday of the month from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. head to Historic Downtown Truckee where several of downtown’s unique shops, boutiques, art studios, and eateries keep their doors open later and offer special promotions, activities, demonstrations, food and beverages, music, and more! Participating shops and restaurants will display First Friday Flags so the public will know where the fun is. Come explore the festive atmosphere and energy of Truckee the first Friday of every month. For more information, visit

Pacific Fine Arts & Crafts Festival – September 6-7, 2014

From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., head to historic Downtown Truckee for the Pacific Fine Arts & Crafts Festival at the corner of Bridge Street and Donner Pass Road, where you will see original art work of more than 60 artists and crafters. Enjoy shopping at all the unique and distinct merchants along Commercial Row, or stop in for a bite to eat at one of the many great restaurants set in authentic historic buildings, while surrounded by dramatic Sierra scenery. For more information, check out

Ironman Lake Tahoe – Truckee Viewing Party – September 20-21

The Lake Tahoe location is arguably tougher than any other, with over 8,000 feet of climbing on the bike course as-compared to the 5,000 feet of climbing through the Alps in Ironman France, and Truckee will once again be part of the IRONMAN Lake Tahoe course as the bike portion of the race comes through Historic Downtown Truckee not once, but twice.

The first wave of athletes are expected to come through downtown Truckee around 8:00 a.m., with the final competitors following around 2:30 p.m. The Truckee Downtown Merchants Association is planning a Viewing Party on Sunday, September 21st from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. including a live feed of the swim-bike-run transitions on Jumbotron, a beer garden, music, dining and drink specials, and plenty of cowbells to cheer on the athletes. The large metal arch over the street will also make for some spectacular photo ops. For more information, visit

Foothill’s Farmers Market – September 23, September 30, October 7 & October 14

An ongoing event in Truckee, on Tuesdays from 8am-1pm, ending October 14th. Located on Brockway Road, this weekly event is the place to go for fresh products that nearby farmers have grown themselves. Additional non-agricultural food items, such as baked goods and prepared foods, are available by local vendors as well. For more information, visit

Truckee’s History Alive! – September 25

Entertaining and educating! This program runs from 7pm-9pm at the Truckee Veterans Hall. It is sponsored by the Friends of the Truckee Library, the Truckee Library and The Truckee Donner Historical Society and there is a suggested donation of $10. For more information, visit

Mountain House Books in Nevada City named a “favorite local bookstore” by Chronicle Books in S.F.

Leave a comment

Mountain House Books of Nevada City is featured on a list of “favorite local bookstores” by Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Details here:

“Here at Chronicle Books, we’re inspired by the enduring magic of books, and are always looking for more ways to share that magic,” according to its blog this week.

“Well, what better place to breathe in the magic of books than in our our favorite local bookstores? We can spend hours lingering among shelves, combing for new treasures…and could wax poetic on the charm, importance, and beauty of bookstores for hours. But instead of doing that, we’ll point all book and bookstore-lovers to the birth of a new hashtag: #ThisIsMyBookstore.

“Each week, we’ll feature a photo tagged with #ThisIsMyBookstore on our Instagram, and will compile them all in a monthly post as our continued ode to beautiful bookstores around the world. Here are some staff submissions below, including San Francisco’s iconic City Lights.

“Mountain House Books: Located in a gold rush town, this book store has an ‘honesty box’ on the front porch. Any book on the shelf is $2, you take what you want, and drop $2 in the box. We love fun quirks like that!”

Read the full article here.

(Source: Chronicle Books)