Category Archives: Events & Happenings

Grand Opening of Yuba Rim Trail at Rice’s Crossing Preserve

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Walk on the Wild Side this weekend with the Bear Yuba Land Trust, celebrating 25 years of land stewardship. Enjoy a hike this Saturday and Sunday or, an armchair trek on Monday night.

Join Bear Yuba Land Trust for a hike and grand opening of the new 2.25 mile Yuba Rim Trail, part of the 2,707-acre Rice’s Crossing Preserve during the annual community event, “Walk on the Wild Side” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, April 18.

Participants will hike a total of 4.5 miles, there and back again. The trail winds through the shelter of forest, then along a ridge top to an overlook of the confluence of the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Yuba River, below Bullards Bar Dam. This is only the beginning of a new extensive river corridor trail system.

“This will last for generations. This will be the trail system, the connection system, the economy booster,” said Nevada County District 4 Supervisor Hank Weston who attended a dedication ceremony at the preserve in March. Weston sees Rice’s Crossing as a key recreation landholding that will drive tourism and help the local economy.

The April 18 event is both a celebration of Earth Day and the Land Trust’s 25th birthday. Since January, BYLT’s trails team has led the construction of the Yuba Rim Trail built with the help of 17 committed volunteers who have worked more than 200 hours.

The day will begin with a short presentation honoring Bear Yuba Land Trust founders, songs from Secretary Shelly Covert of the Nevada City Rancheria – Nisenan and an update on BYLT’s plans for the Rice’s Crossing property.

Participants are encouraged to bring water, wear weather appropriate clothing and good hiking shoes for the hike. Afterward folks will head over to the meadow for birthday cake. Pack a picnic lunch, chairs, blankets, kites, cameras, binoculars, etc. for enjoying the meadow.

BYLT acquired Rice’s Crossing Preserve in June of 2014, the largest landholding in the Land Trust’s 25 year history. A community success story, the preserve helped BYLT to grow its conservation footprint from 6,000 to 9,000 acres. Rice’s Crossing links over 8,500 acres of public open space and will provide unprecedented access to the river in the form of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing.

BYLT’s stewardship team will monitor the property ensuring that habitat for threatened and endangered species will be protected and restored. BYLT will work closely with South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) to develop a monitoring plan for this section of the river.

For 25 years, Bear Yuba Land Trust has worked with the community to protect land in the Bear and Yuba River watersheds. BYLT and its many volunteers have built 35 miles of trails and led numerous outings that get families into nature to explore and learn about this place we call home.

How to Get There: From Nevada City, take Highway 49 towards Camptonville, turn left on Marysville Road, over the Bullards Bar Dam. Rice’s Crossing North is located 1.3 miles from the dam. Park in the rock quarry on the right and cross the road to the North Meadow.

For those who want to schedule more BYLT activities into their weekend, there are two more options to choose from.

Geologist and paleontologist David Lawler will lead his moderate level and always popular “classic” Trek Back in Time to Chalk Bluff from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 19. Situated on private property at the top of Red Dog Road, this area is unique due to the exposure of ancient accumulations of volcanic ash – which looked like chalk to the early immigrants – and petrified-like wood from the tropical Pliocene era. This is a pre-registration event: $12 BYLT Members, $19 Not-Yet-Members.

BYLT just added an Armchair Trek: Beedy, Birds, Belize with reknowned ornithologist Ted Beedy from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 20 in the Gene Albaugh Community Room at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City. Beedy recently returned from a two-week birding and bird photography tour of Belize and Northern Guatemala. This evening slideshow will feature a photo illustrated tour of Crooked Tree Lagoon and its myriad waterbirds, as well as the diversity of birds and other wildlife that inhabit tropical forests of the coastal regions, Tikal in Guatemala, and pine woodlands of the Maya Mountains. During this trip, Ted was able to see 265 species and captured photographs of 134 species. This show will be accompanied with sound recordings made by Barney Kroeger. Beedy will also address bird taxonomy, natural history, and on-going efforts to conserve these tropical treasures. Don’t miss it! A $10 donation is recommended.

Learn more at Find more Nevada County trails here or download the Recreation Trail Web map app here.

(Source & photos: Bear Yuba Land Trust)

Summer Fairs & Festivals in Nevada County

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Summer is the perfect time to visit Nevada County and enjoy one of the many fairs and festivals that are happening throughout the season. From California WorldFest to the Sierra Storytelling Festival to the annual Nevada County Fair, there is some type of fair, festival or gathering almost every weekend to delight all ages and interests. A few of the festivals are featured below.

Strawberry Music Festival
May 21-25, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
The Strawberry Music Festival presents the gold standard in main stage entertainment, intimate side stage performances, top notch children’s programming, and workshops and activities for all ages. Headlining this year’s festival is Bonnie Rait!

40th Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival
June 18-21, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
The Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival presents four days of family fun – jamming, workshops, children’s programs, Luthier’s Pavilion, Kids on Bluegrass, and camping on site. It’s the best in Bluegrass and Old Time Music on stage under the pines.

Music in the Mountains SummerFest
June 24 – July 5 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
For its 34th season, Music in the Mountains presents SummerFest, bringing contemporary and classic music together in a two-week celebration of community, art and music. This year’s programming includes Randy Newman, Circque de la Symphonie, Mozart’s Requiuem, The Glory of Russian Ballet, Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, and the always popular “Happy Birthday USA.”

California WorldFest
July 16-19, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
The Center for the Arts presents California WorldFest featuring eight stages of music from around the world. Visitors can also enjoy camping, workshops, international food, fine crafts and children’s programming. This year’s line-up includes diverse music such as King Sunny Ade and his African Beats, Lucinda Williams, Buffy Saint-Marie, Emisunshine, Birds of Chicago, and much more.

30th Annual Sierra Storytelling Festival
July 17-19, 2015 – North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center
Set among the towering pines, sloping lawns and historic one-room schoolhouse on Columbia Hill, the Sierra Storytelling Festival is now in its 30th year. Known as “The Queen of Storytelling Festivals,” it brings a line-up of internationally recognized storytellers to the Schoolhouse stages.

Nevada County Fair
August 12-16, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
Enjoy five days of entertainment and fun for fair-goers of all ages at the Nevada County Fair. The Fair presents the perfect opportunity to enjoy live entertainment, delicious food, carnival rides, animals and exhibits – at the “most beautiful fairgrounds in California.” This is affordable fun for the whole family.

15th Annual Nevada City Film Festival
September 10-13, 2015 – Historic Downtown Nevada City
The Nevada City Film Festival brings award-winning shorts and feature films from around the world to the historic venues of Nevada City. A four-day celebration of art, music, and independent film-making, NCFF includes screenings, workshops, special performances, parties and a live comedy show.

(Source: Nevada County Tourism)

“Springtime in the Pines” quilt show at the Fairgrounds

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Pine Tree Quilt Guild of Nevada County will present the 31st Annual “Springtime in the Pines” Quilt Show on Saturday, May 2nd and Sunday, May 3rd at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Over 200 handcrafted quilts will be displayed from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is only $7 and parking is free.

Special exhibits will showcase the talents of Featured Quilter Lorna Tiller of Grass Valley and the Mountain Art Quilters. Shoppers can purchase quilt-related items from Vendors and the Country Store. The Lunchroom will be catered by Christopher’s Deli and also offer drinks and homemade desserts for sale. Silent Auctions will be held each day and the spectacular Opportunity Quilt “Fiori” and multiple themed Baskets will go home with lucky winners on Sunday. A free shuttle will provide transportation between buildings.

Pine Tree Quilt Guild’s Community Service Committee, which makes and gives away hundreds of quilts to service organizations each year, will present two different demonstrations daily. Everyone who loves beautiful quilts will find something to enjoy at the Fairgrounds on May 2nd and 3rd. For more information, visit the website at or email

(Source and Photos: Pine Tree Quilt Guild)

58th Penn Valley Rodeo on May 15 -17, 2015

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The 58th Annual Penn Valley Rodeo is coming to town May 15 – 17, 2015. Check out this fun video about the Penn Valley Rodeo:

(Video: Touchdown Productions)

Celebrate Spring at Bridgeport

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South Yuba River Park Association invites the public to Celebrate Spring at Bridgeport on Friday, May 15 from 4 to 7 p.m. Enjoy an evening of food by Antonio Ayestaran Catering, wine, beer and beverages, and lively entertainment by The Consolations Vocal Band. Proceeds benefit ongoing activities at South Yuba River State Park. Advance reservations required by phoning (530) 265-8401 or the Bridgeport Visitor’s Center at (530) 432-2546.

Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit Bridgeport and the South Yuba River State Park. Through May 19 join a docent-led Wildflower Walks or enjoy your own springtime walk along the Buttermilk Bend Trail along the South Yuba River.

2015 Daffodil Run is Sunday, April 12

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The Daffodil Run was created by Joanie Bumpus 14 years ago and is sponsored by the Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, Penn Valley Area Lions and Penn Valley Area Rotary.

Proceeds from the run benefit local schools and provide scholarships to Nevada Union High School students. Race proceeds also provide the planting of Daffodils in and around Western Gateway Park and surrounding areas.

5 & 10K Run and 5K Walk
 With Free Kid’s Run!

Race day registration at 7 a.m.

Free Kid’s Run at 8:30 a.m
5 & 10K Runs at 8:45 a.m.
5K Walk at 8:50 a.m


Run: $25 adults (13+); $10 children

Walk: $10 adults (13+); $5 children

Awards: Male and Female, top three places, by 
age group; T-shirts guaranteed for pre-reg entrants.

For more information visit

(Source: Penn Valley Chamber)

Boreal Mountain Resort’s 50th season open through this weekend

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Celebrate the Final Day of Boreal Mountain Resort‘s 50th Season this Sunday, April 12, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, April 11th, join them for Armada Spring Meltdown. The event will bring together freeski pro and amateurs in one last celebrate-the-spring hooray. Enjoy the sunshine and the chance to win some sweet prizes.

Check out Woodward Tahoe’s Dawn Till Dusk:

2015 Fourth of July parade in Grass Valley names Grand Marshals

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Sandy Woods, who is retiring as CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds, and John Hart, a photographer for The Union newspaper in Grass Valley who is retiring after 51 years, are the Grand Marshals of the Fourth of July parade in western Nevada County, our magazine has learned.

This colorful Fourth of July parade alternates each year between Nevada City and Grass Valley. This year it’s Grass Valley’s turn.

Woods is featured in the spring issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine for her accomplishments at the Fairgrounds. It writes: “Much of the credit for a full year-round ‘dance card’ at the fairgrounds goes to Sandy Woods, chief executive officer of the Nevada County Fairgrounds, as well as the staff and board. Sandy’s keen business acumen, which includes 20 years at the fairgrounds, as well as a previous experience in finance, has helped the Nevada County Fairgrounds thrive at a time when other fairs are struggling.

“This winter, Woods was inducted into Western Fairs Association Hall of Fame. Woods also has been Chair of the California Fairs Alliance, which provides advocacy and resource development for California fairs.

“After serving 20 years at the fairgrounds, Woods recently announced her retirement as CEO. Recruitment for a new CEO has begun, and Woods will continue in her role until a replacement is found.”

John Hart, a Grass Valley native, began working, full-time, at The Union on June 15, 1964, according to the community newspaper. After a full 51 years on the job, Hart plans to retire on June 15, 2015, the newspaper has said.

“Hart’s history with The Union extends even beyond his half decade as a staffer. Hart got his start as a 9-year-old paper boy, delivering the Sacramento Bee for a six-month stint before taking on a route for The Union,” according to an article about him.

The parade is Saturday, July 4th at 10 a.m. and will include about 75 entries. The festive parade winds through downtown Grass Valley. Parade-goers are advised to bring lawn chairs and arrive early to find a good vantage point.

(Photo credits: John Hart: The Union newspaper; Sandy Woods: Nevada County Fairgrounds)

Colorful history blooms at Empire Mine with garden tours

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Combining history, color, and serenity, Empire Mine State Historic Park’s thirteen acres of landscaped grounds are a popular highlight, especially when the springtime gardens are in bloom. Designed in the early 1900s by famed architect Willis Polk, these magnificent estate gardens are among California’s oldest and most unusual.

“Early spring is the time the stunning Gold of Ophir roses are likely to look their best,” said Garden Tours Coordinator Jeanne Powell, “and this season, for the first time, Garden Tours will be offered on both Saturdays as well as Sundays for the public to enjoy.“ The Gold of Ophir rose graces the dramatic entrance to Empire Cottage, one of the Park’s most photographed sites. One of many heritage roses, the Gold of Ophir reflects the romance and prosperity of Empire Mine’s heydays. “We are proud of our gardens,” Powell added. “They are lovingly tended by one full-time gardener and a staff of volunteers.”

To celebrate the springtime displays, enthusiastic, knowledgeable docents will lead the Garden Tours on Saturdays in April and on both Saturdays and Sundays from May through late September. Visitors may view the formal and informal gardens, the reflecting pools or even the grassy walks. Tours vary with weather changes and what’s in bloom. Many specimens on the grounds are thought to have been gifts to the Bourn Family (Empire’s prosperous owners from 1869 to 1929) from their world-traveled friends. Benches provide plenty of places to sit, rest, and savor the surrounding beauty that transports visitors to another era.

Tours last about 45 minutes, and will feature landscape trends of the early 1900s, as well as the Arts and crafts Movement that influenced landscape design. Fascinating photographs will bring history to life. Visitors may also see the perennial gardens and permanent plantings both at Empire Cottage and the nearby Clubhouse.

There is no extra charge for these tours, and everyone’s invited – including dogs on leashes. Roses are being propagated this year by docents, and will be for sale in the Gift Shop this autumn. “Many think Empire Mine’s golden treasures are underground, but the Park has a plethora of floral treasures above the ground as well,” Powell said. Garden enthusiasts, artists and photographers are advised to bring their cameras.

Empire’s well-tended estate gardens are a fascinating contrast to the gold, grit and glory of the Mineyard below, making a day at Empire Mine State Historic Park an unusual, unforgettable trip to Nevada County’s world-famous past. The Park welcomes approximately 100,000 visitors a year, many from all over the world.

Garden Tours at Empire Mine State Historic Park will begin at 11 a.m. every Saturday in April, and every Saturday and Sunday from May to late September. The Park is located at 10791 E. Empire Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults 17 and over, $3 for children 6 – 16, and free for children under 6. Phone (530) 273-8522 for further details or visit

(Photos: Dreamspinner Productions)

Ananda Village’s annual tulip display

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While the Crystal Hermitage upper and lower gardens are now open daily, each spring Ananda Village opens to the public for viewing of their amazing 15,000 imported Dutch tulip display during their Springtime at Ananda event. The 2015 dates this year are April 4 – 5 and 18 – 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

View photos of some of the gardens at our photo gallery here. For directions to Ananda Village or to purchase tickets, visit

Enjoy a video of the gardens here:

(Photos: Roseanne Burke; Video: Crystal Hermitage)