Category Archives: Events & Happenings

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 www.NorthStarConservancy.org.

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 Berkeleyside.com)

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 SierraStateParks.org.

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 NevadaCountyFair.com.

(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!

Five days of fun at the Nevada County Fair!

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It’s Fair season, and the Nevada County Fair, happening August 6 – 10, has five days of “Simply Fun” planned for Fair-goers of all ages. Held under the shade of the tall pine trees in Grass Valley, the Nevada County Fair is the perfect opportunity to listen to musical entertainment, eat delicious food, enjoy carnival rides and games, visit barns full of animals, and see thousands of community exhibits – all in a community-friendly environment.

While visiting the Fair, zip line across The Green, check out the sky diver flying into the arena during the rodeo, try your hand at gold panning, walk in a water balloon, see baby chicks hatch in the embryology display, watch the Fair’s Family Feud competition, or listen to Mogollon’s music as they celebrate 20 years of performing at the Nevada County Fair. Or, how about visiting Circus Imagination, where children become instant stars by being selected from the audience, put in costume, and then performing in a spontaneous circus for the crowd.

Long-time crowd pleasing events will soar into the Fair’s arena Wednesday through Sunday evening. There’s the Flying U Extreme Rodeo happening on Wednesday and Thursday evening; while Friday and Saturday night features Tuff Trucks and Monster Trucks. On Sunday, the ever-popular Destruction Derby returns to the arena. All arena events begin at 7 pm.

Enjoy ongoing, musical entertainment at one of the outdoor stages. This year features a variety of music – pop rock, country rock, traditional country, Chicago-style blues, jazz, traditional and contemporary bluegrass, rockabilly dance, and rock and roll. Barbershop quartets, hula dancing and dancers, and Nevada County’s Concert Band will also be featured on the various stages.

For more fun, enter one of the special contests held daily in the Special Events tent. There’s a Cell Phone Photo Scavenger Hunt, an Instagram contest, Field Games, Kids Duct Tape Art Challenge, a Yo-Yo Contest, a Scrapbook Page Layout Contest, “Minute to Win It” fun, a Diaper Derby, a Just Dance Contest, and nightly karaoke. No pre-registration required – just show up and have fun. Details for contests are available on the Fair’s website.

A visit to the Fair wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Treat Street. It is here that you’ll find an array of delicious foods and drinks – pasties, tacos, corn on the cob, beer, tempura zucchini, baked potatoes, nachos, hamburgers, corn dogs, caramel corn, and more – all while supporting local, non-profit organizations.

For best deals, purchase your tickets before the Fair begins. Tickets are on sale now and advanced sale discounts are available through August 5 at 5 pm. To purchase tickets, visit NevadaCountyFair.com, stop by the Fair Office, or call the Fair Office.

Join us at this year’s Nevada County Fair, August 6 – 10, and find out why we’ve been voted as the “Best Community Event” for 12 years in a row. The Nevada County Fairgrounds is located at 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley. For a list of daily activities, event details, tickets, or general information, visit www.NevadaCountyFair.com or call (530) 273-6217.

(Photos: Nevada County Fair)

SFWeekly promotes Nevada County this week

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This week the SFWeekly promoted western Nevada County in an online article:

“Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach — good for families and cookouts — and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

Downtown Nevada City
The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

(Photo and credit: Beth LeBerge, SFWeekly)

2014 Nevada County Daily Fair Schedule

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There’s something for every at the Nevada County Fair, what’s your favorite activity? Here’s the link to the daily fair schedule. You can also purchase your tickets online here, too.

Nevada County Fair names Family of the Year

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Nevada County Fair names Don and Anita McDaniels as the 2014 Family of the Year. The Board chose the Daniels Family for their long time commitment, participation, and volunteer efforts at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

“Don and Anita are truly avid supporters of the Fair,” said Sandy Woods, CEO of the Fairgrounds. “Having grown up in Nevada County, their involvement with the Fair goes back to childhood – and their dedication to the Fairgrounds continues! Through Anita’s inspiration of Rotary at Work Day at the Fairgrounds, both she and Don have painted barns, raked pine needles and pitched in to help make the Fair “California’s Most Beautiful.” The Daniels’ passion and dedication to the Fair makes them the perfect candidate for the 2014 Family of the Year.”

For more than 50 years, Don and Anita have been actively involved in the Nevada County Fair. Don has been involved in the Fair since 1951, when he participated in his first horse show at Lions Lake. He was a charter Nevada Union FFA member, has roped calves and steers at the Fairs rodeos, and judged horse shows. Additionally, he has played in several bands at the Fair, served as a local 4H Beef Leader, and volunteered at work days at the Fairgrounds. Throughout the years, he and Anita have also volunteered in numerous booths on Treat Street.

Anita has been participating in the Fair since 1955, when she joined 4H and entered club projects in canning, baking, sewing, horses and hogs. She participated in the 4H Dress Revue, continued to enter exhibits in the Fair, and even won a blue ribbon for her marmalade. She has assisted at the Junior Livestock Auction, worked in the Bingo booth, and assisted with the Idol Competition. Most recently, as President of the Rotary Club of Grass Valley, she initiated the first Rotary at Work Clean-Up Day at the Fairgrounds, which involved all five western Nevada County Rotary Clubs, and created the largest one-day community service project conducted in the county.

“The Fair is so important to us because it brings everyone together for good, family fun,” says Anita. “It teaches our young people the rewards of hard work, and it truly promotes pride in our community.”

(Photo: Shaffers Originals)