Category Archives: Events & Happenings

Draft Horse Classic this weekend!

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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!

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

Get out and enjoy Nevada County over Labor Day weekend

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Start your Saturday by stocking up for the weekend at either the Nevada County Certified Growers Market in at the North Star House in Grass Valley from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Nevada City Farmers Market on Coyote Street from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m, or the Foothills Farmers Market at the Truckee River Regional Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Take a late summer dip at beautiful Scotts Flat Lake off Highway 20 a couple miles outside of Nevada City or in the South Yuba River, accessible at several locations throughout Nevada County.

There are hiking paths galore throughout Nevada County. Check out the Truckee Legacy Trail, the Loney Meadow Interpretive Trail or the wheelchair accessible Independence Trail that follows the Yuba River canyon. Whether your hiking, biking or looking for equestrian trails, find your perfect trail using Nevada County’s interactive trail web map.

Draft Horse Classic tickets on sale now

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Majestic Draft Horse performances, breath-taking competitions, and seeing a Draft Horse “up-close” are all part of the festivities at the 28th annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair, September 18 – 21, at the beautiful Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. 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.

Tickets to this event are on-sale now. Once again, we’re offering discounted pricing on adult admission tickets for evening performances, as well as on morning performances and children’s tickets. 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 There is a small transaction fee if you order your tickets on-line. Choose from six performances!

Although there is a charge for the Draft Horse performances in the arena, admission to the Fairgrounds is free so all can enjoy the many activities of the Harvest Fair happening during the four days of the Classic. Visit the grounds to enjoy western music, Harvest Fair agricultural competitions and hundreds of community exhibits, a clogging jamboree, horse shoeing demonstrations, delicious food on Treat Street, and artwork at Art at the Classic. Plus, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the barns and meet the famous Draft Horses up-close.

On Saturday of the Classic, it’s the Backyard BBQ and Chef’s Challenge Rib Cook-Off, happening from 1 – 3:30 pm. Whether you want to show off your cooking skills or simply join the fun and taste the treats – we’ve got it all in one place. Tasting tickets and alcoholic beverages will be available to purchase at the event.

On Sunday, September 21, enjoy the Fall-like weather underneath the tall pine trees for Bounty of the County. Sponsored by Nevada County Grown, Bounty of the County takes place from 1 – 4 pm and is a pairing of fabulous local chefs with the produce and meats of Nevada County Grown farmers and ranchers. This is local, fresh, and delicious food at its best – and a feast for your palate. Information is available at

The Nevada County Fairgrounds is located on McCourtney Road in Grass Valley, just 50 miles northeast of Sacramento. The phone number is (530) 273-6217. Visit for tickets to the Draft Horse Classic and for more information.

Rock legend Melissa Ethridge to perform in Grass Valley (video)

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The Center for the Arts is pleased to bring rock legend and Academy Award winner Melissa Etheridge to Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium on September 18.

Etheridge will play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica and piano.

“I enjoy doing the solo shows not only get to ready for a new album, I also love to dive into my catalogue of songs and bring a new freshness to my older material. It is such an intimate experience with the audience, and it is truly one of my favorite ways to perform,” said Etheridge.

Watch a performance of Ethridge’s “I’m The Only One”:

In February 2007, Etheridge received an Academy Award in the “Best Song” category for “I Need to Wake Up,” written for Al Gore’s documentary about global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Born in Leavenworth, Kansas, Etheridge picked up the guitar at eight and began playing in local bands in her teens. After high school, Etheridge was accepted as a student at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, but left after only one year to make her way as a performer in Los Angeles.

She developed a strong following for her bluesy vocal style and riveting stage presence.

After the release of her debut album, “Melissa Etheridge” (1988), she was invited to sing on the 1989 Grammy Awards broadcast. She won a Grammy Award in 1992 for the song, “Ain’t It Heavy.” Her second Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Performance came with the song, “Come to My Window” on her fourth album, “Yes I Am” (1993).
In 1995, Etheridge issued her highest charting album, “Your Little Secret.” The following year, Etheridge received the “Songwriter of the Year” honor at the ASCAP Pop Awards.

Etheridge continued to write, record, and tour throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium, releasing: “Skin” (2001) and the upbeat “Lucky” (2004) along with her DVDs “Live And Alone” (2002) and “Lucky Live” (2004). 2005 marked the release of Greatest Hits: “The Road Less Traveled,” which includes “I Run for Life.”

In April 2007, Etheridge received the distinguished ASCAP Founders Award and released her ninth studio album, “The Awakening,” selected by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of their Top 50 Albums of 2007. In 2009, Melissa released her 10th studio album, “Fearless Love.”

In 2011, Etheridge received her Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2012, she released her album “4th St. Feeling.” When Etheridge is not touring the world, she records her syndicated Melissa Etheridge Radio Show for daily broadcast on stations throughout the US and Canada.

To learn more or purchase tickets, click here.

“Etheridge lets it all hang out with her commanding, crackling voice and deliberate guitar strums.” – Rolling Stone

“Ms. Etheridge gave each big chorus the additional heft of her voice, still a raspy and incandescent howl.” – The New York Times

“Melissa Etheridge was baring her soul and we got to enjoy this amazing musical confessional.” – Atlantic City Weekly