Category Archives: Grass Valley

Outdoor Theater Returns to Nevada County

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During a one night performance, Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) and Quest Theaterworks will bring the return of outdoor summer theater back to Nevada County audiences with the production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Quest Theaterworks will present a fun, revised version of Twelfth Night – “a big broad comedy with some poignancy” – to the North Star House at 5 p.m. Saturday July 5. Families are invited to bring a picnic supper on the lawn to watch the play considered accessible for modern audiences. Beer, wine and desserts will be available for purchase.

Outdoor theater has a more festival feel, says Artist Directory Scott Ewing. Think Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival or Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In recent years, the historic North Star House designed by the famed architect Julia Morgan and run by the North Star Conservancy has become a community venue for concerts and other events.

With community support, BYLT conserves beautiful local open spaces forever, builds miles of trails and provides dozens of outings and experiences for young and old to connect with nature. “We wanted to partner with Bear Yuba Land Trust to help them out. The North Star House seemed like a beautiful place to bring outdoor theater back to Nevada County,” said Ewing.

This is the first Shakespeare production for the touring theater group. Preeminent actress of the region, Director Trish Adair has directed Shakespeare in the past. Ewing was a partner and business manager of “Reduced Shakespeare Company,” which performed condensed versions of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays each night. The company toured all over the world.

The play centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. The play focuses on the Countess Olivia falling in love with Viola (who is disguised as a boy), and Sebastian in turn falling in love with Olivia.

“It’s Downton Abbey, Shakespeare Style… “This play is a lot of fun and ultimately about bullying and how we treat each other,” Ewing said. Quest Theaterworks slogan is, “theater that entertains, engages and enlightens.” Plays are designed to give audiences a good experience and something to think about.

Bear Yuba Land Trust Community Program Manager Melony Vance first became enthralled by the quality of Quest Theaterworks with their production of Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” at the Elks Lodge in Grass Valley.

“Quest Theaterworks is known for producing quality shows using unusual and interesting venues. Not a traditional theatrical setting, we all sat around the edges of the room while the play took place in the center. The actors were so believable, we all had tears in our eyes by the end of the show,” said Vance.

Tickets cost $40 in advance and supports Bear Yuba Land Trust and Quest Theaterworks. For an additional $20, theater lovers will have the opportunity to pre-purchase tickets for a VIP Cast Reception following the show. It’s an opportunity to mingle with the actors and director in a private room of the historic North Star House. Hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer will be included

This is a bring-your-own-chair event. On the lawn, ticketholders will find a section in front for blankets, a middle section for low chairs and a section in the rear for high chairs. Shade canopies will be allowed in the rear section only. Picnics are encouraged and beer, wine and desserts will be available for purchase. No outside alcohol please.

For every five tickets purchased, get one free.
To purchase tickets online, visit here.

(Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust)

WorldFest, a 4-Day World Music Festival

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WorldFest, a 4-Day World Music Festival at the Grass Valley Fairgrounds Thursday through Sunday, July 10-13.

More than 6,000 attendees a day enjoy World-Class performers from 10 AM to 11 PM on 8 stages at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, “California’s most beautiful fairground,” with BIG trees and rolling lawns.

At this year’s WorldFest enjoy music, dancing, workshops, crafts, games and parades for ALL AGES.

This year’s talent features world-class headliners from the US and abroad along with return appearances by WorldFest favorites. Many of the performers are scheduled to give workshops on one of the festivals 8 stages giving fans a chance to listen and interact close-up.

Camping among the pines has become increasingly popular – this year over 2,500 folks are expected to camp out. Groups return each year creating elaborate collective campsites, sharing food and jamming (often joined by main stage performers) late into the night.

Focus on women performers with 50%+ women driven shows. Community & Culture – Native People’s Village, Aruvedic workshops, Soul Shake Dance Church, Yoga & Tai Chi, Workshops and Jamming, Sustainable and Green.

Drawing inspiration from the Vancouver Folk Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, MerleFest in North Carolina, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the Newport Folk Festival, the California WorldFest includes eight performance stages, a complete children’s program, a community outreach history and a pledge to present the finest artists and performers from throughout our world.

From Afro/Pop to Bulgarian Harmonies, Latin to Bluegrass, Scottish fiddle tunes to Rock & Roll, Jumpin’ Jazz to Gypsy, Folk to New Acoustic, Mariachi to Electronica, Swing Jazz to Tex Mex, Bollywood to the newest Celtic incarnations, the California WorldFest is the home of our globes finest music and dance.

EASY ACCESS within 1 hours drive from Sacramento.
For more details go to

(Photo: WorldFest)

Memorial Bridge Tours on May 26

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Participate in one of three tours of memorial bridges dedicated to Vietnam War and Operation Freedom Veterans on May 26, 2014.

The purpose of the tours is to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our American freedoms and liberties.

The tours are sponsored by Friends of Nevada County Military and will begin at Pioneer Park in Nevada City after the 9 a.m. Veterans of Foreign War ceremony with a bike tour to the Grass Valley Veterans’ Hall. The American Legion services begin at 11 a.m. at the Vets Hall after which the walking and bus tours will begin at approximately 1 p.m. and end at about 3 p.m.

For more information contact one of the following organizers: Pat Nelson (477-8480), Catherine Ione-Perkins (906-3668), Louise Bock (913-8969) or Joyce Yaksick (615-1920).

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Western stars including Clint Walker coming to Gold Rush Days in Grass Valley

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The Grass Valley Downtown Association is honored to announce that this year’s Gold Rush Days will feature western movie and television stars Clint Walker, Johnny Crawford, Peter Sherayko and Charlie LeSueur on June 21-22 in historic Downtown Grass Valley.

Clint Walker is a local legend best known for his cowboy role as “Cheyenne Bodie” in the western television series “Cheyenne”; Johnny Crawford was nominated for an Emmy award at age 13 for his role as the son of Lucas McCain (played by Chuck Connors) in “The Rifleman.”

Peter Sherayko is an actor, historian and filmmaker best known for his work on western movies such as “Tombstone” and television shows like “Deadwood” for HBO; and Charlie LeSueur is a well-known Western film historian, writer and actor.

Gold Rush Days, now in its second year, will feature two days of non-stop action. With help from our friends from the Empire Mine State Historic Park, South Yuba Trust, Nevada County Historical Society and the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, Gold Rush Days will take you back in time to 1853.

Both Saturday and Sunday from 10-5 p.m. we will feature reenactments, gold panning, blacksmithing, demonstrations, music, exhibits, a Saturday night “Hoe-Down” and BBQ, Sunday morning cowboy church followed by a pancake breakfast benefiting the Hospice of the Foothills and more.

“We are absolutely honored to have the opportunity to host these celebrities here in Grass Valley. We will be showing some of their films at 151 Union Square during the event, and visitors will have an opportunity to meet them” said Julia Jordan, Executive Director.

For more information about Gold Rush Days, call 530-272-8315 or visit

2014 Nevada City Dirt Classic Bike Races

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2014 Nevada City Dirt Classic Bike Races

This year’s Nevada City Dirt Classic x-c bike race series dates are June 14, June 29 and July 27. Enjoy trails of Nevada County with three special days of x-c bike racing.

Make it a Father’s Day weekend by participating Saturday, June 14 in Race 1 which features the course at Osborne Hill, Grass Valley, a local’s favorite; this is the most technical course. Stay overnight for the Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race on Sunday, June 15 to watch world-class bicycle riders compete.

Race 2 takes place on Sunday, June 29 and features the Dascombe/Pioneer Trails in the Tahoe National Forest along Highway 20.

Race 3 will be held on Saturday, July 12 also along the Dascombe/Pioneer Trails in the Tahoe National Forest along Highway 20.

The 2014 Nevada City Dirt Classic will be having a Fat Bike racing category, 3.8″ tire minimum.

To register online for this year’s event visit here.

Enjoy all of Nevada County bike trails year-round; see a listing of the trails here.

(Photos: Nevada City Dirt Classic)

Nevada County plans a “Celebration of Trails” for June 7

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What: Celebration of Trails
When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7
Where: Trail Fair Headquarters – Parking Lot, County of Nevada, Rood Center
Cost: Free

Bear Yuba Land Trust is teaming up with the community to host a number of guided outings on local trails in Nevada County for the annual “Celebration of Trails.”

Coinciding with National Trails Day, the event held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7, is open to all and is meant to encourage more people to get outdoors on local trails. More than 20 local organizations, outdoor experts and trail advocates are coming together to organize 14 different outings.

A trails day headquarters will be set up in the parking lot of Nevada County’s Rood Center parking lot, across from the trailhead of the Hirschman Trail. People can stop by for local trail information and maps, grab a cup of coffee and a baked good from Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters and pick up the day’s schedule.

After an introduction by local dignitaries, a number of outings will depart, carpool style from the Rood Center. Afterward, folks will gather at Matteo’s Public for spirits and camaraderie.

Events include a five-mile hike in the South Yuba Canyon led by Hank Meals, three bike rides led by Bicyclists of Nevada County (BONC), a hike at Black Swan led by Stephen Hein of Mendocino Tahoe Conservancy, a day hike at Spenceville Wildlife and Recreation Area led by Richard Thomas of Friends of Spenceville, and a walk on the Hard Rock Trail at Empire Mine led by State Park Ranger Greg Sherr.

They also include equestrian ride at Lone Grave led by Gold Country Trails Council, a family friendly wheelchair accessible nature hunt at Hirschman’s Pond led by Ana Acton of FREED and Robyn Martin of OLALA Farms, and a four-mile hike from Lang’s Crossing to Spaulding Lake led by Sierra Club.

Other events are a guided geology tour at Malakoff Diggins State Park led by Geoscientist David Lawler of Far West Geoscience Foundation, a Nevada City tree tour led by Nevada County Walkers, a walk to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain led by Ray Bryars, a six-mile walk on the Deer Creek Tribute Trail led by Amber Taxiera of The Sierra Fund, and a walk on the Environs Loop Trail led by Ori Chafe of Sierra Streams Institute.

For more information visit:

—Laura Brown, Bear Yuba Land Trust

Suzanne Vega performing in Grass Valley

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Contemporary folk star and Grammy Award winner Suzanne Vega comes to Grass Valley for a special concert presented by The Center for the Arts on May 22.

Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation, Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs.

Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album, she has given sold-out concerts in many of the world’s best-known halls. In performances devoid of outward drama that nevertheless convey deep emotion, Vega sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice that has been described as “a cool, dry sandpaper- brushed near-whisper” and as “plaintive but disarmingly powerful.”

For tickets and more information about the concert, contact the The Center for the Arts.

Watch a live performance of Suzanne Vega here:


Mountain Bike Endurance Ride

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Mountain Bike Endurance Ride
Saturday, May 17, 2014

This year’s Mountain Bike Endurance Ride challenging fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe offers two routes:

50 Miles of demanding, technical trails, mostly single track
45 Miles of moderately technical trails, mostly single track

The 50 mile route follows a beautiful loop out of Nevada City on local trails, including the incomparable South Yuba Trail. The route is comprised of approximately 80% single track, 7,000+ feet of climbing and stunning views of the South Yuba River. It is one of the most memorable and challenging rides you’ll do this year, on road or dirt. This route is a tough ride, roughly equivalent to a difficult road century. It is best suited for advanced, fit mountain bikers. Last year, most participants completed the ride in 7-8 hours.

The 45 mile route is less demanding, but also follows some of the best trails in the area.

For a more detailed description of the trails, click here.

Please note that although there are well stocked food stations on the routes, this is largely a self-supported ride that covers some remote terrain in isolated areas of Nevada County.

New this year will be shorter routes available for those riders who want to support this great cause but are not prepared for the endurance routes. Please contact our office to make arrangements for your route after you register following the instructions below: or (530) 265-2059.

This is a charity ride, so each rider is encouraged to collect at least $250 in sponsorship donations. We also have event sponsors that help offset the costs of the ride. All proceeds raised at this event support our valuable mentoring programs for at-risk children in the Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe region.

To register:

Call Rick Kalb at 530-470-1800
A registration packet will be mailed or emailed to you.
Complete the registration form mailed to you and submit per instructions.
Start collecting pledges! Please note that we have set up a way for our riders to collect pledges online to facilitate their fundraising efforts. To do so, all you need to do is follow the steps outlined in your registration packet. For more information on collecting online pledges, Big Brothers Big Sisters: 530-265-2059 or

Nevada County has lots of bike paths to ride year-round. Here is a list of some of them.

(Photo: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe)

Travel Gumbo writes about the Empire Mine

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A recent tour of the Empire Mine State Historic Park appears on the travel website, Travel Gumbo, complete with several images of the Bourn Cottage and its beautiful grounds as well as the historic mining facilities.

“The park is about a mile from my house in Grass Valley and, though I’d been there before and admired the gardens and the cottage from the outside, I went back the day after Easter to take the tours given every day starting at 1:00,” writes Port Moresby on the travel website Travel Gumbo.

“Our guide, Dan, gave a wonderfully entertaining tour, first an hour devoted to the clubhouse and the cottage, then another hour to the mine, explaining how the technology introduced at the Empire Mine revolutionized hard rock gold mining.”

The rest of the article is here.

(Credit: Travel Gumbo, photo:

Grass Valley’s art scene featured in League of California Cities monthly magazine

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Grass Valley’s art scene is featured in the League of California Cities monthly magazine, Western City, a reminder of its role in the community’s economic development.

The excerpt of the article by Craig Watson, director of the California Arts Council, is here:

“Arts organizations can also play a role in attracting companies to a city, according to Julie Baker, executive director of the Center for the Arts, an independent nonprofit performing arts complex in Grass Valley (pop. 12,638).

“‘We do a lot with local employers,’ says Baker. ‘When people come to this community and see what’s happening, they can’t believe what we’re doing in a small town. Then they say, ‘I guess I could leave the city and live in a small community.’

“Grass Valley City Council Member Lisa Swarthout agrees with Baker. ‘When we’re working to bring jobs here, the arts and culture set us apart from other communities,’ she says. ‘The arts play a vital role in our local economy.

“The Center for the Arts really helped put Grass Valley on the cultural map with artists of high caliber. Local businesses benefit directly. People travel here to see a show or performance at the center and stay for the weekend in local inns. They eat in our restaurants and shop in the stores and galleries.”

“The center also offers classes, workshops and a dance studio, creating synergy in the community.

“Musicians Wynton Marsalis and Ted Nash recently performed in Grass Valley at the Center (see photo below). Marsalis says, ‘We’ve played here several times, and we always have a great time.’ Nash adds, ‘It’s one of our favorite places — a community of people who really appreciate music.’”

The article is here.

(Photos: Center for the Arts; John Taber for The Center)