Category Archives: Grass Valley

Examiner.com writes about the Empire Mine

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After receiving a familiarization tour invitation by Nevada County Tourism, travel writer Susan Alcorn wrote about her recent visit in an article titled “Exploring the Gold Country: Grass Valley’s Empire Mine,” which ran on October 20, 2014 in Examiner.com.

“There’s still gold in “them ‘thar hills,” and “there’s millions in it” may have originally referred to a ridge in Dahlonega, GA, back in the 1840s, but it was—and still is—also an apt description of the Gold Country’s Empire Mine near Grass Valley, Calif. Between 1850 and 1956, the Empire Mine produced 5.8 million ounces of gold making it the richest mine in California. When you visit this State Historic Park, you won’t be able to travel the 367 miles of underground shafts, but you can look down at one of the shafts and can also view the fascinating model of the vast network in the visitor center.

“Gold was discovered by James Marshall in 1848, but his employer, John Sutter, fearing that his quiet way of life would be lost forever, tried to keep the find quiet. Word was leaked, however, and soon the cry of “Eureka” was heard around the world. California’s Gold Rush began. It’s estimated that California’s non-Indian population was 14,000 in 1848; 100,000 by the end of 1849, and 250,000 by 1852. Most of the men who came to the foothills in the hope of finding easy riches did not find it. By the mid-1870s, mining had become more of a business and the men who went to work for the mine operators or corporations instead found dangerous, hard work and low pay.

“The Empire Mine employed thousands of men—70% of whom were Cornish—to work the hard rock mine. When the mine was in full operation, a dozen or more men at a time would pile into open cars and be lowered with cables along a pair of metal tracks thousands of feet beneath the ground. These same railroad-type tracks were also used to bring the metal ore cars to the surface. The typical miner’s 10-hour day, for which he may have earned $3.50, was hardly the grand adventure he had hoped for.

“When visiting the Empire Mine yard, you’ll find several of the original buildings and much of the original mining equipment—including the headframe (also known as the “gallows frame”) and the stamp mill (which was used to crush the ore). One building worth spending a few moments in is the blacksmith’s shop. The blacksmith had a very important role: it was he who fashioned repairs to the heavy metal equipment and supplied the miners with some practical equipment—such as ‘sticks to place in the wall of the mine to hold their candles.”

To read the full article, visit Examiner.com.

(photos: Susan Alcorn, Empire Mine State Historic Park)

What’s up in Nevada County November through December, 2014

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COUNTY

North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center Upcoming Events
17894 Tyler Foote Road, Nevada City, CA

Linsey Aitken & Ken Campbell Concert
Friday, November 7, 2014
Doors 7:00 p.m.
 Show 8:00 p.m.

$15 advance/member, $20 door
To purchase tickets, visit NorthColumbaiSchoolhouse.org.

Linsey Aitken and Ken Campbell hail from Loch Lomond, Scotland, and will be performing one of the best Songbooks in contemporary Scots acoustic music incorporating vocals, cello, guitar, Northumbrian pipes, piano, and laud. Linsey Aitken is a highly regarded cellist and vocalist crossing genres from classical to folk, trained on cello and piano at the RSAMD. She has performed professionally all over the UK from the Royal Albert Hall to the sands of Calgary Bay in Mull. Ken Campbell – Scottish singer-songwriter with a well-established pedigree over 30 years and with five albums to date, festivals, concerts, TV and radio throughout Europe, USA and beyond.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival Encore
Friday, November 14, 2014
Doors Open at 6:00 p.m.; Films will show from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15 Schoolhouse and SYRCL Members or Advance; 
$18 Door

$8 Kids 5 to 12 (Kids under 5 are free)
To purchase tickets, visit NorthColubmiaSchoolhouse.org.

For the second consecutive year, Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour will be making an appearance on the San Juan Ridge at the historic North Columbia Schoolhouse. SYRCL and the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center have partnered to bring an encore presentation of films from the 2014 Wild & Scenic Festival. A series of shorter films will be arranged around one longer feature.

Holiday Craft Faire
Saturday, December 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 7, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The San Juan Ridge is known for its rich collection of artists and craftspeople. Come to the annual Holiday Craft Faire and experience the works of talented craftspeople, shop for some gifts, and savor soups and hot drinks at the annual Holiday Craft Faire hosted by the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center. This two-day event brings to life the one-room schoolhouse set atop Columbia Hill. Admission is free. Visitors from afar will have the chance to enjoy a scenic drive leaving behind the relative hustle and bustle of town to do some holiday shopping in this classic, natural setting.

Country Christmas Faire
Nevada County Fairgrounds
11228 McCourtney Rd, Grass Valley, CA
Friday, November 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, November 29 and 30 from 10 a.m.m to 4 p.m.
$4 Admission fee

Rated as one of the top handcrafted shows in Northern California, the Country Christmas Faire, held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, features unique gifts and crafts from top artisans from across the state. Exhibit buildings will be filled during the Thanksgiving weekend, giving shoppers a chance to start their holiday shopping with quality hand-made holiday items, ornaments, jewelry, wooden crafts, soaps and lotions, hand-woven baskets, stained glass, candles, beadwork, and dozens of other unique gifts. Visitors to the Faire will enjoy strolling live entertainment, festival foods, the magical Gingerbread House exhibit, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, errand elves, and a community bon-fire. Wagon rides around the Fairgrounds will be offered; Free childcare. To learn more about the Faire, visit NevadaCountyFaire.com.

Music in the Mountains “Holiday Pops – Celebrate the Magic”
Amaral Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds
Saturday, December 13 at 11:00 a.m. Children are free
Saturday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets – $10 – $50
For tickets, visit MusicInTheMountains.org.

Join Music in the Mountains for Holiday Pops – Celebrate the Magic, a turbo-boost performance of symphonic rock arranged by Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans Siberian Orchestra, and of course, your favorite carols. The concert begins with Choral Director, Mr. Ryan Murphy leading the Music in the Mountain’s Festival Chorale accompanied by 28-piece chamber orchestra. On Saturday morning, children are invited to a special Children’s Holiday Concert. Rumor has it Santa Claus may make an appearance.

Double Oak Vineyard & Winery celebrates its 29th Harvest and 18th Vintage at their Harvest Open House on Saturday, November 8 from 1 to 5 p.m. Tour the winery with winemaker Bob Hilsman, barrel taste, sample the new and current releases, as well as reserve wines. Savory gourmet hors d’oeuvres will be paired with fine wine.

Popular local musician James Carlson will be performing with his fine acoustic guitar. He is playing a delightful mix of country and folk with his own original style and material. A great line-up of fine artists and craftpersons offering a fine selection of wood creations, collages and mosaics, textiles and weavings, and photographs. Admission is $7; Wine Club members and their guests $5 and includes a logo wine glass.

Nevada County Restaurant Week
January 23, 2015 through February 1, 2015
Participating restaurants throughout Nevada County

Nevada County Tourism in partnership the Grass Valley Downtown Association, the Nevada City Chamber, the South Nevada County Chamber, the Penn Valley Chamber, the Truckee Chamber, the Greater Grass Valley Chamber and Sierra FoodWineArt magazine, are excited to announce Nevada County Restaurant Week 2015. The event will be held in conjunction with Visit California’s statewide California Restaurant Month. During Nevada County Restaurant Week, restaurants located throughout the County will be offering, “deals,” specials and prix-fixe menus enticing local “foodies” as well as regional visitors to come and experience a new restaurant or one of your favorites or both. A full listing of restaurants participating in Restaurant Week along with their menus will be made available on GoNevadaCounty.com.

GRASS VALLEY

Two New Event Centers Open in Grass Valley

The Foothills Event Center is Nevada County’s newest upscale venue located in the beautiful foothills of Northern California. Whether your event is an intimate evening, a business luncheon, or a wedding reception with live music, The Foothills Event Center can easily accommodate your needs. With plenty of on-site parking for over 200 cars along with bus parking, blazing fast fiber optic internet, and an open floor plan that accommodates any size group, we are excited to share The Foothills Event Center with you. The Foothills Event Center is located at 400 Idaho-Maryland Drive in Grass Valley. To learn more about this facility, visit FoothillsEvents.com.

The Historic Binkelman Brewery Building at the Grass Valley Courtyard Suites was remodeled in April and added 1,300 square feet of state-of-the-art mix-use meeting space, as well as four additional rooms to the boutique hotel’s inventory.

Born in Wurtenburg, Germany on January 2, 1828, David Binkelmann came to Grass Valley in 1853. The brick brewery was constructed in 1861 replacing a smaller 1856 frame building on North Auburn Street. Binkelmann ran the brewery until his death on May 23, 1884. Leaving his wife Sophie to carry-on until her death in 1915, when the brewery was bequeathed to her son, David J. Binkelmann. The Grass Valley Courtyard Suites is located at 210 South Auburn Street in Grass Valley. To learn more about the property, visit GVCourtyardSuites.com.

The 47th Annual Cornish Christmas Celebration
Historic Downtown Grass Valley, CA
Held the four Fridays beginning Friday, November 28; December 5,12,19 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Since 1967, as a way to preserve Grass Valley’s Cornish heritage and holiday traditions, Historic Downtown Grass Valley streets are closed and filled with the sights and sounds of an old fashioned Christmas. The rooftops of beautifully restored historic buildings are lined with white lights. Handmade arts and crafts from artists throughout California are displayed, and delicious food and drinks from a number of Grass Valley restaurants and specialty food vendors are available. New this year, a FREE shuttle service from the Nevada County Fairgrounds to downtown Grass Valley. To learn more about this year’s Cornish Christmas, visit HistoricGrassValley.com.

Holidays at the Mine
Empire Mine State Historic Park
10791 E. Empire Street, Grass Valley, CA
Friday, November 28 and Saturday, November 29, 2014
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Be transported back to the early 1900′s when Empire Mine was ranked one of the oldest, largest, and most prosperous hard-rock gold mines in North America. Historic Bourn Cottage will be decked out in holiday splendor and old-fashioned decorations. Docents in lavish, turn-of-the-century costumes will portray Mr. & Mrs. William Bourn, as well as Jr., Mr., and Mrs. George Starr. Enjoy live Celtic music performed by the String Sisters. Children can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in the nearby clubhouse, where they can share their heartfelt holiday wishes.

InConcert Sierra2014/2015 Third Sunday Concerts
Seventh-Day Adventist Church
12889 Osborne Hill Drive, Grass Valley, CA
Sunday, October 19, November 16 & December 21

To learn more about the Third Sunday Concerts and see the rest of the 2014/2015 season, visit InConcertSierra.org.

Dances for the Season – Holiday Special
Saturday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 21 at 2 p.m.

There’s no better way to close out 2014 than by enjoying holiday favorites with the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra with conductor Ken Hardin and assistant conductor Toon Vandevorst. Spreading holiday cheer with carols and celebratory songs, the program will include the premiere of a medley of carols arranged and orchestrated by Toon Vandevorst.

Jennifer Stumm, viola
Sunday, January 18, 2015 – 2:00 p.m.

Hailed by The Washington Post for the “opal-like beauty” and “phosphorescent energy” of her playing, and First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, violist Jennifer Stumm is internationally recognized as a musical innovator and dynamic advocate for her instrument. She was honored to give a TEDx presentation at the 2011 Aldeburgh Festival, which she entitled “An Imperfect Instrument,” and through a unique mixture of talk and performance, Stumm offers a compelling meditation on the viola’s capacity for emotion– and for making beautiful music. The subsequent video of her presentation was selected as an ‘Editor’s Pick’ of all talks on Ted.com.

The Center for the Arts Upcoming Events
314 W. Main Street, Grass Valley, CA

The 3rd Annual California Banjo Extravaganza
Thursday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m.
$22 members, $25 non-member

The 3rd Annual California Banjo Extravaganza lifts off with five-string favorite Bill Evans bringing in Tony Furtado and Mark Johnson, along with a band of bluegrass all-stars. Mark Johnson is the 2012 recipient of the Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Northern California native Tony Furtado’s entrance onto the national stage came with him winning two National Banjo Championships while still a teenager and performing with Laurie Lewis’ band. He has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and shared the concert stage with such names as Greg Allman, Derek Trucks and Sonny Landreth. San Francisco Bay Area musician Bill Evans is an internationally recognized banjo life force, acclaimed for his playing, teaching and writing. The author of Banjo For Dummies, the most popular banjo instructional book in the world, Bill’s 2012 CD In Good Company features 26 guest artists. To learn more about this event, visit TheCenterForTheArts.org.

The Windham Hill Winter Solstice Celebration featuring Will Ackerman, Barbara Higbie and Liz Story with Todd Boston
Sunday, December 21 at 7 p.m.
$25 members, $28 non-member

Three captivating artists who rose to fame recording for the Windham Hill label come together to celebrate the holiday season. Windham Hill “new age” image doesn’t do justice to the passionate singer, pianist, fiddler and guitarist Barbara Higbie, whom writer Derk Richardson described as “a jazz pianist who can write and sing like Laura Nyro and Carol King, a prize-winning folk fiddler who will interpret a John Coltrane tune through a French vocal.” Higbie, whose musical associates have included Bonnie Raitt, Bobby McFerrin and Carlos Santana, put together this Winter Solstice ensemble with GRAMMY-nominated pianist Liz Story and the guitar playing Windham Hill label founder, Will Ackerman. To learn more about this concert, visit TheCenterForTheArts.org.

NEVADA CITY

A new 150-foot suspension bridge hanging above Deer Creek on the Tribute Trail in Nevada City is open. Hanging four stories over Deer Creek in Nevada City, a new bridge is complete, adding another connection to the overall Tribute Trail network. The bridge creates a loop connection from Champion Mine Road along the existing Tribute Trail to the Environs trail, which stretches on the other side of the bridge to Zion Street via Providence Mine Road. The bridge itself is built to be “dynamic” in order to be flexible, meaning it sways, wobbles and bounces a little.

Forest Trails Alliance, designed and built the striking masonry abutments on either side of the bridge, as well as designed and built an elaborate stone-encrusted half-mile access trail leading to the bridge. The new segment of the trail and bridge pays tribute to the Nisenan people of the Nevada City Rancheria, who also contributed indigenous native plants to replace the invasive species cleared by another partner group, American Rivers, which also cleared excess fuel to make the area more fire-safe. Near the petroglyph and on either side of the bridge are curved, blue-dyed concrete “waves,” designed to add an enchantment worthy of the striking downtowns of Grass Valley and Nevada City.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is tentatively set for October 28 with many state and local officials including California’s Secretary for Resources John Laird and state Assemblyman Brian Dahle, are expected to attend.

Bear Yuba Land Trust has the most current information and maps of the trail at BYLT.org.

Artisans Festival
Miners Foundry Cultural Center
325 Spring Street, Nevada City, CA
Friday, November 28 and Saturday, November 29

Celebrate the start of holiday season at the 17th Annual Artisans Festival at the historic Miners Foundry Cultural Center, Thanksgiving weekend. This year’s Artisans Festival will be like no other with a celebratory atmosphere of installation art, performance art, children’s art activities, and an Acoustic Café and Wine Bar all backing incredible artisans, many of whom are new to the festival.

36th Annual Victorian Christmas
Downtown Historic Nevada City, CA
Sundays, December 7, 14 and 21 from 1:30 to 6 p.m.
Wednesdays, December 10 and 14 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Welcome the holiday season in style in historic Nevada City, a quaint, Gold Rush town nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Sierra where each year the town’s picturesque downtown transforms into a genuine Christmas card come to life. It’s a magical setting of hilly streets outlined with twinkling white lights and authentic gas lamps, wandering minstrels and carolers dressed in Victorian attire, and a myriad of visitors sharing holiday cheer and good tidings. Victorian Christmas has become an annual family tradition that features holiday activities for all ages! Enjoy carriage rides, live entertainment, savory yuletide treats and libations, and of course, Father Christmas! For more information, visit NevadaCityChamber.com.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival
South Yuba River Citizens League
Screenings in Downtown Nevada City and Downtown Grass Valley
Thursday, January 15 through Sunday, January 18, 2015

This January, SYRCL’s (South Yuba River Citizens League) 13th Annual Wild & Scenic® Film Festival returns with another incredible selection of films to change your world. Each year, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival draws top filmmakers, celebrities, leading activists, social innovators and well-known world adventurers to the historic downtown areas of Nevada City and Grass Valley, California. The theme this year is, “A Wild Life”. Many of the adventurers and activists featured in our films live “wild lives” and we intend to honor their not-so-mainstream choices, often thought to be a little on the wild side.

Considered one of the nation’s premiere environmental and adventure film festivals, festival-goers can expect to see award winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture, Native American and indigenous cultures. This year’s selections will not only take audiences to some of the most remote and beautiful places on the planet, but also instill a deep appreciation and a sense of wonder for the natural world that surrounds and supports us. Learn more about the film festival by visiting WildAndScenicFilmFestival.org.

Art at Wild & Scenic

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is proud to partner with Nevada County Arts for the fourth year in an effort to increase awareness of the intersection between arts and the environment. More than 40 businesses, wineries, cafes and galleries will exhibit selected art during the 13th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival. “Exhibiting Wild & Scenic art adds another layer to the festival experience and immerses attendees in an environmental experience throughout town,” says Melinda Booth, Film Festival Director. Learn more here.

TRUCKEE

Boreal Mountain Ski Resort celebrates their 50-Year Anniversary in 2015 Season

During the winter of 1964-65, a small ski area named Boreal opened atop of Donner Summit. Almost half a century later, it’s a thriving ski & snowboard resort with a state-of-the-art action sports facility. Fifty years is a long time and Boreal plans on throwing a season-long party and rolling out killer dealers to commemorate this exciting milestone. Learn more about the ski resort by visiting RideBoreal.com.

Fifty Fifty Brewing Company Annual Eclipse Release Party
11197 Brockway Rd, Truckee, CA
Thursday, December 4

Fifty Fifty Brewing Company will celebrate their annual ECLIPSE™ Release Party on December 4th. Eclipse is only released once a year due to the extensive brewing and aging process. This award winning Imperial Stout is put it in oak bourbon barrels then aged for six months. Party includes tasting of previous years Eclipse, plus other 5050 barrel-aging project, commemorative bottle of Eclipse and Eclipse logo snifter glasses, gourmet cheeses, artisan bread, charcuterie, and beer-inspired appetizers and early access to purchase 2014 Eclipse, as well as other vintage Eclipse styles. Learn more by visiting FiftyFiftyBrewing.com.

38th Annual Donner Lake Turkey Trot and the Mashed Potato Mile
Donner Lake, Truckee, CA
Saturday, November 15, 2014, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
$25-$40 registration fee

The idea of a fun race around Donner Lake was hatched back in 1976 by a small group of enthusiastic runners who wanted to make room for all the turkey and pies they were going to be eating in the weeks ahead. Thirty-eight years later the Donner Lake Turkey Trot is a popular event attracting runners from Reno, Sacramento & The Bay Area as well as many locals who enjoy the excuse to support a good cause & get out for a morning run/walk. Auburn Ski Club Junior Nordic Team organizes the race as a fundraiser and a way to get ready for the ski season. The race happens regardless of the weather — snowstorms, below freezing temperatures, ice, rain or beautiful sunny days – guaranteed to be fun! To learn more and register, please visit AuburnSkiClub.com.

New disc golf mobile map available

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A cool, new disc golf mobile map is now available for Condon Park’s disc golf course. You can download the app by scanning the QR code or, type in http://bit.ly/1sagGFk (the hyperlink is case sensitive) to be taken to the site directly from your laptop. The map was created by Nevada County Geographic Information Systems intern Daniel Kitowski. The app enables players to see a map of the course, plot their current location, then see distance and obstacles to the next hole.

Read more about the boom in disc golf in Nevada County here.

(Map: Nevada County Geographic Information Systems)

Thrillist names Grass Valley as one of their top 9 Under-the-Radar road trips

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“For the next time you step in some sidewalk poop and think to yourself, “Man, I could really use nine under-the-radar road trip options that are within driving distance of SF right about now”, here are exactly those — all “under-the-radar”, because the last thing you want to do is drive a few hours and then bump into everyone you’ve ever met as soon as you get out of the car (looking at you, Napa and Tahoe),” writes Thrillist last week.

“Grass Valley, CA
Distance from San Francisco: 143 miles; 2.5-hour drive
Why: It’s a little taste of what it might have been like in the wild, wild west. But without the gun fights. Three things to do while you’re there:

“1. Eat at The Willo, a roadhouse 15 minutes out of town where you can cook your own steak on the grill in the dining room. Or they’ll cook it for you, if you’re too fancy for that (which you’re not, right?).

“2. Check out Empire Mine, the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. Pack a picnic and pour one out for the 44 mules who spent their lives deep in the mines, pulling ore cars and never seeing the light of day.

“3. Stay at The Holbrooke, whose guest book was signed by Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland (they were both presidents, in case you failed US history) and whose saloon downstairs is said to be the oldest continuously operating saloon west of the Mississippi (yup, they were even open during Prohibition).”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

(photo: Larry Myhre)

Metropolitan Opera live in HD at Del Oro Theatre

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This weekend catch the Metropolitan Opera “live” in HD at the Del Oro Theatre thanks to a partnership with InConcert Sierra, Music in the Mountains and Sierra Cinemas.

Experience the ninth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series The Met: Live in HD in select cinemas nationwide. The broadcast of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro will be presented live on Saturday, October 18 at 9:55 a.m.

Music Director James Levine conducts a spirited new production of Mozart’s masterpiece, directed by Richard Eyre, who sets the action of this classic domestic comedy during the gilded age of the late 1920s. Dashing bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov leads the cast in the title role of the clever servant, opposite Marlis Petersen as his bride, Susanna, with Peter Mattei as the philandering Count they work for, Marina Poplavskaya as the long-suffering Countess, and Isabel Leonard as the libidinous pageboy, Cherubino.

Purchase your tickets here.

Open Studios & Art Tour begins this weekend

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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

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

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, YBONC.org.

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)

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)