From award winning music festivals to legendary holiday celebrations, Nevada County’s communities are alive with year-round events. Whether you’re a foodie fanatic, a mountain biking fiend, or just looking for good ole fashioned family fun, you’ll find a festival or special event that shines the spotlight on your interests.
Grass Valley Farmers Market
Four decades and seven cucumbers ago, Grass Valley’s Farmers Market has been providing visitors and locals alike an opportunity to pick up locally grown produce. Seasonally running every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the spring and into the fall, this is your chance to listen to live music and even get tips from the pros on gardening. You’ll find a wide variety of goods from free-range eggs to mouthwatering berries.
This isn’t the only farmers market either. For a full rundown, be sure to check out our article – Farm 2 Fork – Grass Valley Farmers Market & Others In Nevada County.
It isn’t summer until Truckee Thursdays begin. Every Thursday starting in late June, the center of Truckee turns into a feel-good gathering. Expect live music to dance to. Craft beer and wine to savor. A Foodie’s paradise to explore. Local artisans to peruse. It’s no wonder that everyone puts this near the top of their must-do list for summer fun.
Hot Summer Nights
What Thursday nights are to Truckee, Wednesday nights in July are to Nevada City. The historic section of town shuts down the roads to vehicles and opens its doors to art, food, drink, and music. Enjoy a meal and unwind with local music. Have your kiddos expend some of that energy by jumping about in a bouncy house.
4th Of July
Since 1902, the communities of Grass Valley and Nevada City rotate who hosts the 4th of July each year. Festivities include the beloved small-town parade, fireworks, and finishing off with the Streets Evening Festival.
Up in the mountains, Truckee also hosts a big shin dig to celebrate America’s birthday. Starting off with the Firecracker Mile, the celebration moves over to a good ole fashioned parade through town. Finally, the fun finishes off with a BBQ and fireworks on Donner Lake or a drone light show on Lake Tahoe. These events definitely near the top of things to do in July.
Sierra Storytelling Festival
What began more than three decades ago by well-known poet, writer, and story-teller Steve Sanfield. Started as a way to keep the art, joy, and tradition of storytelling alive, it has grown to become the “queen of storytelling festivals.” This is your chance to shut off your phone. Open your mind. And take in the power of well-told stories from world-class tellers.
As the name suggests, this music festival showcases not one genre or regional style but a sampling of what the world has to offer. Within the multi-day summer event, you may hear and see as many as fifty artists from around the globe. If you’re a fan of all music, you will NEED to put this event on your things to do list in July.
Nevada County Fair
Held annually in August in “California’s Most Beautiful Fairgrounds” featuring live entertainment, carnival rides and games, barns full of livestock, exhibits, special contests, gold panning, and so much more. It’s no surprise that its voted one of the ten best rural county fairs in the country.
Cornish Christmas Celebration
Kicking off the holiday festivities for the region, the historic and charming town of Grass Valley hosts the Cornish Christmas. Mill and Main Streets are filled with ye olde sights and sounds of Christmas. Carolers, mistletoe, and vendors dressed in Cornish attire that even Tiny Tim would be impressed with. Starting on the last Friday in November, it takes place every Friday through the 3rd Friday in December.
Each holiday season, the gorgeous California Gold Rush Town of Nevada City wears its finest digs and puts on the Victorian Christmas. The aroma of roasted chestnuts fill the air, along with cries of street vendors hawking their wares and lamp-lit streets filled with Christmas treasures. Taking place on two Wednesday evenings and three Sunday afternoons in December, it’s a must do for all.
Wild And Scenic Film Festival
In February, our county hosts one of the nation’s largest environmental and adventure film festivals. Drawing top filmmakers, celebrities, leading activists, social innovators, and well-known world adventurers, you’ll walk away inspired to do your part on keeping this world “Wild and Scenic.”
Bright costumes, beads, and a sense of playfulness, it’s Nevada City’s version of Fat Tuesday except on a Sunday in February. The highlight of the annual event is the Mardi Gras parade. It features dozens of festive floats, marching groups, Burning Man Art Cars, and much more. A fun, festive, and light-hearted event that the whole family can enjoy.