Grass Valley, Ca.

Annual Community Craft Fair Saturday October 21 & Sunday October 22 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. St. Patrick’s Hall 235 Chapel St. Grass Valley, CA Featuring numerous talented artists and crafters. Beautiful and unique items and gifts include: Jewelry, Pottery/Ceramics, Fiber Art/Textiles, Sewn goods, Ornaments, Cards, Photography, Soaps, Candles, Wood Works, Wire Art, and other fabulous creations! Refreshments available. Enjoy finding the perfect gift! See You there Rain or Shine. This Event sponsored by Catholic Ladies Relief Society.

Contact Person Dolores Jones 530 271-0783

The South Yuba River Park Association (SYRPA) invites you to the Bridgeport Fall Festival on Sunday, October 22. Try your hand at gold panning, basket weaving and wool spinning. Take a hay ride in a wagon drawn by a vintage tractor and enjoy an up-close experience with wild birds provided by Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release of Grass Valley. Tours of the 1860s historic barn and 1920s gas station will be available to all. In addition, you can enjoy live music by the Buffalo Gals while picnicking under the shade of the massive mulberry tree.

You can partake in watching your children play games along with face painting, painting pumpkins and making bird feeders. This year’s special attraction will be enactments of the Ghosts of Bridgeport. There is always an abundance of food including BBQ and baked potatoes by Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce, Frozen Yogurt by Culture Shock Yogurt and Root Beer Floats prepared by our expert volunteers.

Visiting with our rangers, volunteers and several local community organizations, such as Audubon, is always pleasant and informative. The “Save Our Bridge” campaign will be represented by volunteers who will be on hand to answer questions about the covered bridge renovation plan. You will have access to peer into the bridge through a fence since it remains closed to all traffic until renovation is completed.

Admission is Free ~ Parking $5

South Yuba State Park-Bridgeport

17660 Pleasant Valley Road

Penn Valley, Ca 95946

For more information call the Visitor Center at:


sierraSNW Fall 2017  10 11  17The Sierra Nevada Winds, conducted by Dr. Robert Halseth, opens its 28th season with their annual fall concert on Saturday, November 18th, 7:30 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 3101 Colusa Highway, Yuba City, CA 95993. The program includes music by Leonard Bernstein, Percy Grainger, Holst, and Sousa. Wine-Dark Sea by John Mackey and J. S. Bach’s Chorale Prelude BWV720, newly commissioned and arranged for wind band by Anthony O’Toole, will be featured. Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for general admission and $7 for seniors and students. For additional information check or call (530) 923-0151.

draft horse 10 4 17

 Winner of the 31st Annual Draft Horse Classic’s Ultimate Hitch Competition – Meadowlake Belgians, owned by David and Patsy Cunningham and based out of Carlton, Oregon. The 2017 Draft Horse Classic results are now posted at Photo credit: J Ann Brodland.

On October 31 Grass Valley Downtown will have kid friendly vendors on Mill Street as they celebrate Halloween with free candy and treats from downtown merchants. Book giveaway courtesy of Community Support Network at the Center for Arts.

Call 530 272 8315 for more information

Nevada City, Ca.

Nevada County is holding its 22nd annual Book Sale at the Eric Rood Administrative Center Lobby, located at 950 Maidu Ave in Nevada City. It’s time to load up and donate all those slightly used books you’ve been meaning to pass on! In preparation for the Book Sale, the County is accepting donated books, in good condition, now until October 20th. You may drop off your donated books inside the east door in the Rood Center Lobby.

The Book Sale begins October 2nd and runs through October 27th. All proceeds go to United Way of Nevada County. Prices range from $.50 for Children’s books to $2 for hardback books. The sale is open to the public; Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm. There are a variety of books on hand, including children’s, cookbooks, fiction and non-fiction. This event is just one of many Nevada County is holding to benefit United Way of Nevada County.

For more information, please call or email Lelia Loomis: (530) 265-1498 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Benefits United Way of Nevada County

Nevada City, Ca.

On Thursday, September 28th, during lunch and dinner, (Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-8:30pm) United Way of Nevada County will be holding a fundraiser, “Dine 4 a Cause” at Bistro 221. The owner, Melissa Bryant, will donate 10% of the day’s sales to United Way of Nevada County. This is a great opportunity for community members to enjoy a delicious meal while giving back to the community.

United Way encourages the community to come have fun and savor some wonderful food at Bistro 221, located at 221 Broad St. in Nevada City. The owner says, “We serve comfort food at its finest using many local ingredients.” The menu offers a vast selection of items from spicy chicken wings to vegetarian fare.

Call 265-0221for more information or to make a reservation. Check out the website at and learn more about this popular dining spot.

All proceeds of this event go to United Way of Nevada County’s Community Impact Fund (CIF) which goes toward helping our community in the area of Basic Needs, including Food, Shelter and Access to Health Care. The funds are directed toward United Way programs and community partner programs that focus on Basic Needs.

United Way of Nevada County envisions a community where all individuals and families achieve their desired potential through healthy lives, education and income stability. United Way of Nevada County’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community

For more information call United Way at 274-8111 or visit

Bridgeport-Penn Valley, Ca.Bridge2 9 27 17

The South Yuba River Park Association (SYRPA) invites you to the Bridgeport Fall Festival on October 22. Try your hand at gold panning, basket weaving and wool spinning. Take a hay ride in a wagon drawn by a vintage tractor and enjoy an up-close experience with wild birds provided by Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release of Grass Valley. Tours of the 1860s historic barn and 1920s gas station will be available to all. In addition, you can enjoy live music by the Buffalo Gals while picnicking under the large shade trees.

You can partake in watching your children play games along with face painting, painting pumpkins and making bird feeders. This year’s special attraction will be enactments of the Ghosts of Bridgeport. There is always an abundance of food including BBQ and baked potatoes by Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce, Frozen Yogurt by Culture Shock Yogurt and Root Beer Floats prepared by our expert volunteers.

Visiting with our rangers, volunteers and several local community organizations, such as Audubon, is always pleasant and informative. The “Save Our Bridge” campaign will be represented by volunteers who will be on hand to answer questions about the covered bridge renovation plan. You will have access to peer into the bridge through a fence since it remains closed to all traffic until renovation is completed.

Save the date and please bring the whole family for this fun event. Admission is free, parking $5.



WHEN: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2017 11am – 4pm


Get behind-the-scenes and meet the stars of the ClassicPeeking out 2016 9 13 17Photo credit: Laurie Ann Martin Photography.

Guided barn tours are available to visitors at this year’s Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair, September 21 – 24, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. The behind-the-scenes tours, led by teamster and assistant show manager, Eleanor Roberts, are another way for visitors to be able to meet and talk with draft horse exhibitors, as well as meet the stars of the Draft Horse Classic.

Guided barn tours are offered on Friday, September 22, at 3 pm and Saturday, September 23, at 2 pm. Advance reservations are highly recommended, as there are a limited number of openings for each tour. The cost for the tour is $15 per person, and advance reservations can be made by calling the Fair Office at (530) 273-6217. If there is still availability, tickets may also be purchased the day of the event at the arena box office.

Each tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and includes meeting the exhibitors and learning about how they got involved with draft horses, discussing and seeing the different draft horse breeds, a show and tell of draft horse equipment, and a discussion about the training of draft horses and what it takes to put a team together. You’ll also get to roam to the various barns on the Fairgrounds to meet the beautiful draft horses.

If you can’t make it to a guided barn tour, the barns are open in between draft horse performances for viewing the draft horses. Additionally, a world class art show, special exhibits, delicious food, vendors selling wares and farming supplies, and a horseshoeing competition are all part of the Harvest Fair, which takes place at the Fairgrounds during all four days of the Classic.

On the Pine Tree Stage, there’s also the Western Music Fest, which features ongoing musical entertainment beginning at 11 am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday evening, from 4:30 – 6 pm, don’t miss James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash; and on Saturday from 4 – 6 pm, Left of Centre and the Country Artists Tribute to Jason Aldean takes the stage. All music at the Western Music Fest is free, so stop by the Fairgrounds, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the music.

The 31st annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair starts Thursday, September 21 and runs through Sunday, September 24 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. The Draft Horse Classic features six performances in the arena, and the Harvest Fair runs throughout the Fairgrounds during the four days of the Classic.

For tickets to the draft horse performances or the barn tours, call the Fairgrounds at 273-6217 or visit


Cindy Maple 9 17 9 13 17Cindy Maple Two of Nevada County’s leading advocates for the local homeless population have been selected as recipients of the 28th Annual Col. William H. "Bill" Lambert Award, which is presented each year as part of Nevada City’s Constitution Day Celebration.

The prestigious Lambert Award is presented by the Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City to recognize outstanding contributions to our community. The award is named in honor of the late Col. William H. Lambert, founder of Nevada City's annual Constitution Day Parade.

This year’s recipients are Joanna Robinson and Cindy Maple, co-founders and longtime supporters of Hospitality House, western Nevada County’s 54-bed emergency homeless shelter for men, women Joanna Robinson 9 17 9 13 17Joanna Robinson and children.

“No two people have changed the landscape of the issue about homelessness in Nevada County more than Joanna Robinson and Cindy Maple,” said Marching Presidents founder David Parker.

“They both have devoted years of great effort to not only providing amazing services to Nevada County’s homeless, but they have actually provided the portal for many people to escape being homeless and restart their lives with self esteem and a positive future.

“The Famous Marching Presidents take great pride in honoring these two outstanding citizens for their outstanding community service,” Parker said.

The Marching Presidents announce the award each year on the eve of the annual Constitution Day Parade, in which they participate. This year's 51st annual parade rolls down Broad Street beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Robinson, widow of the late folksinger U Utah Phillips, is a co-founder of Hospitality House (2005) and remained very active in the successful campaign to build the group’s $1.5 million Utah’s Place shelter in Grass Valley. She is a longtime Nevada City resident and former book store owner.

She is most proud of the group’s work in finding housing for more than 400 formerly homeless folks. “We serve Nevada County residents,” she said. “Hospitality House began and has remained a community endeavor.”

She said she is pleased to accept the Lambert Award “on behalf of the compassionate, generous community that has created Hospitality House. I’m honored to be in the good company of all the past recipients (who include her late husband Utah Phillips in 2006).”

Maple, who was also among the organization’s co-founders, served as Hospitality House executive director and tireless advocate for the homeless for 12 years. She resigned last year and has since moved to Las Vegas.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this award,” she said. “Sharing it with my dear friend and partner in this work, Joanna Robinson, makes it even more special. I’ve been incredibly blessed to do the work of my heart with Hospitality House. Knowing how much Hospitality House has benefited some of our most vulnerable citizens, and that its work is appreciated means a great deal to me.”

Robinson will be a guest of the Marching Presidents in Sunday’s parade and will accept the awards for both herself and Maple at group’s post-parade awards banquet at Miners Foundry.

Past Lambert Award recipients are retired city manager Beryl P. Robinson Jr., former mayor and city clerk Cathy Wilcox-Barnes, longtime parade organizers George and Pat Harper, city councilman and former mayor Pat Dyer, the late real estate broker Jim Mackey, local writer Dave Carter, Chamber of Commerce executive manager Cathy Whittlesey, former mayor Steve Cottrell, businessman Bob Buhlis, retired Nevada County general services director Dennis Cassella, John Christensen, a leader of community efforts to establish the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum; cartoonist R.L. "Crabman" Crabb, business owners Lee and Susan Thurston, Nevada City public works director Verne Taylor, the late historian Edwin Tyson, the late folksinger/activist U Utah Phillips, city engineer Bill Falconi, Marching Presidents organizer Patti Foster, retired school administrator Karen Chizek, musician Mikail Graham, retired county librarian Madelyn Helling, local builder Gary Tintle, former mayors Paul Matson and Reinette Senum, Nevada City Film Festival Director Jesse Locks and Nevada City musician and producer Paul Emery. Marching Presidents founder David Parker was honored with the group's 20th anniversary award.

The Marching Presidents is a fun-loving and educational group that portrays all 45 U.S. Presidents with reverence, good humor and varying degrees of historical accuracy. For reliable information on U.S. Presidents, see

Fast and Fit, Women’s Gym and Personal Training Studio, is hosting a document shredding fundraiser to benefit the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Infusion Center.

The fundraiser will take place in the Fast and Fit Parking Lot at the Village Center, 760 S. Auburn Street, Grass Valley located 200 yards from McKnight Way and across from A&A Sheet Metal.

Members of the community are invited to bring boxes approximately 10x12x15 of personal documents, employee records, bank records and photographs, etc. which will be shredded on site by Secure Record Management of Auburn.

Prior arrangements can be made for a few boxes to be dropped off the day before by calling Fast and Fit at 273-5862 and a donation made at that time.

More than 10 boxes per car/family will be safely transported to Secure Record Management’s facility in Auburn for shredding.

Volunteers will unload your car and return your boxes to you.

A $5 donation, per box, is suggested.

Fast and Fit for Women was founded in 2002 to provide women with a non-intimidating environment in which to exercise. For more information go to or call 273-5862.

Grass Valley, Ca.

Cascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a classic car show on Friday, August 25 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Guests are invited to the community for a 50s-themed evening of classic cars and rock and roll. Enjoy listening to the greatest hits of the decade and enter to win raffle prizes. Retro, drive-in diner fare, including hot dogs, fries and milkshakes, will be available for purchase.

All proceeds from concessions and raffles will be donated to the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation’s campaign, Remember Me: The Face Behind Dementia. The campaign raises funds to support the nearly 3,000 people in the community dealing with Alzheimer's through telephone and in person counseling, respite care to those in need and community education and outreach.

For more information, please call Cascades of Grass Valley at 530-272-8002.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, Nevada County, California–On Saturday, September 9, 2017, from 11 am-4 pm, malakoff 8 16 17Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins and California State Parks will jointly commemorate the French heritage of the park, and unveil two new interpretive panels that are the result of recent research into its French and French Canadian pioneers.

162 years ago, the French army toppled the impenetrable Malakoff Tower, thereby ending a 10-month siege by French and English forces upon the Russian naval port of Sebastopol. French people all over the world celebrated France’s victory in the Crimean War. A mock Malakoff tower was created in the streets of San Francisco, and French miners drawn to the Sierra during the Gold Rush gave the name to their claims. Hundreds of thousands of French-speaking immigrants were lured to California to participate in what has been called the greatest migration in history. The famous Malakoff Mine is testimony to their presence.

Recent study has found that their influence at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park was widespread. Entrepreneurs designed massive water systems and hydraulic ventures, opened hotels and businesses, and planted gardens. They dominated the local scene at the Park for 15 years, laying the groundwork to the nation’s biggest hydraulic operation of the day, the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company, which was commonly called the French Company for years. The Malakoff Mine became so large that it was the defendant in the famous federal lawsuit that handed down the Sawyer Decision, the renowned injunction against the laissez-faire practice of polluting waterways.

The Malakoff’s French Connection Festival will commemorate these early French pioneers responsible for much of the early technological and cultural developments at the Park. It will be a festive, lively gathering open to the public with French themed music and dancing, food, wine and beer, games, tours and hikes.

We will unveil newly installed interpretive panels, welcome dignitaries from near and far, and premier an original marionette show explaining the origin of the name Malakoff. World and fusion quartet, Beaucoup Chapeaux, will provide the music. A raffle will be held featuring a grand prize of a week’s lodging in the French Riviera.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is located 26 miles northeast of Nevada City, nestled in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Within the Park’s roughly 3,200 acres of forested hills, lakes, dramatic cliffs, and historic buildings lies the exciting and significant story of the nation’s largest hydraulic gold mining operation and the nation’s first environmental regulation. Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, 23579 North Bloomfield Road, Nevada City, Ca.

Visitors are awed and humbled by the dramatic, multi-colored cliffs of the Park’s main attraction–the remains of a hydraulic mine–a massive, man-made pit carved into the landscape by giant water cannons. The Park was created in 1965 in order to preserve this important part of California’s gold mining history.

Today the Park is often characterized as a place of peace, quiet, and solitude, an ironically drastic shift from the destruction and devastation that created it. Popular activities include historic town tours, hikes through scenic diggings, mountain biking, camping, fishing, and photography.

For more information on Malakoff’s French Connection event, visit

Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins Mission Statement: We enhance the interpretive experience for visitors, promote park-based education for learners of all ages, and support and preserve the natural and cultural resources of Malakoff Diggins SHP.

We also assist other cooperative associations and the State Park System mission for the benefit of the public.

The 51st Annual Constitution Day Parade tops a weekend of festivities Sept. 9 & 10, 2017 in this historic California Gold Rushconstitution day 8 16 17 town. Nevada City’s Constitution Day Parade has been a local tradition since 1967 and is reported to be the oldest and largest Constitution observance in western America.

The 2 p.m. Sunday parade features more than 100 entries and culminates other activities including Revolutionary War Living History in Pioneer Park, the Gold Country Duck Race on Deer Creek.

The parade through the downtown historic district includes marching bands, floats, antique autos, equestrians, politicians and the perennial crowd favorites the Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City, a humorous but reverent group that portrays each U.S. president.

Roger Ingram of Grass Valley has been named the 2017 Blue Ribbon Award recipient by the Nevada County Fairgrounds Roger Ingram Blue Ribbon Recipient   2017 8 16 17Roger Ingram is the recipient of the Western Fairs Association’s Blue Ribbon Award in recognition of his contributions to the agriculture programs at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.Board of Directors. The award was created by Western Fairs Association (WFA), a nonprofit trade association serving the Fair industry, to recognize those who support and contribute to the quality of their local Fair. Roger is recognized for his contributions to the agriculture programs at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Roger’s involvement with the Fair began in 1986 when he started with the UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE). From 1986 – 1993, he served as the 4-H/Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor in Nevada County. His primary responsibility was management of the 4-H program; and, specifically, at the Nevada County Fair, he organized and conducted a livestock judging contest until 1995. He has been instrumental in coordinating carcass quality programs for Fair animals and working with exhibitors and leaders to understand the data and to use it to improve their feeding and management practices.

Additionally, from 2006 – 2011, Roger gave a series of agriculture-related presentations at the Fair as part of the series of workshops coordinated by the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.

Roger became the UCCE Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor in 1993, and the County Director in 2007. During this time, he helped with the development of Nevada County Grown, worked with local meat producers on marketing and processing issues, and worked extensively on agricultural policies and regulations. He has also been involved with the Nevada County Farm Bureau, Nevada County Agricultural Commission, Nevada County Grown, Tahoe Cattlemen’s Association, and Gold Country Sheep Producers Association. Roger retired earlier this year.

“For decades, Roger has been an advocate of local youth in agriculture, particularly the youth at the Nevada County Fair,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “His contributions to the agriculture programs at the Fairgrounds have educated adults and children. Whether it’s participating in the annual Farm Day, assisting with agricultural youth programs, serving as a guest speaker in the seminar series at the Fair, or assisting the kids at the Fair – his work is invaluable.”

“I am both honored and humbled to receive the Blue Ribbon Award,” said Roger. “The Nevada County Fair holds such a deep connection with local residents, and it has been an honor to serve the residents of Nevada County.”

Roger was recognized at Opening Day Ceremony of the Fair on August 9. The 2017 Nevada County Fair is August 9 – 13. For information, visit


Start New Class

The Goldancers Square Dance club will be starting a new beginners class in September. If you are looking for a fun way to meet new friends and get a little exercise and and lots of laughter in your life, this is the spot. We meet at the Golden Empire Grange located at 11363 Grange Ct. off La Barr Meadows Rd, about 1/4 mile past the Chevron station. Classes will start on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6:00 p.m and end at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday. The first three September lessons, Sept. 14, 21 and 28, are free. No fancy clothes required and no partner needed (but helpful). Come and see what square dancing is all about and see how much fun it really is! For more info, you can call Laura at 530-432-8571 or Barbara at 530-272-9986 or send us an e-mail -- Laura is at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Barbara is at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
1 John 3:1a [ ESV ]

In providing The Hangout, a fun and safe afterschool gathering place, Grace Lutheran Church has been serving the Grass Valley/Nevada City Community for eight years.

The church is God’s sanctuary for not only high school students but for everyone. Please join us every Sunday at 9 AM to hear more about all God provides for you and your family.

The Hangout will begin welcoming students for the 2017-18 School Year on August 21st, and every day school is in session, from 2:30 to 6 PM. Parents, guardians, and families are encouraged to stop by and tour The Hangout as well as meeting Director Deaconess Froh, Pastor Kent Schaaf, and volunteers.

Grace Lutheran Church is located next to Nevada Union High School at 1979 Ridge Road, Grass Valley. For more information please telephone us at 530.273.7043.

Grace Lutheran Church is the sponsor of “The Lutheran Hour” broadcast on KNCO Radio every Sunday morning at 7:30.

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
Psalm 36:7 [ ESV ]

Your friends at Grace Lutheran Church
Fellowship with us online @:

No pre-registration required. Show up 15 minutes before event and have fun!Special Events Tent jello 8 9 17

At the Nevada County Fair, August 9 – 13, there are exciting contests and activities happening each day of the Fair! Here are a few of the fun contests planned for this year’s Fair.

New this year is the Bubble Gum Blow Off on Friday from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. The biggest bubble in each category will earn the biggest prizes, and bubble gum blowers of all ages are invited to join the fun. Also new is the Frozen T-Shirt Challenge on Thursday and Sunday from 3 – 4:30 pm. Shirts are doused with water, scrunched and frozen; and the object is to be the first to thaw the t-shirt and successfully fit your head and arms into the shirt. Entrants receive a free t-shirt.

With the “Sea You at the Fair!” theme, we have fun activities like the Pool Noodle Sea Life, where Fair-goers turn pool noodle pieces into floating sail boats and other seafaring critters on Thursday and Friday from 2 – 3 pm; Egg Carton Sea Creatures on Wednesday and Thursday from 1 – 2 pm; and Fun in the Sun Kids Games featuring pool noodle games, beach ball hockey and turtle relays on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from noon – 1 pm.

A returning favorite this year is the Jell-O Eatin’ Contest on Wednesday from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Be the first to finish a bowl of Jell-O and whipped cream without using your hands! Also returning this year is the Live Art Battle on Saturday from 1:30 – 4:30 pm. Artists of all ages will have 20 minutes to create a painting, and then the audience will vote for their favorite. All supplies provided. Entry forms are available online or at the Fair Office.

If you love creating with Duct Tape, don’t miss the Duct Tape Art Challenge. Kids and adults will have 30 minutes to create an item or thing. Some tape will be available for use; however, if your project requires specific colors/patterns or supplies, please provide. Happening on Sunday; kids contest at 1 pm; adults 1:45 pm.

We’ve also got Seafaring Squash Mobile Races on Friday at noon, “Minute to Win It” fun each day from 4:30 – 5:30 pm, and karaoke happening every night from 8 – 11 pm and Sunday from 8 – 10 pm.

There are no entry forms for these events (except Live Art Battle) – just show up 15 minutes early at the Special Events Tent and get ready to play. Lots of fun and great prizes!

For a complete list of special contests and activities at this year’s Fair, August 9 – 13, visit

By Courtney Ferguson2017 08 25 22.51.21 8 9 17Master craftsmen Bob Hansen (L) and Ed Kittredge (R) painstakingly restore a damaged window to its former glory, while fellow volunteer Steve Wolf admires their attention to detail.

“When I say clanking, groaning and moving, I’m not referring to the fifteen members of the Over-the-Hill Gang,” quipped ‘gang’ leader, Tom Newmark. “I’m referring to Empire Mine’s mechanical equipment – and how one of our goals is to make that equipment move again, so visitors enjoy a riveting, authentic experience. Rather than having our Tour Guides talk about the mine machines, isn’t it more exciting to see them in action?”

The Over the Hill Gang has been busy maintaining and improving the Park since around 1976. “We tackle the tasks that our State Park staff may not have the time, funds or specialized skills to accomplish,” he said. At 86 years young, Newmark admits that, like many of the Gang’s members, his involvement keeps him challenged and active. “We’re all retired,” he explained, “and our work here makes a difference to the Park’s appeal and safety. We’re not only able to use our skills, but we’re always improving them – and often, learning new ones. While our ages range from 70 to 90 plus, our spirit is unstoppable.”

Quiet craftsmen hard at work

Early each Tuesday and Thursday morning, The Over-the-Hill Gang meets at the Park. Examples of their combined expertise include restoring the two-stamp stamp mill and adding dramatic lighting and sound to the mine model in the Visitor Center. They’ve designed and built the popular Blacksmith Shop, Compressor House and other buildings to replicate the ones from Empire’s hard-rock heydays, dating from the late 1800s to the mid-1950s when Empire closed. The photography for the interpretive panels and the traditional iron stands they’re displayed on are further evidence of the Gang’s craftsmanship in action. “We are passionate about the Park,” Newmark added. “Time and weather mean constant deterioration. Add the fact that everything we do must meet the State Parks’ standards for authenticity, using traditional techniques – and there’s always a new challenge; yet that’s what makes it fun.” Predictably, over time, everything from the leaded windows in the Clubhouse, Cottage and old offices to the machinery in the mine yard needs attention, and the Over-the-Hill Gang has the quiet craftsmen to get this vital jobs done. In addition to the restoration-and-repair work they do, the Gang also prepares the Park for its annual special events, including the Mother’s Day Springtime Event, Holidays at Empire Mine – and the 122nd Miners Picnic coming up on August 26th.

It’s a costly, on-going process, and funds for materials come from sales in the Park’s popular Gift Shop. Both the Gang and the Gift Shop are part of Empire Mine Park Association (EMPA, for short). EMPA is dedicated to raising and donating funds to support the Park.

Tom Newmark’s team includes Bill Blount, Tom Bumgarner, Deane Dvoracek, Bob Flannigan,

Jay Hansell, Bob Hansen, Ed Kittredge, Gary Larsen, Jim Schroeder, Dick Spoerer, Alan Trood, Jim Ward, Steve Wolf and Bert Wymer. Several are from the Auburn area. While not official members, retired Supervising Ranger Don Schmidt and former EMPA President Jim Dierberger frequently share their time and talents on special projects. “We have a serious need for help with painting right now,” Newmark added. “Maybe someone will read this, and get in touch.” For further information about the Over-the-Hill Gang, contact Volunteer Coordinator, Lauren Wilson at the Visitor Center, (530) 273-8522. For further information about Empire Mine Park Association, visit

Courtney Ferguson is a freelance writer and EMPA’s Outreach Coordinator and Publicist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photos by Courtney Ferguson


2017 08 25 22.11.53 8 9 17Over-the-Hill Gang leader, Tom Newmark (l) and fellow volunteer Jay Hansell discuss what’s next on the Park’s never-ending list of “things to do.”


by Wendy Oaks, Nevada County FairgroundsKaren Henderson and Jim Drew Hall of Fame   2017 8 9 17Karen Henderson and Jim Drew. Photo by Shaffers Originals

Karen Henderson and Jim Drew, along with Robin Hauck, have been named to the Nevada County Fair’s Hall of Fame.

Henderson and Drew have been attending the Nevada County Fair since childhood and were both Nevada Union FFA members who exhibited steers, market hogs, and lambs. They went on to become local agriculture teachers and FFA advisors for a combined total of 56 years. They have been buyers at the Junior Livestock Auction for almost 20 years, and help with the livestock sale each year; and Henderson served on the Nevada County Fair Board of Directors for five years. Additionally, their six children and two of their grandchildren have exhibited livestock as well.

“We have deep roots in the Fair and truly love what the Fair means to our community,” said Henderson. “The Fair and the Fairgrounds is a rich piece of history and cornerstone to our community’s agriculture heritage. When you realize the first high school agriculture classes were held in the Main Exhibit Building, the thousands of young people who learned about agriculture and developed a strong work ethic by exhibiting, the community activities and gatherings, you will understand why Jim and I know the Fair is vital to Nevada County.”

Henderson currently works fulltime for Live Wire Products Inc, her parent’s business in Penn Valley. She also raises project and freezer lambs, gardens, and recently qualified to enter the Boston Marathon for 2018. She is also on the Nevada County Farm Bureau Board. Drew was recently elected President of the Nevada Joint Union School District Board, and also serves on the Nevada County Resource Conservation Board and the Nevada County Livestock Producers Board. He works a large garden and vineyard on their property, and is an avid fisherman. Both are members of The Range, shooting weekly in the handgun league.

“Karen and Jim are an integral part of our Fair’s agriculture community,” said Rea Callender, Fairgrounds CEO. “They have dedicated countless hours to youth and Nevada County agriculture, and we are grateful for their service.”

Robin Hauck served as the Deputy Manager of the Nevada County Fairgrounds from 2009 until she retired in March. Prior to working at the Nevada County Fair, she was CEO of the Merced County Fair for four years, worked for the El Dorado County Fair for 17 years and the Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace, and served as a fair industry consultant.

Hauck, who grew up in Loomis, showed at and visited Fairs throughout California during her childhood. “My roots are in agriculture, and so is the Fair,” said Hauck. “The Fair provides a forum for the promotion and education of agriculture, the exchange of information, a celebration of our traditions and to recall our history. The Fair does all of this with charm, excitement and the competitive spirit – and I’m proud to be part of the industry.”

While at the Fairgrounds, Hauck founded several community service projects, including the Fair’s partnership with local libraries for their summer reading program and Ag-Sperience at the Fair (where Fair-goers can learn about agriculture in Nevada County). She also founded Community Involvement Day, which recently received the Western Fairs Association’s Merrill Award, the Fair industry’s highest honor.

“These community-based programs at the Fair are here because of Robin’s vision,” said Callender. “We are fortunate to have had Robin at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for the past 8 years, and I thank Robin for her years of service and dedication to the Fair industry, to the Nevada County Fairgrounds, and to the community,” said Callender.

Hauck is the current Treasurer of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation Board.

Henderson, Drew and Hauck will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at opening day ceremony on August 9, and will receive a portrait donated by Shaffers Originals of Grass Valley. The 2017 Nevada County Fair is August 9 – 13. For information, visit Hauck Hall of Fame   2017 8 9 17Robin Hauck. Photo by Shaffers Original