California – less dreaming, more doing

There is a veritable smorgasbord of games afoot in California’s gold country in the coming days and months. Whether you’re looking for a fair, a feast, a bike ride, a horse ride, or just some sweet sumer tunes, Cali’s got you covered:

For Gourmands

Belltower Brewfest

June 25

It’s a street party and beerfest rolled into one. Beer lovers get introduced to new beers at this event with samples of 40 different craft microbrews on hand from Mendocino to Santa Cruz. The historic Placerville Main Street is closed off to normal traffic for the festivities with live bands’ music taking their place.

Calaveras Grape Stomp and Gold Rush Street Fair
October 6

Watch an old fashioned grape stomp in the quaint town of Murphys (be careful if you sit in the front row!) or be a participant in at this autumn celebration. Competitors decide who will muck and who will stomp. Many come dressed in costume to add to the celebration. The town’s Main Street closes for the Street Faire with local vendors and wineries.

For Cowboys and Firemen

53rd Annual Fireman’s Muster 
May 5-6

Volunteer fire crews from around the western United States have met for the last 52 years to compete in a variety of challenges such as horse cart races, bucket brigade, hand pumper contest and skills competition.  The weekend includes a unique parade on Main Street Saturday at 10 a.m. and is topped off with a dance Saturday night. The entire event is presented by the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department Engine No. 1.  Admission is free.

Mother Lode Round Up
May 12-13 (Mothers Day weekend)

In its 55th year, the Annual Mother Lode Round-Up is a tribute to the western heritage of Tuolumne County and a chance to Cowboy up in the historic town of Sonora. A number of events take place including Queen Horsemanship and Pageant, band review, dance and one of the longest parades in California on Saturday May 12 at 10 a.m. More than 50,000 people watch the parade roll down Washington Street in downtown Sonora. Every year more than 350 of pro rodeo’s finest cowboys and cowgirls are attracted to two days of the Mother Lode Round-Up Rodeo event.

Folsom Pro Rodeo
June 29-July 1, Folsom

One of Gold Country’s favorite July 4th holiday events features wild rodeo action and fun for the entire family.  The event also offers nightly fireworks and a high-flying motorcross act.

For Carnivaliers

Doris Foppiano, 1962…with frog


Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee

Here we have a case of life imitating art imitating life. Since being immortalized by Mark Twain’s short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, the bug-eyed amphibian has gone on to achieve international star status. With roots dating back to 1983, individuals and teams (and their frogs) haved flocked to Calaveras County to participate in the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Frog jumping participants can either being their own or borrow a frog and attempt to beat the world record set by Rosie the Ribeter in 1986.The Fair also includes a childrens parade, rodeo, destruction derby, livestock exhibits, musical entertainment, midway rides, country crafts, and both amateur and professional art exhibits.

159th Annual California State Fair
July 12-29, Sacramento

Top-name entertainment, California county exhibits, livestock nursery, culinary delights, award-winning wines, micro-brews, a magnificent midway and nightly fireworks are traditions that attract fairgoers in droves.

For Cyclists

June 8-10, Folsom

Cycle enthusiasts of all ages celebrate everything wheely during this fun event with all types of cycling, from mountain bikes to street speed races and a special opportunity to enjoy trails near Folsom Prison. A festival and expo will show off all the latest gadgets and equipment for cycle geeks.

Nevada City Bike Classic
June 17, Nevada City

One of America’s top cycling events celebrates its 52nd anniversary this year and many of the nation’s top cyclists are expected to be on hand in historic downtown Nevada City.  It is the oldest and largest bike race on the West Coast, and the second-oldest race in the nation.  Historic Nevada City is draped with flags and bunting and provides a colorful backdrop as cyclists whiz through the downtown area, spokes flashing and crowds cheering.   Action begins at 1:00 p.m. and the last cyclist is seen about six hours later.

For musos

Fishtank Ensemble…performing at California Worldfest 2012

California Worldfest
July 12 – 15, Grass Valley

This extraordinary musical experience at the Nevada County Fairgrounds features eight stages of music and dance from around the world, camping with family and friends, workshops, international food, fine crafts, and a renowned children’s program.

The moderate temperatures among the cool, tall pines of the Sierra foothills make this a perfect setting for three days of outdoor music and fun.

Ironstone Vineyards Summer Concert Series
various dates, Murphys

The Ironstone Vineyards summer concert series welcomes visitors from near and far to kick back under the stars for an unforgettable music experience.  The 2012 concert series includes Reba McIntire, John Fogherty, Tony Bennett and Jeff Foxworthy, to name a few. A full dinner and wine option is available within the amphitheatre during the show, or in advance.

Sacramento Music Festival
May 25-28, Sacramento

Musical excitement takes over the city Memorial Day weekend featuring 400 live music acts by 70 bands at 24 venues. It’s one giant party that permeates Old Sacramento and the Downtown area with the sounds of New Orleans jazz, blues, zydeco and cajun, swing, rockabilly, ragtime, mariachi and more. Single day passes and all-event festival passes can be purchased at

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