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The Style Magazine 2015 El Dorado County Foothills Summer Fun Guide

06/01/2015 09:56AM ● Published by Style

Photo courtesy of Folsom Parks and Recreation

We know, we know: This summer you’ll be lying on a white sandy beach working on your tan somewhere tropical, somewhere far, far away. Well, we thought we’d put together this handy, dandy summer-fun-filled guide anyway—since it’s going to be so difficult to reach you, you might want to know where we’ll be. And who knows, you might find it useful when that exotic-beachy-whatever plan falls through. It’s good to be prepared.

Beer Me

 What better way to while away a sweltering summer afternoon than sipping (responsibly) on craft brew with your comrades? Whether it’s visiting a microbrewery and imbibing in a flight, or attending a local beer fest, there’s more than one way to get your brew on.

El Dorado Hills-based Mraz Brewing already expanded into a new 3,000-foot brewing and tasting area, in addition to their Francisco Drive facility. To really cool down, head to Cool Beerwerks for live music, tasty grub and authentic handcrafted ales. Up the hill in Camino, enjoy fresh air and ales at Jack Russell Farm Brewery; food trucks can oftentimes be found on the weekends, and there’s plenty of outside seating (thanks to a recent remodel that resulted in a large outdoor patio). If that’s not buzz-worthy enough, than get your tickets to the Bell Tower Brewfest. Taking place June 27 along Main Street in downtown Placerville from 6-9 p.m., over 40 craft breweries will be on tap (pun intended) serving samples, along with live music and more.


Wineries with Something to Do 

Don’t miss all the “grape” entertainment going on at local wineries this summer. Enjoy wine and music at Boeger Winery’s Sunset Sippin’ Fridays, every Friday from 5 p.m. till late, June 11 through August 27; Casque Wines offers free Fridays on the Patio beginning at 5 p.m. through October, with live music the first Friday of every month; Dono dal Cielo has free live music every Saturday from 1.30-4.30 p.m. (donodalcielo); enjoy a Weekly Wine Down every Friday with live music at Wise Villa Winery; don’t miss Helwig Winery’s monthly summer concert series beginning June 27 at 8 p.m.; Crystal Basin Cellars also has a free summer concert series on Saturdays from 4.30-8 p.m. and Sundays from 4-7.30 p.m.; and Sundays from 4-7.30 p.m.; and put on your dancing shoes for Vina Castellano’s Tango in La Cava introductory tango class on June 27. Summertime is also the perfect time to enjoy a game of bocce ball. Check out Fenton Herriott VineyardsCharles B. Mitchell VineyardsVino NoccetoAndis Wines or Saluti Cellars, which has a horseshoe pit as well—just to name a few. If art is more your scene, check out the Charles Spinetta Winery and Wildlife Gallery (charlesspinettawinery.com); or the monthly paint and pour at Miner’s Leap Winery in Clarksburg; Bonitata Boutique Wine is located inside the Bernhard Museum in Auburn, so you can take a tour of the museum after your tasting.

Fairs & Festivals

What’s that delightful smell wafting on the summer breeze? It’s funnel cake, which means it’s fair time! The big daddy of them all, the 161st Annual California State Fair runs July 10-26 at Cal Expo. County fair-wise, El Dorado County Fair’s “Hog Days of Summer” takes place June 18-21 at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville; the Placer County Fair proves “There’s No Place Like Placer” from June 25-28 at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville; enjoy “Country Tunes and Midway Blooms” at the Amador County Fair from July 23-26 at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth; the Nevada County Fair invites you to “Catch the Fair Bug” from August 12-16 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley; and “the original free gate fair,” the Yolo County Fair, runs August 19-23 at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland. 

California’s fruit and vegetable basket overflows through the summer with a cornucopia of food festivals. Don’t miss the Marysville Peach Festival from July 17-18, the Sloughhouse Davis Ranch Corn Festival from July 11-12, the Cortland Pear Fair on July 26, the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 24, the Woodland Tomato Festival on August 8, the Sacramento Banana Festival from August 8-9, or the Fair Oaks Chicken Festival on September 19. 

If you’re feeling crafty, check out the Placerville Craft Faire on August 23; if you missed out on a “miracle” for the Grateful Dead reunion tour, check out the next best thing at the Ain’t Necessarily Dead Festival, a free Grateful Dead tribute concert on July 25 from 1-10 p.m. at Auburn Regional Park; or attend the Auburn Ukulele Festival from August 14-15.

Those with a bit of extra dough and a love for live tunes won’t want to miss the plethora of music 

fests on tap. Treat Dad to the Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival on June 21 in Grass Valley; make the long trek up to beautiful Laytonville from June 25-28 to see Steve Earle, Smoky Robinson, Judy Collins and more at the Kate Wolf Music Festival at Black Oak Ranch; get your hippy-jam-band groove on at the High Sierra Music Festival featuring The String Cheese Incident, from July 2-5 in Quincy; show your love for local music at the First Annual Placerville Music Festival on July 12 at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds; if you love roots music, head on over to the American River Music Festival at Henningsen-Lotus Park just outside Coloma from September 18-21. This year’s Outside Lands, August 7-9 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, boasts headliners Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Elton John, Sam Smith, D’Angelo & The Vanguard and more; or, if your Facebook feed needs livening up, head into the desert for the Mad Max art installation that is Burning Man, from August 30 to September 7 in Black Rock City, Nevada.

Best Place for a Picnic

 Head over to Amador Flower Farm in Plymouth for a “blooming” gorgeous picnic by the pond under spreading oaks; or bring the family to Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park near Pine Grove for beautifully scenic picnic areas (plus there’s loads to explore in the park, including a museum and some excellent trails). Newly opened in February, El Dorado Hills’ Tam O’Shanter Parklet boasts over 150 trees planted by resident Jim Miner, to whom the parklet is now dedicated. Mr Miner maintained the area for 27 years, and now we have him to thank for a lovely picnic area. Be sure to make the trip to Empire Mine State Historic Park for the 120th Annual Miners Picnic on Saturday, August 29. Bring your own picnic or purchase food at the park, and enjoy loads of special activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., including a thrilling mine rescue at high noon; free admission for children under six.

Where to Watch Fireworks

The Folsom Pro Rodeo doesn’t just have Fourth of July fireworks; in Folsom it’s go big or go home! The rodeo runs July 2-4 and features fireworks every night.

The Placer County Fair will have fireworks at the All American Speedway on July 4. 

Check out the Fourth of July Family Blast at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville from 4-10 p.m. 

Head to the El Dorado Hills Town Center for a Fireworks and Freedom Concert on July 3.

You can always go with the classic crowd-pleaser: the Fourth of July fireworks Extravaganza at Cal Expo.

Mix in a bit of America’s favorite pastime on America’s birthday at Raley Field for their Fourth Annual Fourth on the Field and fireworks display.

If you want big, you won’t get much bigger than the Lights on the Lake fireworks at Lake Tahoe. Fireworks are visible all over town, but check out the website for tips on primo viewing locations.

Water Works

No pool? No problem! There are great and affordable water recreation areas at your local public parks. Check out the Marshall Inflatable Obstacle Course at the El Dorado Hills Community Pool (evening and weekend sessions only), the Splash Zone at Promontory Community Park in El Dorado Hills, and the Community Center Pool in Cameron Park, John Kemp Community Park in Folsom, or the Folsom Aquatics Center at Lembi Park. Don’t miss the 16th Annual Cameron Park Summer Spectacular—featuring swimming at the lagoon, a kids’ carnival and a huge fireworks spectacular—on June 27 at Cameron Park Lake from 2-11 p.m.


 Free Summer Concerts 

The hills will be alive this summer with Plymouth’s Music in the Air Concert series every Friday at 7 p.m. through September on the Hines Park Lincoln Stage in Kellogg Park.

Amador Arts TGIF Summer Concert Arts’ series begins June 12 and continues every Friday through August from 6 p.m. till dusk. The El Dorado Hills Summer Concerts in the Park series begins June 5 at 7 p.m. and continues every Friday through the summer. Live on the Boulevard, the Thursday night El Dorado Hills Town Center’s concert series, goes from June 19 through September 11 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

If you really want to head up the hill, there’s always Music on the Beach at Kings Beach on Fridays from 6:30-9 p.m., June 19 through August 7 (excluding July 3). 

Can’t -Miss Plays

 The Harris Center will delight young and old this summer when the El Dorado Musical Theatre presents Disney’s Mulan, Jr., a Rising Stars Production featuring performers ages 6-13, based on the 1998 Disney movie, running July 10-19.

Roseville Theater Arts Academy will get our summertime toes tapping with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from July 17-25, and the delightfully, wordily titled The Saga of Sweet Hannah Sue, Or Is All That’s Swedish Sweet? from August 6-7.

Rocklin Community Theater presents Nice Work If You Can Get It, a lively musical featuring well-known songs from George and Ira Gershwin, at the Finnish Temperance Hall from July 10-26.

Placer Community Theater presents a comedy about a man and his rabbit, the classic Harvey, from June 13-27 at the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center in Auburn’s Historic State Theater.

It’ll be springtime for you-know-who this summer when Sierra Stages presents Mel Brooks’ classic musical The Producers from July 16 through August 8 at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City.

Imagination Theater in Placerville will present See How They Run, a fantastically funny farce, running September 11 through October 4.

Volcano Theater Company presents Thornton Wilder’s quintessential American play Our Town, August 7 through September 5 at the Amphitheater.

Summer Reading Programs for Kids

The El Dorado County Library’s Summer Reading programs commence in June with an “Every Hero Has a Story” ice cream social and reading kick-off party on June 10 at the Pollock Pines Library at 1 p.m.; on June 13 from 1-3 p.m., the El Dorado Hills Branch Library will host their kick-off party with a superhero obstacle course, photo booth and more. Folsom Public Library’s Summer Reading program runs through July 31 and features a range of activities including music, magic, story times and a puppet show. 

New Music For a Summer Party

Music is a swimming pool, and the best way to get wet is to dive on in. Here’s a sampler from the year so far to keep you afloat.


 “Little Red Wagon,” Miranda Lambert

“Only One,” Kanye and Paul McCartney

“Hurricane,” MisterWives

“Style,” Taylor Swift

“Doing It,” Charlie XCX

“In Love With Fire,” London Richards

“Take U There,” Missy Elliot remix

“Colors,” Genevieve

“Stitches,” Shawn Mendes

“Bad Believer,” St. Vincent

Summer Camps for All

 In Placerville  your kids can work on their swing and start dreaming of the green jacket at Apple Mountain Golf Course’s Junior Golf Camp (ages 6-17) starting June 9, or start training for a future World Cup spot at the Placerville Futbal Club Coed Soccer Skills Camp (ages 5-17) starting June 15.

There’s no better way to spend summer in the foothills than on horseback, and Sundance Springs Ranch in Shingle Springs offers fantastic day camps (ages 2 and up) from June 8 onwards. Learn horsemanship basics, how to ride, and how to care for the horse from a local farrier and vet. Plus, you can cool off in their pool afterwards.

Camp offerings in Cameron Park include a Summer Kids Camp (grades 1-7) featuring weekly themes (sessions begin June 1 and continue through August 3), field trips, swimming, cooking, drama and more. Other camp offerings include a Fine Arts Camp (ages 7-13), Sterling “Smooth” Forbes Basketball Camp (ages 5 and up) and Tennis Camp (sessions for ages 5-7, 8-12 and teens), among others.

 In El Dorado Hills  your little ones (ages 3-6) will be well taken care of at the Lil Campers Day Camp at Froggie Frontier Preschool beginning June 1; creatively minded kids (ages 7-13) should check out the Fine Arts Camp beginning June 8, or Theater Arts Camp (ages 8-18) starting June 22; become the next Tiger Woods at the Junior Golf Camp (ages 8-17) starting June 22, the next Lionel Messi at the EURO Soccer Camp (ages 5-15) starting June 22, or the next Andre Agassi at the Junior Tennis Camp (ages 7-17), starting June 8. 

5 Staycation Ideas 

Get lost in your own backyard…

1/A wonderful place for families is the Cameron Park Rotary Community Observatory in Placerville (open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30-10:30 p.m.). Bring the kids for an unforgettable evening with the night sky! 

2/Explore beautiful underground caverns at the Black Chasm Cavern in Volcano, a national natural landmark. 

3/Visit one of the best-maintained gold mines in the area and check out the working stamp mill at the Kentucky Mine Museum, near Sierra City off Highway 49. Check out the working stamp mill!

4/ Celebrate the history and continuing role railroads play today in moving passengers and freight in the Placer County region at Colfax Railroad Days. Admission is free; this year’s event runs September 12-13.

5/Take a day trip to the Bay area and visit Muir Woods—see trees as old as the state of California in nature’s very own cathedral, located in Golden Gate National Park. Everyone needs to hug a redwood tree at least once in their life.

10 Camping Recipes

Bring a can of crescent roll dough, wrap the dough around a stick and put it over the campfire or better still, wrap that dough around a hot dog on a stick for a “crescent dog.” Take a can of cinnamon roll dough, put rolls in hollowed out oranges, cook over the coals and then put them right in your face. Grab a can of biscuit dough, cut a hole in the middle of the biscuit, dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar and fry in a skillet; voila, campfire donuts! 

If you’re above “cans of dough” or you don’t understand what a “can of dough” even is, try fancy glamping fondue: grab a wheel of your favorite brie or camembert, poke holes in it, pour brandy over the top, wrap in foil and stick in the coals until you have drunken melty cheese.

Instead of a marshmallow, you can try roasting Starburst on a stick (warning: molten!); or just stick with marshmallows. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here, people. However, “campfire cones” are the best thing ever: Fill a sugar cone with chocolate pieces, marshmallows, whatever you want, wrap in foil and cook until deliciously melty and then top with whipped cream. I guess you could put Starburst in there, too? 

Not so much a recipe as a neat breakfast party trick, try campfire bacon, aka artfully weaving bacon onto toasting forks and frying over the campfire.

The Venn diagrams of “Camping Food and College Dorm Food” intersect at omelet in a bag: Dump all of your omelet ingredients into a Ziploc bag, put it in a pot of simmering water, and then question your life choices. Or ditch the bag omelet and eat a campfire apple filled with Nutella with a big old smile on your face. Yes, it’s a thing…a beautiful, beautiful thing.

-by Sharon Penny


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