Labor Day Weekend Family Fun

8/30- 9/3 – Old Sacramento’s Gold Rush Days -Hitch up the team to your buckboard and come on down! Bring the young’uns and the in-laws, the neighbors and the new folk just off the stage from Back East. Heck, bring your sweetheart along for a thrill. During Labor Day Weekend in Old Sacramento you’ll find yourself transported back to the days of Gold and Glory, when California was a brand-new state with brand-new ideas. Join in the truly old-time fun in the world of Yesterday!

More than 200 tons of dirt will pave the streets of Old Sacramento as this annual festival “turns back the clock,” transforming Sacramento’s historic district into a scene straight out of the 1850s. Hundreds of costumed performers take on the roles of celebrities, personalities, and just plain folks, bringing history to life while bluegrass pickers and old-timey musicians perform on several stages, evoking the vivid tunes of the times

8/31 – Family Friday: Red at the Crocker – Come in the color red to hear the red hot tunes of The Smash Hit Wonders, a group of LaTour Music Studio students ages 7-12. This is the last Family Friday of the summer, so make sure you have lots of fun moving and grooving as the group performs classic American soul, jazz, and funk tunes.

8/31 – Pop-Up Cinema at Fairytale Town -The yellow brick road has been followed all the way to Humpty’s gate at Fairytale Town! Celebrate the completion of the Yellow Brick Road play set with two screenings of the family classic The Wizard of Oz on the Mother Goose Stage. The first showing will feature the movie along with fun arts and crafts
activities for kids. The second screening will feature the movie played along
with the cult-favorite Pink Floyd album, The Dark Side of the Moon. Take a unique look (and listen) at both the movie and the album, played simultaneously, and finally decide for yourself if they really do go together.

8/31 – 9/2 – Sacramento Greek Festival – The 49th annual Greek Festival returns to the Sacramento Convention Center for a Labor Day weekend filled with plenty of Greek food, Greek dancing, and much
more. Leave your worries behind and come enjoy the Greek way of life.

9/1-2 – African  Cultural Festival – Travel across the globe and immerse yourself in African culture without ever leaving Sacramento. Celebrate Africa’s rich heritage at the African Cultural Festival. Delight your senses as you smell, taste, hear, feel, and experience African culture through a variety of family-friendly activities. Enjoy African cultural dances, art and crafts exhibits, exhibitions, a wonderful kids area, authentic cultural foods, and live performances of African music, reggae, hip-hop, and so much more.

The African Cultural Festival will not only serve as a medium for bringing all Africans together, from all its diasporas, as one voice, but will also focus on promoting and enhancing African businesses in tourism, arts and crafts, restaurants and hospitality, and entertainment, as well as the industrial and manufacturing sectors of heavy machinery and import/exporting of natural resources and raw materials.

9/1-3 – Chalk-it Up Festival – Chalk It Up! To Sacramento is a fun, family-friendly outdoor event that
celebrates great art and music. What makes this festival special is that it
promotes creativity, collaboration, and community involvement. Chalk It Up
believes that there is an artist in all of us and everyone is welcome to

9/1 – The Bone Zone grand opening at the Discovery Museum – Celebrate the opening of the Discovery Museum’s newest exhibit, Bone Zone. Bring the whole family to learn about skulls, bodies, and health. Kids
can come dressed in lab coats to make-believe in the doctor’s office and
dentist’s office. Adults and children can also role play in our ‘50s-themed
Healthy Bones Diner. Bring your camera and join in on the fun by making a
glow-in-the-dark skeleton necklace to take home! Special guests from community
organizations will also be there to teach children about being active and

9/2 – Amazing Amphibians at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Meet a couple of amphibious residents at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center up close and learn how they spend half their life in water and half their life on land.  All ages are welcome.

9/3 – Little Buckaroos Day at the Crocker – Back by popular demand, families with young children will have a yee-haw time at
the Crocker in celebration of Sacramento’s annual Gold Rush Days. The West will be
wild with wiggles and giggles at this event featuring live performances by
children’s ballet folklorico group Nube de Oro and family bluegrass band Oak
Grove. See Native American craft-making demos, join hands-on art-making, and
even visit a petting zoo.


Old Sacramento’s Annual Gold Rush Days A Perfect Family Outing

By Alyssa Green

Something amazing happens here in Sacramento each Labor Day weekend.  Old Sacramento is transformed into an 1850’s scene at the height of the California Gold Rush.  Wooden sidewalks, dirt roads, horse drawn carriages, gun fights…you get the idea.

Bring your family out to Gold Rush Days  anytime between Friday, August 31st and Monday, September 3rd for this wonderful FREE family event.  The event provides fun and games, arts and crafts, entertainment, admission to all Old Sacramento museums and of course plenty of California’s Gold Rush history.

The kids can pan for gold, take a pony, wagon or train ride, dabble in arts and crafts, learn period skills in the Artisan Alley, witness live historic re-enactments and enjoy the music of old time musicians.  There will be plenty of fun, food and shopping to go around.  And when it gets too hot to be outside, go ahead and step into any of the nearby museums (Free of charge) including the California Railroad Museum and the Sacramento History Museum for a bit of down time before heading back out into the streets for more fun.

To top off your wild west weekend of fun, head over to the Crocker Art Museum.  Target has teamed up with the Crocker in sponsoring FREE admission to the museum on Labor Day, September 3rd.  The Museum will be open to everyone from 10am to 5pm, but make sure to swing by with your kiddos between 11am and 3pm for Little Buckaroos Day.

“Back by popular demand, families with young children will have a yee-haw time at the Crocker in celebration of Sacramento’s annual Gold Rush Days. The West will be wild with wiggles and giggles at this event featuring live performances by children’s ballet folklorico group Nube de Oro and family bluegrass band Oak Grove. See Native American craft-making demos, join hands-on art-making, and even visit a petting zoo.”

And don’t forget to introduce your kids to the museum’s permanent artwork collection by taking the kid-friendly Story Trail tour…then stop off in Tot Land for some more fun!  There isn’t a better way to enjoy a family day at the museum!

Weekend Family Fun For August 24-26th

8/24 – Raley Field Fiesta with the River Cats – Enjoy Latin music, salsa dancing, and drink and food specials as the River Cats celebrate with a Raley Field Fiesta! It will also be Family Value Night so enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 desserts with the family. The River Cats will be taking on the Salt Lake Bees in this baseball game.

 8/24 – Family Friday: Silver at the Crocker Art Museum – Pick out something sparkly silver to wear and get excited for sights and sounds by the Asian Community Center (ACC) Pocket Pickers Ukulele Club. Performers will sing a variety of standards from the silver age of swing, early rock ‘n’ roll, Hawai’ian, and country songs. All are welcome to watch or jive along with the hula dancers and line dancers that will accompany the tunes.

8/24-26 – Time Travel Weekend in Old Sacramento – Get ready to step back in time when the past mingles with the present once again in Old Sacramento! For the third consecutive summer, visitors to Old Sacramento will enjoy lively and interactive street theatre as part of the hugely popular “Time Travel Weekends” to delight guests near and far. The streets of Old Sacramento will come to life with talented performers who put on spontaneous and often-elaborate skits and performances.

8/25 – 14th Annual Race for the Arts – Grab your running shoes, friends, family, co-workers and neighbors and run or walk through shady William Land Park for the 14th Annual Race for the Arts. For the serious runners (5k timed by D-tag) – and the not-so-serious.

Sports, fresh air, arts and family-friendly, come out for the Race and stay for the Arts Festival with music, entertainment, over 40 interactive booths, food and fun. Try your hand at the Instrumental Discovery Zone, make a hat, get your face painted, learn a couple dance steps, try any of the hands-on booths, or sit and enjoy the non-stop stage entertainment. Race for the Arts is more than a run, it’s an experience.

8/25 – Signing Time with Rachel Coleman – Emmy-nominated, co-creator and star of Signing Time, Rachel Coleman will be performing to benefit the Signing Time Foundation which helps make sign language fun and accessible to all children here in the US and outreach to help Deaf children in Ghana.

If you love Signing Time, don’t miss this event that is sure to make memories to last a lifetime. There will be time to meet and greet with Rachel and Hopkins for photos and autographs and an amazing concert where Rachel will perform some all-time favorite songs from Signing Time. All events will be interpreted in American Sign Language.

8/25 – Water Fight Sacramento at Southside Park – Bring water guns, water balloons, slingshots to fire off water bombs, and your swimwear. As a sign of respect to everyone including the city lets make a rule of thumb where after the event you help clean up at least as many water balloons as you threw. It’s fair, and many hands make light work. Bring your own water source as places to re-fill will be limited. Water bottles are a quick and portable way to carry extra water around to refill your guns and bombs.

8/25 – Plant Walk at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Stroll through the Nature Preserve with a naturalist and learn to identify many common plants while discovering their traditional uses.

8/26 – Free Music in the Park: On Air – This rollicking outdoor musical treat features entertainment for kids and grownups, providing the perfect setting to relax with family, friends and neighbors. With a blanket and a picnic basket everyone can enjoy great music in a wonderful outdoor venue.

The featured band for the grand finale of the three-part series is On Air. For 25 years, On Air’s 11-piece power horn, classic rock sound has captured audiences with classy musicianship, quality showmanship, and an attitude of sheer joy.

8/26 – Fan Appreciation Night with the River Cats – The Sacramento River Cats players, coaches, and staff will be greeting fans at the gate before the final home game of the regular season. Fans will also receive great prizes throughout the night! It will also be Sunday Funday so there will be a pregame autograph session and kids may run the bases postgame. The River Cats will be playing against the Salt Lake Bees in this baseball game.

Upcoming Events at Fairytale Town… enjoy FREE admission and watch The Wizard of Oz under the Stars!

By Heather Crivellone

I have to admit, one of my most favorite and cherished places to take the kids here in Sacramento is Fairytale Town.  How can it get any better… a park made specifically for toddlers and little feet to run around and play to their hearts content all while adding in the great nursery rhymes we have all grown up with?  Stories and the Old Mother Goose rhymes literally come to life at this 2.5 acre play park.

If you haven’t been in a while, this is a good time to visit.  With the kids back in school, the weekdays are less crowded than during the summertime and you can get in some great play time in with your kids.
Fairytale Town also has several “special events” that are taking place this month- and you won’t want to miss the excitement!

This Thursday evening, August 23rd from 5:30-7:30pm join other local families at the 2012 Sacramento READS! Celebration Of Literacy.
This is a community event centered on early childhood literacy complete with fun, reading-relevant activities, organizations displaying their services to families, trainings for parents, sign-ups for volunteers, a raffle, free food and a word from Mayor Kevin Johnson.

I can’t think of a parent on Earth who doesn’t want their child to succeed and learn to love reading.  This is a FREE fun event for the entire family-  access to Fairy Tale Town, Free food, a FREE book for every child, pictures with Clifford the Big Red Dog, crafts, activities and more.   So, make sure you put it on your calendar for this Thursday and take the family out to an evening of fun, reading, learning and play!

And on Friday August 31st, enjoy an evening with The Wizard of Oz on the big screen.  To help celebrate the completion of the “Yellow Brick Road”, two screenings of the Wizard of Oz and the Dark Side of the Rainbow will be shown.  Show times start at 7pm, so bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy an evening out to celebrate the completion of the “Yellow Brick Road” all the way to Humpty Dumpty’s gate.  Tickets can be purchased online ($5 per person).

Weekend Family Fun For August 17-20th

8/16-20 – Circus Vargas at Cal Expo – Welcome to the World of Circus Vargas. Take a look beyond the sawdust and spangles, a peek past the mystique and wonder, and discover why Circus Vargas is America’s Favorite Big Top Circus! It’s musical, it’s memorable…it’s circus with a touch of Broadway. It’s family entertainment at its finest. And it’s coming your way!

 8/17-19 – Little Mermaid Jr. at the 24th Street Theater – Young Actors Stage presents the newly released theatrical production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr. Join a cast of talented young actors (ages 7-15) as they take you on a journey to a magical kingdom under the sea. There, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she’ll have to defy her father King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula, and convince Prince Eric that she is the girl with the enchanting voice. Adapted from Disney’s 2008 Broadway production, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr., features all of the classic and most loved songs.

8/17 – Family Friday: Yellow at the Crocker Art Museum – Come to Family Friday wearing clothes that are yellow, just like the color in the Beatles’ song “Yellow Submarine.” Hear Beatles tunes as well as other pop classics from Eric Clapton, The Police, and more as played by local musician and music teacher Clemon Charles. Also listen for traditional songs from Clemon’s native West Indies.

8/18 – Jackie Greene Live at Fairytale Town – Fairytale Town is the place to be this Saturday as Jackie Greene takes the stage for his fourth annual benefit concert! Proceeds support education programs and park improvements. Tickets are $35, while supplies last. Purchase tickets online, at the Box Office or by calling (916) 808-7462. For concert rules and restrictions, click here.

Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Wicked ‘Wich and OMKarmabile (Indian fusion) food trucks will be on hand between 6:30 and 8 PM.

8/18 – Screen on the Green:  Wizard of Oz at Glenn Hall Park – Councilman Steve Cohn and Pops in the Park are pleased to present the 2012 Screen on the Green movie series, featuring The Wizard of Oz (Rated G). Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating and snacks.

8/18 – Hands on History:  Fun on the Frontier at Sutter’s Fort – This day is dedicated to fun and games of skill, such as barrel hoop races, the game of Graces, tug-o’-war, jump rope, even marbles and parlor games. But, not all the games were for children. Some of Sutter’s card sharks will be on hand to pilfer your Sutter Bucks with games of chance such as Three-card Monte, Shut the Box, and the dreaded Faro Game. The miners squandered much of their money on fun and games and had to seek more gold to fill their idle hours. Guests will also be able to pan for gold—fool’s gold! Lots of games and fun toys will be for sale in our trade store. Everyone who plays a game will win a prize!

8/18 – Star Wars night with the Sacramento River Cats – The River Cats have not joined the dark side of the Force, and neither should you. The first 2,500 fans will receive a Star Wars Glow Saber. Members of the Galactic Empire will roam the concourse and be available for photos. Following the game, fans will be treated to a special Stars Wars Fireworks show presented by Sutter Health. The River Cats will be taking on the Las Vegas 51’s in this baseball game.

8/18-19 – Sleeping Beauty in Space: Episode 3 at Fairytale Town – In their final show of the season, the Fairytale Town Troupers bring to a close the action-packed science-fiction fairytale Sleeping Beauty in Space with thrilling lightsaber duels in the dark!  In Episode 3, the Sisterhood of Space Fairies joins forces with the brave Astra-Knights of Earth for one last confrontation with the evil Drakonian Empire.

8/18-19 – da Vinci Robot Visit at the Discovery Museum – The Discovery Museum is hosting the da Vinci Robot for this weekend only! This surgical robot fills up the classroom and is a sight to see. You’re encouraged to learn about this front-runner in medical technology and to take it for a trial run. It will be a memorable experience for your children. Knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions on how it operates and the function it has in the medical community.  As guest speaker, Dr. Afshin Eslami will share his work with the da Vinci Robot.

8/18-19 – 3rd Annual Banana Festival – The Banana Festival returns to Sacramento for their third year! This year they will have another amazing line up of local entertainment, even more scrumptious banana foods, and loads of banana-themed family fun filled with music, food, art, dance, and films.

8/19 – Tools and Toys of the Maidu People at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Join in viewing replica Maidu artifacts made from the gifts of the Earth while enjoying a traditional Maidu story. The artifacts and tools will be available for viewing up close to discover how they were made and what they were used for.

Last stop in our “Spray Ground” tour is to Stephenson Family Park in Elk Grove

By Heather Crivellone

Summer may be just about over and the kids are back to school, but it’s still scorching hot outside!  We are still trying to find ways to “keep cool” in the Sacramento heat, and our last stop in our spray ground tour was to Stephenson Family Park in Elk Grove.

This park was the perfect size for my kids- had enough play structure toys to keep them busy and plenty of water spraying to keep them cool!  What was unique about this park is that it takes on an Egyptian theme throughout the playgrounds.  From hieroglyphics on the structures to a pyramid in the sand play areas, the kids can feel like they have been transported back to Egypt and playing along side of King Tut.  The center of the spray ground even had an oversized King Cobra snake “spitting” water out onto us while we played!
My daughter had a great time climbing all of the structures- especially a large “spider web” with unique chairs that she sat and spun around in.  But her favorite was a skateboard-type of balancing structure that I literally had to drag her off (mostly because I knew she would eventually break some sort of body part…but to a five year old it was the “coolest” thing she had ever played on!).

The park is situated in a residential neighborhood with a large field to play sports on.  Amenities include bathrooms, picnic tables, a shaded picnic area, baseball diamond, two playgrounds and the spray area.
Since this is in a newer neighborhood, the trees don’t give off quite as much shade as a mom would like on these 100+ degree days.  So if you plan on visiting Stephenson Family park, make sure to bring your sun block and an umbrella or tent if you plan to stay the day.  I can guarantee the kids won’t want to leave- so pack up and have some fun splashing and playing on these last few days of summer!

Weekend Family Fun For August 10-13th

8/9-13 – Circus Vargas – Welcome to the World of Circus Vargas. Take a look beyond the sawdust and spangles, a peek past the mystique and wonder, and discover why Circus Vargas is America’s Favorite Big Top Circus! It’s musical, it’s memorable…it’s circus with a touch of Broadway. It’s family entertainment at its finest. And it’s coming your way!

8/10 – Family Friday: Black & White at the Crocker – Wear clothes in the colors of black and white today–like how TV shows looked before color television–then remember the olden days with folk music and folk-inspired art activities. Amy Reed and Ross Hammond will play children’s folk songs written by the likes of Woody Guthrie, Jean Ritchie, Pete Seeger, and Amy will gently lead dancing and singing through the magical world of folklore. And don’t miss the amazing artwork of Tapigami tape artist Danny Sheible.

8/10-11 – Wierd Al Yankovic at Three Stages – The biggest selling comedy recording artist of all time is coming to Three Stages for three live performances! With the 2012 Alpocalypse Tour, his first full-length studio album in nearly five years, “Weird Al” Yankovic has returned to demolish the pop landscape. He hasn’t lost a beat and is in rare form.

 8/11- Back to School with Mad Science – Join in the fun at Mad Science’s Back-to-School Blast! Mark your calendar and plan to bring the entire family for an afternoon filled with hands-on science activities. Your junior scientists can magically transform sugar into cotton candy, create ooey-gooey slime, investigate electrifying science, and shoot a water rocket into the atmosphere! Be entertained by a real Mad Scientist as he demonstrates the wacky world of science during the Blast-Off show.

 8/11 – Art for Wetlands at the Nature Center – Join Sabreena from California Waterfowl as she shares biological specimens from ducks, geese, and swans, and instructs children on how to draw waterfowls. At this event you will find out how your waterfowl art can help to conserve wetlands and the animals that live in those habitats.

8/11 – Parallax Robotics at the Discovery Museum – Get hands on with robots and learn to solder. Parallax Inc., a local robotics and microcontroller company, shows participants how to solder their very own badge with a seven-color LED that lights up and looks just like a mini-version of the popular Parallax Scribbler 2 (S2) robot. This activity is great for children and adults ages 7 and up. Robot demonstrations include popular robots, such as the Boe-Bot Robot and flying ELEV-8 quadcopter.

8/11 – Big Art Party – Bring your family and friends to celebrate the fine arts in Sacramento at the Big Art Party which launches the Capital Artists’ Studio Tour (CAST) events! Meet artists on this year’s Tour and be among the first to pick up a free CAST Guide, a 32-page, four-color guide with all 150 artist listings and tour maps, as it will be debuted at the Big Art Party. The Capital Artists’ Studio Tour, scheduled for Sept 8-Sept 9 and Sept 15-Sept 16, is a city-wide opportunity for the public to meet local artists in their working studios. It is all FREE, fun and celebrates our area artists!

8/11-12 – Sacramento River Delta’s Passport to Farmers – Just minutes from Sacramento and Elk Grove, travel the river to visit the farms on the Delta Grown Farm Trail. Farm tours, kids activities, local wine tasting, farm equipment displays, wildlife viewing, and fresh produce (tomatoes, pears, eggs, organic, veggies, etc).  Meet the local Delta farmers and see what they have to offer. Each ticket includes a “freebie” at each farm.

8/12 – Critters of the River at the Nature Center – Join in and enjoy a presentation on the local river’s wildlife. There will be “biofacts,” items such as skulls and feathers, and a live animal too! This event will be fun for all ages.

8/12 – Dino Diorama at the Discovery Museum – Feeling crafty? Join the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center for a day of dinosaur diorama design. Each child 12 and under has a diorama to decorate and take home as a souvenir. View the Blast from the Past exhibit to get ideas for your project.

Remember, admission also includes an animal presentation at Noon & 2pm.