WIN TICKETS: Sacramento’s Harvest Festival Goes Beyond Holiday Shopping with Live Music, Holiday-Themed Performers and a Hands-On Kids Zone













Just like that, Halloween is over, which means the holiday season is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is three weeks away and Christmas just seven. It’s time to start planning your holiday shopping which means scouring the Internet and store ads for deals, and strategically planning your Black Friday shopping schedule. While you may already have some ideas of what to get friends and family, there always seems to be that one person on the list that is difficult to find a gift for. Enter the Harvest Festival, the largest indoor arts and crafts show on the West Coast.

Held at Cal Expo, the Sacramento Harvest Festival boasts thousands of unique items – all handmade and embellished within the United States. From clothing to specialty foods, to original art and photography, the this festival has got you covered. In addition to shopping, enjoy music by the Fargo Brothers, laugh with comedian John Park and the “Funny Waiter” show, take pictures with Mama Claus, Eddie the Elf and stilt-walking Santa, grab a bite or two to eat from the many varied food vendors and let the kids play at the KidZone area presented by Lakeshore Learning.

Sound like fun? We’ve got four family packs, that’s right – FOUR – to give away to four lucky readers. The family packs include four admission tickets and $10 in “harvest money” to spend at your favorite vendor booth. If you would like a chance to win, watch the Harvest Festival video here, and tell us in the comment section below what you plan to shop for when you attend. Leave your comment by 5pm on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Winners will be chosen on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Good luck!

WHAT: Sacramento Harvest Festival

WHEN: Nov. 17-19, 2017, 10am to 6pm

WHERE: Cal Expo, Sacramento

TICKETS: $9 adults, $7 youth, $4 kids, free ages 12 and under

*be prepared to pay a parking fee


Round Up the Family and Hit the Streets of Sacramento for a View of All the New Artwork Going Up Around the City

If you haven’t already heard, read or seen, Sacramento is currently hosting Wide Open Walls, a huge 10-day mural festival that includes 40 local, national and international artists who are carefully applying their art in a huge way, on various buildings all over the city. The mural festival began Aug. 10 and runs through the weekend, ending on Aug. 20. Even if you aren’t a big “street art” fan, there is something for you to see and enjoy. In fact, few of the murals have that gritty, spray-painted street art look. The many artists vary in style, medium and concept for their art piece. Some works are soothing and beautiful. Some make a loud social statement, while others are fun and playful. What you can be sure of is that each artist’s mural is a planned out masterpiece with purpose and meaning, and sometimes, a history. You’ll want to do your research – learn about the artists, their style and meaning behind their work. Get your kids involved for even more fun!

There are a few different ways you can view the city’s new murals.

  1.  Self-guided tours. Print out the list and map (or pull up on your phone) at the Wide Open Walls website and hit the streets on your own.
  2. Walking and running tours. Don’t feel like navigating the streets on your own? Call in an expert. Sac Running Tours offers running and walking tours of the city’s murals (they also offer other city tours featuring historic landmarks and city highlights.)

Here’s some highlights from this year’s festival – some are complete, many are not. But you can still enjoy!






The Crocker Art Museum Unveils New Art Spot PL!NK, and Kids Love it!

Sacramento is a wonderful family town with a plethora of events, activities and venues for children and families. Perhaps one of the most surprising places in Sacramento to welcome children is the West Coast’s oldest public art venue, the Crocker Art Museum. While the Crocker has welcomed children for years, they have really stepped up their game within the last several, opening exhibit after exhibit and offering class after class geared towards children of all ages as well as their parents and caregivers.

In an effort to better understand what kids enjoy and how they learn, and with funding in part from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and First 5 Sacramento, the Crocker developed an experimental Art Spots program that features four experiential installations designed for children ages 5 and under. The first Art Spot, Gato – a mellow, but mesmerizing exhibit featuring a giant cat – opened in May.

The museum’s newest Art Spot exhibit PL!INK opened just a few days ago. While Gato is housed in the museum’s historic building, PL!NK is perfectly situated in the light and airy Teel Family Pavilion, the museum’s modern addition. Comprised of more than 100 tetrahedron clusters of mirror and colorful plexiglass, PL!NK is meant to be an immersive experience where children can experiment, explore and even create their own shape-based, interlocking sculptures to add to the colorful collection that shines with light reflected from the windows of the room.

The artwork isn’t just something to see, it’s interactive as well. Guests have the opportunity to insert themselves into the artwork as tiny cameras capture and magnify their images and display them in a real-time video playback effect as if a kaleidoscope within the artwork. They also can hear their experiences play back to them by talking into a storytelling station that voice-records their stories about what they see, hear, do, touch, feel and create within PL!NK. What kid doesn’t love to hear their recorded voice play back to them in a fun and creative way? It’s pretty awesome. PL!NK will be on display through Oct. 29, 2017.

What’s up next for the Crocker’s child-centric Art Spots? The very popular Tot Land will soon be completely revamped and a new creation by Bay Area artist Martin Webb unveiled. The new Tot Land will feature a life-size wooden boat that will allow children to hop on board and let their imagination soar. Tot Land will close briefly at the end of August and re-open on Sept. 10, 2017. And opening in Nov. 2017, the last Art Spots exhibit will be open to the public. Wingding will be yet another interactive exhibit that lets children learn through play, experimentation and creative collaboration.

What: Art Spots: PL!NK

When: Now through Oct. 29, 2017

Where: Crocker Art Museum, Teel Family Pavilion

Ten Things Kids should Do and See at this Year’s California State Fair

When the California State Fair rolls around each July in Sacramento, thousands flock to Cal Expo for guilty-pleasure fair food, free lively entertainment, exciting games, thrilling rides and some all around serious fun. The fair is always a good time, no matter what you see and do. But if you’ve got kids and want to make the most of your time and money, here are some suggestions of things to do and see with your kids.

  1. DOWNLOAD THE STATE FAIR APP. First and foremost, download the California State Fair app before you even step foot on the fair grounds. This is a great resource to help you navigate all that is offered. Need a map of the grounds to scout out where the closest restroom is? You got it. Want to know where to get the best cold lemonade? The app will tell you. Looking for your favorite vendor? Piece of cake. Don’t want to miss out on the Crowing Contest? You can add it to your schedule and receive an “alert” when the event is about to begin.
  2. READ TO RIDE. I mention this every year, but still there are people who don’t know about this offer. Butler Amusements, Inc. – the company that provides the rides at the fair, wants to encourage kids to read with the Read to Ride program. Kids in grades K through 8th will receive two free rides for having read two books. Download this form here, have your kiddos write a summary of the books they read, then bring the forms to Guest Services at the front gate to receive two ride passes. Each child is eligible to receive two passes each day they visit the fair.
  3. GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT. Have fun and collect swag by completing the #50thFairHunt – a fair scavenger hunt that sends you on nine different picture-taking errands throughout the fair. You can find the directions to the scavenger hunt on the CA State Fair app. Once complete, show your digital photo card at any one of the info booths to collect your prize.
  4. EXPLORE THE DINOSAUR EXPEDITION. Head to Expo Building 4 for up close and personal views of 14 animatronic dinosaurs, exhibit walls, displays, artifacts and interactive fun.
  5. SAFELY CLIMB A TREE. If it makes you a little nervous when your kids climb trees, then take them over to the Whale Tale exhibit for a TreeCircus Climb. Sponsored by the US Forest Service, kids can learn how to climb trees like the professionals – safely.  This fun and free exhibit puts kids (and kids at heart) in the climbing ropes in a cool, air-conditioned environment.
  6. INDULGE YOUR TASTE BUDS. Believe it or not, you can feed the kids at the fair without breaking the bank. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 11am and 4pm, hungry fair-goers can fill their tummies with smaller versions of their favorite foods for only $2. Which means you can eat more than one of your favorites. Score. Check out the menu here.
  7. SEE A VIDEO SHOW ON THE CAL EXPO WATER TOWER. Each night at 8:45 pm, turn your heads to the famous Cal Expo water tower to see a fun video show project.
  8. VISIT THE TIME CAPSULE EXHIBIT. The California State Fair at Cal Expo is celebrating its 50th birthday. Artifacts from fairs past are going into a s special time capsule, to be opened in 2067. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your kids visited again 50 years from now when it’s opened again?
  9. GET YOUR CRAFT ON AT THE CA FOREST CENTER. Take some down time in the serene California Forest Center while learning about the state’s trees and sustainable forests. Relax, learn, craft, see animals and watch chainsaw demonstrations.
  10. STICK AROUND FOR WEEKEND FIREWORKS. What better way to end a fun-filled day out at the California State Fair than to celebrate with a fireworks show? At closing time – 10 pm on each Friday and Saturday night, look towards the Miller Lite Grandstand to see a spectacular array of fireworks presented by Dish.

What: California State Fair

When: July 14-23, 2017

Where: Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA

Tickets: Starting at $8 per person, with special promotional days for children, first responders, military and senior citizens. Check here for more info.


Mom of Four Small Children Braves the Crocker Art Museum and Leaves with Very Happy Kids

With four kids under the age of seven, I’m always looking for new ways to get out of the house AND beat the heat. Tired of splash parks and not wanting to go to an indoor play place, we found ourselves at the Crocker Art Museum.  I had been to the Crocker once before, many years ago, for their Wee Wednesday program (which was wonderful!) – but this time we’d be walking around the museum on our own and I was particularly worried about how my 3 and 4-year-old would fair.  I did a little research and found that the Crocker Art Museum offers something called The Story Trail.

If you want to take your kids on the Story Trail, just pick up a book called “Birdy’s Museum Adventure” at the admission desk and it takes you on a little scavenger hunt through the museum. My kids loved it! We were able to walk through many different galleries, ending in Tot Land which was by far everyone’s favorite stop.  It’s a very inviting space where the kids performed puppet shows, read books, and made crafts.

Over all I was very impressed with how kid friendly the Crocker Art Museum is. Not only did the Story Trail keep my kids engaged, but the museum staff was incredibly helpful. As soon as we left the admission desk a docent approached me and suggested a few exhibits the children might enjoy. Another docent encouraged the kids to touch an interactive exhibit (which they were thrilled about since the “no touching” rule had been firmly established!).  And I was thrilled that the museum offers free admission to children age 5 and under.

In addition to Story Trail and Tot Land, the museum offers a host of other kid-friendly activities and events. For babies and toddlers, there’s Wee Wednesdays, a gallery-based art experience, Baby Loves Art where babies and toddlers are free to roam the galleries while interacting with each other,  and Sunday Playday, a program that helps to support school readiness. Older kids will enjoy Sketch It, a drop-in art instruction program, Kids & Co. Gallery Adventure, an educational tour for children five years and older, and Wonder Lab, another drop-in art making program where kids with disabilities are especially welcome. For more information on all of the Crocker’s kids programs, click here.

We can’t wait to go back!

By Kate Nally







Win Tickets: A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy, Fairytale Town’s Most Popular Summer Event

It’s starting to heat up here in Sacramento, which means hot days and warm nights – a typical Central Valley summer.  So, how do Sacramentans stay cool (and sane) all summer long? One of our favorite ways to stay cool is to eat ice cream. There’s really nothing better on a hot summer night than cold, creamy, all-you-can-eat ice cream. If you’ve got kiddos, you’ll want to head over to Fairytale Town on Saturday, June 24 to enjoy one of the summer’s most popular events, A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy – a Shakespearean-themed event at the area’s most popular theme park where fairies run wild all night long and eat ice cream to their heart’s content.

This enchanted evening features nonstop entertainment for the whole family including live theater performances of “Pyramus and Thisbe” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, arts and crafts, live music by Celtic band Stepping Stone and plenty of Crystal ice cream to go around. All of this within our beloved Fairytale Town. Here are the details:

What: A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy

Where: Fairytale Town

When: Saturday, June 24, 2017

Time: 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Cost: Advanced tickets start at $7 for children, $15 for adults

Win Tickets: We’ve got a family four-pack to give away to one of our lucky readers. Tell us what your favorite Crystal Ice Cream flavor is in the comment section below. Leave your comment no later than Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 5pm. A winner will be selected on Friday, June 16, 2017. Good luck!

Eat, Drink and Create Masterpieces with your Kids at Art Bistro


Anyone else have an aspiring Picasso in their household? My daughter loves art… drawing pictures, painting, and pottery, creating extraordinary masterpieces out of recyclables… yep – we love art of all kinds!

A couple of years ago when the whole “paint and sip” craze came to Sacramento, I was excited to take my daughter to experience a night out of painting. Sadly, due to my daughter’s young age, we couldn’t find a place that allowed  those under 21 years old, due to the presence of alcohol. Luckily, I finally found Art Bistro in Rocklin! Art Bistro is located at 6848 Five Star Boulevard in Rocklin (right off of Hwy 65). They offer painting, drawing and pottery classes, as well as an open studio to create on your own.

Unlike other “paint nights” hosted at different venues, Art Bistro offers classes throughout the month to anyone ages 8 and over. They have a great selection of bistro items – sandwiches, pizzas, salads, appetizers plates, etc. to munch on, and for those who are of age and choose to have an adult beverage, they also sell those as well.   The painting classes are approximately 2 hours and they urge you to arrive early so you can order, eat and be ready for the lessons.

We chose to visit over Mother’s Day weekend and my daughter painted me a beautiful bouquet of flowers…one that I will have forever and not worry about watering. While she was getting the instructions on how to paint, I was wandering around the studio and learned that they also offer the “drop in” studio, which is similar to other ceramics places around town and you can choose a ceramic item to paint and they will glaze and fire it for you (at a fraction of the cost of some of the other places).

So if you like to paint, create or draw, this is a great place to stop in and check out. They also have “Live music and Open Mic” nights for those who are more creative with their singing voices.   During the summer, they host Summer Camps for kids and open studios throughout the week. They open for lunch at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, close at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.

For 2 hours of painting instruction and a beautiful canvas of flowers that my daughter painted for me, it was only $35. They almost always have coupons and for 2 hours of entertainment, it’s a great deal. The food was tasty and they have a nice selection of drinks to choose from.   Between the open studio, classes and party choices- I’m sure we will be back to visit Art Bistro.

By Heather Crivellone