24th Annual Mountain Mandarin Festival in Auburn will Bring Fun and Entertainment to the Whole Family

Our Sacramento region is bursting with fall color.  Typically, we associate fall with apple pies, pumpkin spice lattes and caramel apples…but what about good old Vitamin C?  Oranges, mandarins and everything citrus is also a great fall combination.  Up the hill in nearby Placer County, it’s the season of the mandarin! 

Mark your calendars for November 17 – 19 for the 24th annual, Mountain Mandarin Festival located in Auburn.  As we all know, Sacramento and the surrounding areas are known to be the biggest and best of the Farm-to-Fork communities.  With local farms all around us, there is no reason we shouldn’t be enjoying the local produce and sampling some of the best fruits around.  Mandarins are no exception. You can enjoy mandarin everything this weekend at the festival.  Mandarin sauces, cookies, chocolates…even some adult mandarin libations at the Absolut Vodka lounge.
This is a great place to pick up some unique gifts for the holiday season and enjoy some live entertainment with the family.

Over 200 vendors will be on site, 16 local mandarin growers, 4 stages of entertainment, kids’ activities, petting zoo and even pony rides will be available.  This will be a fun event for the entire family.

Admission into the festival is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids 12 and under is free.  Parking is an additional $6.

If you have never had the opportunity to spend the day in Auburn, then this is a great time.  Fall is bursting with color in this quaint town known for its rich history during the Gold Rush.  Old Town Auburn also has many “mom and pop” shops that are always fun to visit and sure to have that “perfect” gift for someone in your family.

What:  Mountain Mandarin Festival
Where:  1273 High Street, Auburn
When:  November 17-November 19
Why:  To enjoy the bounty of our local fruits and support small town businesses during the holiday season.

Here is my favorite Spinach Mandarin Orange Salad recipe to try:

5-6 Cups Baby Spinach
1 Cup Mandarin Oranges
½ Cup Chopped Red Onion
1 Tablespoon Orange Marmalade
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix the marmalade, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and pour over the spinach mixture.   Kids will even this sweet and savory salad!
Enjoy.

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10 Fun Things to do with Kids in Sacramento in the Fall

While Sacramento enjoys great weather and lots of sunshine all year-long (Ok…summer might be just a tad warm), Fall is really one of the best times of the year to get out and explore what the city has to offer. The average temperature from Oct. through Nov. is about 70 degrees, with minimal precipitation. Add into the mix the thousands of trees with leaves changing color all over town, and you’ve got the perfect reason to get outside and enjoy the season. Take a look at our list of ten of the our favorite things to do with your kids this time of year.

1. Visit the Nimbus Fish Hatchery on the American River and witness the return of Chinook Salmon and steelhead trout as they settle into a spawning habitat at the base of the Nimbus Dam. This working hatchery offers visitors interactive exhibits at the visitors center; a spawning deck viewing window; a river discovery trail – a 1/4 mile trail along the river that allows for viewing of migrating and resident birds, deer, river otter a coyote; a fish ladder that helps the fish swim upstream; holding ponds offering close-up views of the fish; and a salmon-inspired play structure for the kiddos, complete with a shade canopy and bench. http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries/nimbus

2. Get your fill of miniature trains at the California State Railroad Museum’s Big Weekend of Small Trains. This special event showcases a huge assortment of model and toy trains, hundreds of feet of track, along with make-believe cities and towns. The setup will really get you into the holiday mood. If you can pull yourself away from the magical world of toy trains, take some time to walk around the museum and see one of the West Coast’s largest collection of real trains and locomotives. www.californiarailroad.museum

3. Enjoy a Tuesday train ride along the Sacramento River. And speaking of trains, during the fall and winter, the California State Railroad Museum offers an excursion train ride to the general public on Tuesdays of each week. Trains depart at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm from the Central Pacific Railway Freight Depot in Old Sacramento and take riders on a 45-minute, round-trip journey along the levee. Witness the Sacramento River at it’s calmest – just before the winter rains pummel Northern California – and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season along the way. http://www.californiarailroad.museum

4. Explore a 100-acre nature preserve in the middle of the city at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. This preserve along the American River includes an education center with a staff of naturalists to help guests learn about the natural habitat that was once the summer home of the Nisenan Maidu native peoples. Visitors will see a replica Maidu village, a variety of native and non-native plants and animals that live on the preserve, and a garden of native flowering plants near the play area. Several trails are also available within the preserver for visitors to spot wildlife. Specific to the fall, keep your eye out for migrating birds, acorn-gathering squirrels and color-changing fall leaves on the many woodland trees. http://www.sacnaturecenter.net

5. Take a trip to nearby Apple Hill. For many Sacramentans, making the trip to Apple Hill is an annual fall tradition. While a year-round destination, the most popular and festive time to visit this conglomerate of farms is September through November. Located in the foothill towns of Placerville and Camino along Hwy 50, Apple Hill features family owned farms and ranches, offering a bounty of fresh produce, and definitely everything apple this time of year. Want to pick apples straight from the orchard? You got it. Have a hankering for a good old-fashioned apple pie? Take your pick. There’s also no shortage of apple cider, apple fritters, apple donuts, and more. Add to all the apple fun –  pumpkins, hay mazes, pony and train rides, even some trout fishing, and you’ve yourself and perfect day of fall family fun. http://www.applehillca.com/

6. Shop till your heart’s content at the Sacramento Harvest Festival. Held at Cal Expo, the Harvest Festival is the West Coast’s largest art and craft vendor fair. With hundreds of vendors offering more than 20,000 unique gifts – all handmade or embellished in the U.S. – you’ll be able to know just about everyone off your Christmas gift list in one fell swoop. Beyond shopping, the festival includes live music and comedy, themed performers (Mama Claus, Eddie the Elf, and Santa on stilts), an interactive kids zone and a food court. http://www.harvestfestival.com

7. Play at Fairytale Town – for free. Bring in a canned food to donate to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services the day after Thanksgiving, and you’ll earn free admission into Sacramento’s favorite park. At Fairytale Town you’ll experience all your favorite fairytale stories and characters throughout the park’s play areas and structures including King Arthur’s Castle, Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Sherwood Forest, the Crooked Mile, Cinderella’s Carriage, and more. The storybook park is located in the heart of the larger William Land Park, a beautiful expanse of open space where trees and fall leaves abound. http://www.fairytaletown.org/

8. Get your exercise in at Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning. This 5k walk/run and 10k run is for the entire family. Sponsored by Western Health Advantage, the money raised through this event supports the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. By registering your family to run or walk, you are not only burning ahead of time all the calories you’ll be eating at the later Thanksgiving dinner, but you’ll be giving back to the community as well. http://www.runtofeedthehungry.com/

9. Visit the California Museum and save $2 off admission. There are several kid-friendly museums in and around Sacramento, and while the California Museum is one of them, it often gets overlooked. Home to the California Hall of Fame, California Indians, California’s Remarkable Women, Health Happens Here exhibits and many more permanent and short-term exhibits, this museum is an educational paradise for your kiddos. And, receive $2 off admission through the end of the year. http://www.californiamuseum.org/

10. Walk the streets of Midtown and Downtown for some spectacular fall colors. Sacramento has been known as the city of trees for years and there’s certainly no shortage of foliage in the city. Take a walk around Capital Park, then head east on K Street into Midtown. Wherever your feet take you this time of year, you’re bound to run into some best fall foliage any California city can offer.

 

 

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

Win Tickets: Gibson Ranch Hosts its First Pumpkin Festival Complete with Hay Rides, Petting Zoo, Costume Contest, and More!

From bird watching to fishing to horseback riding and hiking, Gibson Ranch Park in nearby Elverta, Ca. has been the setting for many Sacramento-area family activities and events over the years. The 325-acre country park has now added “pumpkin farm” to its repertoire. Each Saturday and Sunday beginning Sept. 30 through Oct. 29, 2017, Gibson Ranch will welcome children of all ages through its gates for a day of fall fun. Here’s what you can expect at the new Gibson Ranch Pumpkin Festival:

Activities will include Games, pony rides, petting zoo, bounce houses, face painting, kiddie train, hay rides, straw bale maze, costume contest, character meet and greet and a pumpkin patch. Jugglers, magicians and balloon twisters will entertain the kiddos while the parents can shop the farmer’s market and peddler’s fair for holiday gifts.

WHAT: Gibson Ranch Pumpkin Festival

WHEN: Weekends, Sept. 30 – Oct. 29, 2017

WHERE: Gibson Ranch Park, Elverta, Ca.

ADMISSION: Free admission, parking $5, activity tickets $1 per ticket

WIN TICKETS: The folks at Gibson Ranch want you to check out their pumpkin festival, so they’ve given us a family fun pack (includes 1 parking pass and 55 activity tickets) to give away to one lucky reader. All you need to do to be eligible to win is tell us your favorite Gibson Ranch Park memory in the comment section below. Leave your comment by 5 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 – a winner will be selected on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017.

Find Out What’s New for Kids at this Year’s Annual Farm-to-Fork Festival

Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Festival is celebrating five years this month. One of the best parts of the celebration is the free Farm-to-Fork Festival held on Capitol Mall. Last year, the festival drew more than 50,000 people to downtown Sacramento where they were able to enjoy face-to-face meetings with the farming and restaurant community – those who contribute to the farm-to-fork movement. Attendees also participated in fun activities, tapped their feet to live music, satiated their taste buds with local, fresh food and much more. If you are planning on bringing your family down, there is plenty of fun for the little ones. Find out what’s new for the kids this year, and what’s returning here.

WHAT: The 5th Annual Farm-to-Fork Festival

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

WHERE: Downtown Sacramento, Capitol Mall

ADMISSION: FREE

For more information on the festival including getting to downtown and parking, click here.

Enjoy these photos from past Farm-to-Fork Festival events:

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Win Tickets: Fairytale Town Giving Away Prize Bundle in Celebration of the 17th Annual ScholarShare Book Festival

One of Fairytale Town’s signature events is coming up this next weekend. The 17th Annual ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival will feature New York Times Best-Selling Author and Caldecott award-winner Lindsay Mattick, author of Finding Winnie, the true story of World War I Canadian Soldier Harry Coleburn who rescued a baby bear as he headed overseas to war. He named the bear Winnie, and that bear became the model for one of the best-loved children’s book series of all time, Winnie-the-Pooh. The author is Coleburn’s great-great granddaughter. Lindsay, along with several other authors and illustrators, will be available for book signings.

The FREE, two-day festival is sponsored by ScholarShare College Savings Plan and will include live readings, storytelling performances, live music, hands-on literacy activities and a book fair. Here’s the full lineup of authors and illustrators who will be present during the weekend festival:

Lindsay Mattick  Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear • Sat 11:30AM, 3PM & Sun 12PM, 3PM
JaNay Brown-Wood Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story • Sun 12:30PM
Rita Campbell Emberlina Sprite-a-Light • Sun 10:30AM
Linda Champion & Rose Fante • Fairy Tales for Life • Sat 10:30AM (Linda) & 11AM (Rose)
Brandon Chappell Drew & Boo Adopt Lou & Sue • Sat 2:30PM
Erin Dealey K is for Kindergarten • Sat 2PM & Sun 11:30AM
Sandy Lynne Holman We All Have A Heritage • Sun 2 PM
Catlyn LeGault, Leonie Pickett & Miakoda Plude The Princess and the Sunflowers • Sat 12:30PM
Karen J. Moore Pen the Tale, Oogie • Sun 2:30PM
Elaine Russell All About Thailand • Sat & Sun 1PM
Karen Sanders-Betts & Hannah Howerton The Little Lemon that Leapt • Sat 1:30PM
Linda Joy Singleton A Cat is Better • Sun 11AM

WIN PRIZE BUNDLE: While admission to the ScholarShare Book Festival is FREE, Fairytale Town is offering one of our lucky readers a prize bundle during this weekend’s festivities. The bundle includes a copy of Finding Winnie, admission for four to Fairytale Town, a magic key and a plush Humpty Dumpty. If you would like to win this prize bundle, please visit the ScholarShare Book Festival page on Fairytale Town’s website here and tell us which author or illustrator you would most like to see in person. Leave your answer in the comment section below no later than 5:00 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  A winner will be chosen on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. One entry per person, please. Good luck!

WHAT: ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival

WHEN: Sept. 16 & 17, 2017

WHERE: Fairytale Town

ADMISSION: FREE

Win Tickets: Brick Fest Live!, the Largest Touring LEGO Fan Experience is Coming to Sacramento

Get ready LEGO fans, the Sacramento Convention Center is about to be inundated with those tiny little bricks that offer hours and hours of entertainment. On Sept. 23-24, 2017, Sacramento will be hosting Brick Fest Live! for the first time – and we hope the event becomes an annual tradition in our city.

Brick Fest Live! is the largest touring LEGO show in the United States featuring amazing creations, collaborative building activities including a brick wall and floor puzzles, mosaics, a Brick Fest derby, inspiration stations, a video game arena, shopping, a Brick Fest Theater for trivia and more.

Founded by a couple of dads-turned-entrepreneurs, Brick Fest Live! was created to “increase awareness that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are all in play when it comes to LEGO and other construction toys. Families build together to accomplish their goals and find creative solutions – all while inspiring the next generation of artists, engineers and leaders.”

WIN TICKETS: Want to win some tickets for your family? The folks with Brick Fest Live! have been super generous with us. They’re giving us four – that’s right, FOUR family packs of five (5) tickets to give away to you, our loyal (and lucky!) readers. Here’s what you need to do to be entered into the drawing. Head on over to the Brick Fest Live! website here, watch the video on the home page and in the comment section below, give us the answer to the following question:

HOW LONG IS THE BRICK FEST DERBY TRACK? Make sure to leave your comment with the correct answer no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Winners will be chosen and announced one at a time on the following days: winner #1 – Tuesday, Sept. 12; winner #2 – Thursday, Sept. 14; winner #3 – Tuesday, Sept. 19; winner #4 – Thursday, Sept. 21. Good luck!

WHAT: Brick Fest Live! LEGO Fan Experience

WHEN: Sept. 23-24, 207

WHERE: Sacramento Convention Center

ADMISSION: Ticket prices start at $24.50 and can be purchased here.