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!


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: It’s Girl Time at Golden 1 Center when Eight Princesses Come Together for Disney on Ice Presents Dream Big

Are you ready for a girls night out? Downtown Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center will soon host the newest Disney on Ice production – Dream Big – featuring eight of our favorite Disney princesses of all time. Audiences of all ages are invited to dabble in pixie dust with Tinker Bell and travel through Disney lands as they visit Ariel under the sea; watch as Cinderella, Rapunzel and Belle work to create their own magic; travel to the wintry land of Arendelle with Anna and Elsa; discover a new world with jasmine; and learn about strength and kindness with Snow White, Aurora and Tiana. As always, this Disney on Ice production will thrill audiences with breathtaking scenery, enchanting lights, high-flying jumps, daring acrobatics, and flawless skating.

WHAT: Disney on Ice present Dream Big

WHEN: Nov. 2-5, 2017

WHERE: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento

TICKETS: ticket prices start at $20

WIN TICKETS: Want to surprise that special little girl (or two) in your life with tickets to the show? We’ve got 4 tickets for opening night to give away to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment below telling us who your favorite Disney princess is, and why. Leave your comment no later than 5 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 – the winner will be chosen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Good luck!

Five Unique Ways to Have a Spooky Good Halloween with the Kids

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Pumpkins, colorful leaves, ghosts and goblins. Yes, it’s the spookiest time of year.  Kids everywhere are planning their costumes and parents are trying to figure out not to eat all the candy this year.  This is definitely a fun time of year with kids, and luckily for us here in the Sacramento area we have so many fun activities to keep those goblins busy with fun. From pumpkin patches and hay mazes to haunted houses and scary stories, there is something for everyone at every age in your family.

Here are my top 5 upcoming and ongoing Halloween festivities in the area:

Pumpkin Nights at the Gold Country Fairground, located at 1273 High St. Auburn.  This is the first year that Sacramento has hosted this event, and from the looks of it, I’m guessing it won’t be the last!  Visitors can experience Halloween in a whole new light… literally!  Pumpkin Nights will feature eight immersive lands created with over 3,000 hand carved pumpkins.  Take a walk through Harry Potter’s Great Hall, a tropical island land where pirates protect the pumpkin treasure, Dia de los Muertos and so much more.  This is an event for all ages to view some very talented carvers and become lost in another world. Tickets for Pumpkin Nights are on sale online and are $20 for adults and $16 for children.  This event will take place nightly through October 29 from 6:30- 10:30 Sunday-Thursday and 6:30-midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Boo at the Zoo at the Sacramento Zoo is an annual tradition.  On October 28 and 29, families can dress up in costume and trick or treat in a safe environment around the zoo and the wild animals.  Kids can have their face painted; enjoy crafts and other Halloween themed activities.  Live entertainment including a magician and animal keeper chats will be going on throughout the day. You can purchase tickets to this event online and the tickets range from $14-$16.

Spookomotive Train Ride presented by the California State Railroad Museum.   Kids can yell “All Aboard” as they head out away from the Old Sacramento train station and enjoy a whimsical ride along the river.  Each weekend is a different theme and they will have entertainment related to the themes and Halloween treats.  This activity is great for kids of all ages. The spooky train runs October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29.  Tickets range from $3-$25 depending on if you would like to be seated in coach or first class.

Safetyville’s Annual Halloween Haunt will be held on October 28 from 11am-4pm.  This is a perfect event for your youngest of children, as they can prance around in their costumes at the Costume Parade; enjoy food, drinks and raffles.  Get lost in a Hay Maze and enjoy games all throughout the Safetyville “town”.  $5 per person and 2 and under are FREE.

For the more mature audience, head to Old Sacramento for some history and a bit of a scare at the annual Ghost Tour walk. Join other “ghosts” of on an eerie journey into time.  Beware of characters from the Gold Rush, wayward miners and even some stories of murder victims.  This is definitely not for the weak of heart.  They encourage families, but as long as children are mature and they prefer no one under the age of 8.  These tours depart from the Sacramento History Museum at 101 I Street in Old Sacramento.  Dress for the weather and be prepared for about a mile long walk.  Purchase tickets online and they can only accommodate up to 25 people, so order soon.  Tours run every half hour starting at 6:30 and ending at 9pm on Friday and Saturday evenings through the end of October.  Tickets are $15 adults and $10 for youth.

There are also several pumpkin patches, hay mazes and corn fields in the area to visit and enjoy.  Whatever you choose to do, enjoy the season and all the candy that you may receive.

By Heather Crivellone

Mini Maker Faire for Future Engineers Returns to Rocklin this Weekend

Sacramento is calling all engineers-to-be, inquisitive minds and creative kids to come together this Saturday at the annual Mini Maker Faire in Rocklin.

A Maker Faire is a gathering of “fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do”. Discover everything from engineering, science, arts and crafts at this fun and hands on event.

This Saturday, October 14 from 9am to 4pm on the Sierra College campus, you can explore and learn about all things engineering and science related.

Last year, my family attended this event and I wasn’t sure who had more fun – the kids or the parents!  We visited the Auto Bots station, did experiments with circuits, learned to sew and so much more.  My kids were thrilled when they found out it was coming back to town, so you know we will be first in line at the exhibits this year!

This year you can view the entire list of events here, but a quick glimpse of some of the exhibits include:
Moving light demonstrations
Learn how to make circuits and fidget spinners
View a moveable fashion show
Enjoy a magic show
And so much more!

WHAT: Rocklin Mini Maker Faire

WHEN:  Saturday, October 14 from 9am to 4pm

WHERE:  Sierra College Campus at 5100 Sierra College Boulevard in Rocklin


So bring your curious minds and spend the day at Sierra College this weekend.  They will have plenty of food options available so you so you can enjoy the event and spend the entire afternoon.

By Heather Crivellone



Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm, the King of Pumpkin Patches in the Sacramento Area, adds Outdoor Movies to it’s Attraction Lineup


Pumpkins, falling leaves and cooler nights prove that it’s finally fall, my most favorite time of the year. Everything about fall I absolutely love – sweaters, caramel apples, and pumpkins galore! There are many pumpkin patches in and around Sacramento, but the one that I crown the “king of patches” is Bishop’s. 

Bishop’s Pumpkin farm is located at 1415 Pumpkin Lane in Wheatland (approximately 40 minutes from Downtown Sacramento). They have finally opened the farm for the 2017 season, and crowds have already been enjoying the hay rides and gathering their pumpkins for the fall. If you have never been to Bishops, then be prepared. You will need an entire day to enjoy all they have to offer!  The farm can get busy on the weekends, but if you plan your day accordingly (like Disneyland), and then you can have a sensational fall day full of fun and excitement.

Some of the attractions at Bishop’s include hay Rides, a corn maze, Sunflower Labyrinth, pony rides, zip line, train rides, petting zoo, pig races and so much more!My family has been making memories at Bishops since…well, since I was a kid. And that is a VERY long time. Some of the activities my kids enjoy most are gold (marble) panning, inflatable pillow jumping, running through the pumpkin and apple orchards and of course, eating a caramel apple!

This year, Bishop’s has added something new – Movies on the farm. Every Saturday in October, they will be showing a different movie.  Free with regular admission, but you’ll want to bring some chairs and a blanket to enjoy one of the family friendly movies on the big screen.  Here is the lineup:

September 30:  Sing
October 7:  Secret Life of Pets
October 14:  Minions
October 21:  Beauty and the Beast
October 28:  Hotel Transylvania

Admission to Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm is free and parking is free through the month of September. and then in October there is a parking charge on the weekends only. All activities have an additional charge for which you can purchase tickets. And if you get hungry while you’re there? There are also several dining options including great pies to take home (Thanksgiving is just around the corner).

Plan out your day by visiting the website to determine what attractions your family would like to participate in, and then purchase your tickets and get ready to make some fall memories!

By Heather Crivellone


Circus Vargas to Entertain Fans at Three Sacramento Area Locations this Fall


Elephants at the Circus

America’s historic traveling big top circus returns to the Sacramento area! Circus Vargas has been traveling the states and entertaining families with their big top tricks and amazing shows for over 40 years. I can remember going to the circus for the first time and being amazed at the grandiose big top, the ferocious animals and the graceful acrobatics.

However, unlike the circus performances of the past, Circus Vargas has eliminated the animals from the big top.  Making sure that no animals are harmed during trainings and live performances, Circus Vargas now relies exclusively on human performers. Prepare to be amazed with jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists, magicians, contortionists and of course, clowns!

Goggles, gears and gadgets set the stage for  this 2017’s retro-futuristic production of Steam Cirque. This year’s theme is a science-fiction fantasy inspired circus that kids of all ages will be mesmerized at the big top adventures.

If you would like to catch a glimpse under the big top, you will have three opportunities:

Citrus Heights (Sunrise Mall) September 21-25
Folsom (Folsom Lakeside Church) September 28-October 2
Roseville (Westfield Galleria Mall) October 5-15

Tickets can be purchased here and range from $17-$67.

Make sure you plan on arriving 45 minutes early for an entertaining, interactive pre-show celebration. Kids can learn circus skills such as juggling, balancing and more!
Cast members will also  available after the show for pictures with the kids. It will be an evening of unforgettable fun under the big top at Circus Vargas!