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!


Win Tickets: Sacramento River Cats Play the Albuquerque Isotopes this Saturday

Raley Field 027The River Cats, Sacramento’s award-winning triple-A baseball team faces the Albuquerque Isotopes this weekend. What better way to start summer vacation with your kids, right? We’ve got 4 tickets plus a parking pass to give away to one lucky reader. Simply tell us what your favorite Raley Field eatery is, and you’ll be entered to win the family 4-pack for Saturday’s game. Act fast, the drawing will be held on Thursday, June 2 at 3:00 pm. Here’s the game details:

What: Sacramento River Cats vs. Albuquerque Isotopes

When: Saturday, June 4 at 7:05 pm

Where: Raley Field, West Sacramento

Don’t forget to stick around after the game for the Sutter Health fireworks show!

Raley Field 029Misc Photos from 2011-2012 473River Cats May 2013 024River Cats May 2013 042

Weekend Family Fun

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There’s all kinds of fun activities going on this last weekend before Christmas. There’s the Sacrament Ballet’s Nutcracker, Kids’ Camps at the Sacramento Zoo and Bradshaw Animal Shelter, Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town and much more!

12/18 – 12/21 – Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town – Celebrate the holiday season at Fairytale Town! The storybook park will be trimmed with festive decor and lit up with a dazzling display of lights, starting at dusk. Enjoy hands-on craft activities, holiday vendors, and more at this family holiday event.

12/18 – 12/21 – 26th Annual Gingerbread Holiday: Gingerbread Houses – Come and see dozens of sweet confections on display at the 26th Annual Gingerbread Holiday gingerbread house display. There will be houses, mansions, shacks and other gingerbread structures created by school children, families, bakery academy students and adults. Entries are made of spicy gingerbread, cookies, candies and imagination! Vote for your favorite entry!

12/19 – 12/21 – The Nutcracker – Best-known and most beloved of all Sacramento Ballet productions, Ron Cunningham’s The Nutcracker has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people. The images of young Clara battling the Giant Mouse King, being saved by her Nutcracker Prince, and then journeying to the magical Snowflake Forest and Kingdom of the Sweets have become a part of our culture.

12/20 – Playing with Programming at the Discovery Museum – What do animation and Legos have in common? They are both great ways to introduce the idea of programming to children. Build a robot with Lego WeDo and program it with the accompanying software. Finish off the day by making a simple animation using MIT’s Scratch software.

12/20 – Bradshaw Animal Shelter Kids Camp – Bradshaw Animal Shelter is offering humane education camps for children Ages 8-12! Kids will get an exclusive shelter tour, hold lovable animals, make fun toys, talk to our veterinarian and an animal care officer (and get to hop in the truck!), play games, and more, all while making new friends and learning about the care of animals in our community.

12/20 – Tisssss The Season at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Have you been missing the cold-blooded critters that have been hiding out this winter? Come in to see and learn all about the Nature Centers reptiles that are awake and warm!

12/20 – Kancelled Krismas Karol – Santa’s reindeer decide to take a little break before the big flight by vacationing in Hawaii. Grass skirts, flower leis, and luaus sound like just the solution to pre-Christmas stress. That is, until the nefarious Christopher Crumm shows up and hatches a plan to say Aloha to Christmas.

12/20 – 12/21 – Holiday Scents at the Discovery Museum – You are familiar with the sights and sounds of the holidays, but this weekend we are focusing on the scents! Sniff out the smell stations to test your nose on some mystery holiday aromas. Kids craft a scented sachet to take home or give as a gift!

12/21 – Jingle All the Way – This concert by Sacramento Master Singers is a family event, perfect for young children. Hosted by head-elf Hildegarde, Mrs. Claus, and others, the singers will perform many songs kids are sure to know, and they’re invited to sing and play along. Celtic duo, Men of Worth will bring their special brand of whimsy. Join for this fantastic event for youngsters, packed with fun and excitement– including a surprise visit from Santa!

12/21 – Winter Mini Camp at the Sacramento Zoo – Winter at the Zoo is unlike any other time of year. Whether you love our summer camp or are new to the zoo and want to try a program, you will love this one day mini-camp! Campers will explore the zoo, learn about the animals, participate in games and crafts, and even get up close and personal with some of our Animal Ambassadors.

12/21 – A Muppet Christmas Carol – Come one, come all! Take a break from the frantic holiday shopping season and join in watching a modern Christmas classic in an elegant, historic setting. Charles Dickens’ timeless tale has seldom been approached with such silliness, or with such heartfelt artistic abandon. In addition to the feature attraction, Santa himself will be flying in from the North Pole to the lobby to visit with children before the movie. Holiday treats and music will be available for enjoyment, and there will be a toy and food drive to help those less fortunate in Sacramento.

12/21 – Sunday Crafternoon @ The Crocker Art Museum – This monthly gathering will inspire your family’s creativity and help you enjoy quality time together. Make simple crafts that celebrate the season, using a variety of beautiful materials.


Snow White and Rose Red at the B Street Theatre

001By Alyssa Green

Over the weekend, my son and I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the B Street Theatre’s second Family Series production of the season – Snow White and Rose Red.  And we both loved it! My 11-year old was a little bit hesitant to see a Snow White play, worried that he would be the only boy in the audience.  Of course, he wasn’t.  And this story portrayed a very different Snow White than the Disney princess we all have grown up with. And he was very relieved!

Based on a story written by the famous Grimm brothers, this adaptation was written by the B Street’s David Pierini. The play begins with a family of traveling actors – Dad, mom and two squabbling sisters, who are camping in the frightful woods.  In order to tame the frightening noises of their surroundings, they offer to entertain the “woods” with a play.  The family decides on Snow White and Rose Red which is a story about – you got it – two squabbling sisters who live in the woods with their father.  The eldest sister Snow White is self-centered, selfish and just plain mean to her younger, and much sweeter sister, Rose Red.  Snow’s only ambition in life is to someday leave the lonely woods where they have lived with their father in poverty since their mother disappeared a few years earlier, and do whatever it takes to become rich.  As you can guess, Rose’s nature is much more kind and loving, and wishes only to please her sister and father.  The girls encounter a friendly bear who wished to warm himself at their hearth and then becomes their playmate for a season. They also meet a cranky little dwarf whom they save from harm a couple of times in their journeys.

Here’s what my son had to say about it:

“I really enjoyed Snow White and Rose Red.  I liked that it was a play within a play and that this story of Snow White was one I had never heard of before. The actors were all really good, and really funny.  My favorite characters were the mom and the silly dwarf who kept getting himself in trouble!”

Snow White and Rose Red is playing at the B Street Theater thru Dec. 28, 2014 with two special Thanksgiving showings this Friday and Saturday at 1pm and 4pm.  So, if you are not a big black Friday shopper and would much rather do something fun with your kiddos, head over the B Street for a great afternoon!

Weekend Family Fun

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6/19 – 6/22 – Placer County Fair – This year’s summer beach party has packed the Grandstands! From livestock shows to stock car racing this year’s fair will entertain all. With shopping, fair foods, art, agriculture and county exhibits this will be the biggest carnival in Roseville. There will be the longest zip line, a Kids Zone, community stage performances, and a Princess Pageant.

6/20 – Museum Campfire at the Maidu Museum and Historic Site – Sit under the stars at our outdoor amphitheater to enjoy native stories around the campfire. The museum will provide roasting sticks and marshmallows for a sweet program’s end.

6/20 – 6/21 – Once Upon a Storytime at the 24th Street Theatre – With book, words, and music by Dave and Kara Lack, Once Upon A Storytime is an award-winning original interactive musical in which the audience helps Fairytale Princess Lilly, who has lost her memory, embark on an exciting and madcap adventure to find and return to her own Fairytale Story. With help from the audience and her new-found friend the Storyteller, she wanders through other famous Fairytales searching for her own while the evil Nefaria, for her own devious purposes, tries to keep Lilly trapped in those other stories.

6/20 – 6/22 – Juneteenth Celebration – Juneteenth has been a day of celebration for many African-Americans, a de facto second Independence Day commemorating the end of slavery and a first step toward inclusion in the greater American dream.

6/21 – 6/22 – International Sun Day at the Discovery Museum – Welcome the summer season by taking part in International SUN-day — both Saturday & Sunday. The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society, will be outside with their solar telescopes. These hydrogen-alpha scopes allow you to see the sun directly — so you can actually see sun spots, solar flares, and prominences — all in real-time.

6/21 – Hands-On History:  War in California at Sutter’s Fort – Stepping back in time to 1846, the Fort will re-visit a time when Mexican California was in a continuous state of political unrest and threats from foreign powers were a constant menace.  The turmoil reached an apex in June of 1846, when as many as five flags may have had a turn flying over Sutter’s Fort.  At the special “Hands on History” event, guests will hear debates about which alliance Sutter and the Fort should take in the conflict and will find out which five flags may have flown over the Fort.  During this exciting day, interested Fort guests will be treated to an award-winning presentation about the Bear Flag Revolt that showcases rare historic photographs and treasured maps from the Fort Archives.  Fort visitors can also participate in history-themed scavenger hunts and watch black powder weaponry in action including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon.

6/21 – Lego Block Party at the Franklin Community Library – Come build with us! Join our Lego Block Party. You bring your imagination and creativity, and the library supply lots and lots of Duplo and Lego blocks to build with. This is a Summer Reading event.

6/22 – Critter Close-up at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Get eye to eye with one of our feathered, lumpy, or scaly residents.

Sacramento St. Patrick’s Day Activities The Whole Family Will Enjoy

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3/15 – 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Hundreds of colorful marchers dressed in green, along with Irish and Highland dancers, pipe and drum bands, historic re-enactors and a variety of cultural organizations, will all join together to be a part of the 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Day parade!  Over 60 units with more than 1,000 marchers will be featured. Irish dancers in elaborate Celtic costumes, bagpipers, bands, military regiments, police, and fire representatives, costumed marchers and a variety of cultural organizations will bring the luck of the Irish to the event. The parade draws people from all over Northern California, bringing together thousands in the 28-acre historic state park.  Last year more than 15,000 people turned out to enjoy the festivities.

3/15 – St. Patrick’s Day River Cruise aboard the Hornblower – This St. Patrick’s Day spend your afternoon on the Sacramento River. Enjoy a one hour cruise of the Sacramento River with a face painter and balloon artist for the kids!  Guests will also see where the American and Sacramento Rivers come together to experience the wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty that this historic and important waterway has to offer.

3/15 – 10th Annual Blue Diamond Almonds Shamrock 5k and kids run – this family fun run starts off at Raley Field in West Sacramento and benefits the Triumph Cancer Foundation.  Food and entertainment will be available.

3/15 – Leprechaun Traps at the Rio Linda Public Library – Leprechauns are tricky! We’ll provide odds and ends, baubles, and boxes for you to build an innovative leprechaun trap.  Leave your trap out the night before St. Patrick’s Day and check it the next morning.  Will you find a leprechaun inside? We’ll have everything necessary, but participants are also welcome to bring their own supplies.  Blarney welcome here! We thank the Friends of Rio Linda Library for sponsoring this event.

3/16 – St. Patty’s Day Member Hour – Join us on Sunday, March 16th for a special St. Patrick’s Day Member Appreciation Hour with coffee and bagels for our members from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm!

3/16 – St. Patrick’s Brunch aboard the Sacramento River Train – Well-rounded scenic ride with warm, comfortable dining coaches, a delicious brunch, optional champagne upgrade and Irish & Celtic Music.  Tickets $53 + tax / service.  Pick-ups in both West Sacramento and Woodland.

Weekend Family Fun

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2/14 – Valentine’s Day Drop-off Night at the Sacramento Children’s Museum – Need time to sneak away from the kids for a special Valentine’s Day date? Back by popular demand, Sacramento Children’s Museum is offering a Valentine’s Day Drop Off Night! Drop off your children for a night of museum play and fun, along with snacks! Museum staff will host structured activities as well as free museum play. Children must be fully potty-trained to participate.

2/15 – Birding for Families at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Bring the family out for a birding walk led by a naturalist and special guest
guides from the Sacramento Audubon Society.  Birdwatchers of all levels are welcomed, so make sure to bring your binoculars!

2/15 – Hands on History: By Land and By Sea at Sutter’s Fort – Through exciting demonstrations and fun hands-on activities, docents will help Fort visitors understand the two different ways immigrants originally came to California–by land or by sea–while sharing the unique challenges they faced and what daily life was like during their journeys.  A special station will be set up with pioneer clothes where visitors can select outfits and have their pictures taken with the wagon or with another pioneer setting (using their own cameras).  More hands-on activities also await Fort visitors as they will help pack a wagon or trunk, make choices about what to bring along for their “journey of a lifetime,” learn how to use a nautical compass, hoist a laden barrel, weave rope, learn simple knots, create maps with available resources and even join the Navy.

2/15 – Solar Car Race at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center – Drop-in and create a fast-moving cruiser powered completely by the sun! This well-lit laboratory will be open for your family to build your own solar-powered car and race it before the workshop concludes.

2/15 – 2/17 – Engineering Antics at the Discovery Museum – If your child likes to build, this is the weekend for them! Celebrate National Engineering Week at this popular event where children build a foil boat and see how much weight it can hold before it sinks.  Compete against other visitors to see who can build the tallest structure with the supplies provided. Enjoy a water activity while discovering how to prevent pollution in streams and rivers. Local high school robotics teams will be on hand each day with their competition robots.

2/16 – Sensational Senses at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – How do humans and animals explore and get information from their nvironment? Come learn some fun facts about the function of your senses and compare them with the sensory ability of local wildlife.

Thru 2/17 – Disney on Ice Presents Rockin’ Ever After at Sleep Train Arena – The all-new Disney On Ice family spectacular Rockin’ Ever After skates into Sacramento on its North American tour. In this new twist on fairy-tale fun, your favorite Disney characters compete in a talent show to determine who will be the next superstar. The show features comical segments starring Ariel and Sebastian, Rapunzel and Flynn, the Beast and Belle, and introducing Merida from Disney/Pixar’s Brave in her skating debut.