Archive for Authentic Sacramento
From California State Capital to Farm to Fork Capital of the world? Well, we can’t verify the latter, but everyone needs a hero, right? And when it comes to fresh farm food on your plate, Sacramento does seem to have a lamb’s leg up.
Recently proclaimed ‘America’s Farm to Fork Capitol’, Sacramento region farms, ranches and wineries supply restaurants all over the country. And how better to kick off this dinner party than with the inaugural Farm to Fork Festival coming September 2013!
But until then, there are plenty of other food and drink related festivals going on throughout the year. In fact, Bacon Fest Sacramento starts this Sunday and goes all week long at various locations. And if you’re at all like me – feeling sorry for the little piggies – at least there are some ethics baked into this greasy-feast of a festival.
“Bacon Fest Sacramento is all about pork from pigs who lived healthy, happy lives at farms where farmers value ethical and sustainable food production.” As well, “All events are not-for-profit and all the money goes to Sacramento chefs, restaurateurs and the Center For Land Based Learning nonprofit in nearby Winters.”
As we become more aware of where our food comes from, how it’s prepared, processed and handled, and what nutritional value it has, we earn the right to both demand humane practices and thoroughly enjoy what we eat.
Many days I can see snow-capped mountains on the horizon to the east, and some mornings I can even smell the ocean hitching a ride upon the low-lying fog that’s seeping in from the west. There are also the rivers winding beneath freeways, between neighborhoods, and always glistening in the distance. Come wintertime, the trees shed their leaves and reveal a hidden city beneath, until spring returns to feast upon it once again.
I see uniqueness and contrast all around this diverse city, which is full of color and flourishing life. People in cities create a complex web of existence together – challenges and all – which puts us in a positive place from which creative thinking and innovative solutions can occur. Yet diversity can mean so many things, from the people within to the landscapes we see and the resources at our disposal. Diversity, on a daily basis, is when we see different cultures existing in one place, like shopping at the mall, attending an outdoor festival, or gathering in support or rebuttal of some societal issue.
It’s a fact of life that people have different spiritual and political beliefs, different customs and societal norms, different sexual and romantic leanings, different lifestyles, ways of thinking and even behaving. That we can exist together even mostly peacefully is an amazing feat, and great cities reflect this. Coming together, whether it be living, working or socializing side by side, and taking advantage of the opportunities therein shows a respect for our surroundings, the greater good and our brave future together.
The holiday season is offically here (even though the retail industry would have us believe it now starts in August). Whatever sets your heart a’glow this time of year, there’s plenty of cheer already brewing around town.
From festivals to ice rinks to cozy hangouts, SacTown’s got visions of sugarplums falling from blue trees. Why not let a little of the magic seep in and warm your weary bones starting this weekend…
Sunday, November 18
Festival of Trees: A Taste of Northern California – Enjoy this family affair with local culinary delights, auction and Childrens’ Festival. California Auto Museum, 2200 Front St., Old Sacramento. http://www.calautomuseum.org
Sacramento’s Lost Movie Houses – Watch the Alhambra, Esquire and Showcase come back to life through rare historic photos. Presented by the Sacramento Living Library at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St, FREE. http://sacramento.downtowngrid.com/events/index.php?events_id=9188&tk=d363942c6f57ff73bc61&event_on=11%2F18%2F2012
For more of what’s happening in this winter wonderland, visit http://www.Sacramento365.com!
There is, undoubtedly, something magnificent about the grandeur of certain architecture that links our past with our present… Because it is not just about the architecture alone, but the people who created and inhabited the structures themselves. And thanks to several notable one-time Sacramento residents, the elegance and triumphs of the past can still literally be seen and felt by exploring a few of Sacramento’s most infamous mansions.
The Governor’s Mansion was built by a hardware merchant in 1877. It became California’s Executive Mansion in 1903. An example of Second Empire-Italianate architecture, the interior design reflects a mixture of tastes, ranging from the original Victorian builder through all the various governors and first ladies who lived there. With 30 rooms and nine bathrooms, 14-foot ceilings, Persian carpets, Italian marble fireplaces, chandeliers and French mirrors, it was home to thirteen of California’s governors, ending with Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967. [1526 H St., 323-3047, http://www.parks.ca.gov.
The Leland Stanford State Historic Park is a magnificent 19,000-square–foot mansion with soaring 17-foot ceilings, gilded mirrors and exquisitely detailed carved moldings, beautifully restored woodwork, elegant 19th century crystal and bronze light fixtures, historic paintings, 19th-Century style gardens and original period furnishings that belonged to its infamous owners. Originally built in1856, it was later purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford. Leland was a “Big 4” member as well as a California governor. [800 N St., 324-0575, http://www.stanfordmansion.org.
If you care to stay a little longer in one of Sacramento’s history-drenched structures, the Llewellyn Williams Mansion, which is now the International Hostel, is a splendid example of a gold rush era mansion. It has been touted by NorCalHostels.org as “one of California’s best travel deals and America’s most unique hostel.” Built in 1891, the mansion was deemed so historically valuable that it was relocated twice to protect it from demolition. Featuring lavish sitting rooms, stained glass skylights, elegantly carved stairways and chandeliers, its eclectic Italianate-stick style architecture is said to add a whimsical touch to the neighborhood. [925 H St, 443-1691, http://www.norcalhostels.org/sac/
As the mornings turn crisp and the night sky fills with wisps of smoke and moisture, you might find yourself craving the coziness that can only be found in darkness and the subtle titillations of fall’s enchantments. This Weekend, why not begin the immersion with a pinch of this and dose of that?
Go See a Play
‘The K of D: An Urban legend’ at B Street Theatre runs through October and straight into November. http://www.bstreettheatre.org/
Hit a Round for Charity
10th Annual Fairways to Fairytales takes place in Folsom this Friday, benefitting Fairytale Town. http://www.fairytaletown.org/events/fairways-to-fairytales-golf-tournament/
Celebrate the European Way
Sacramento Turn Verein’s 45th Annual Oktoberfest will melt away the stress.
Spook Yourself Silly
Old Sacramento Ghost Tours will enchant, entrance or chill to the loveley bones. http://www.historicoldsac.org/programs/programs-ghost.asp
Visit the Big Screen
Sacramento Horror Film Festival promises to get the adenaline pumping. http://www.sachorrorfilmfest.com/index.php?profile=shff
Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will expand your worldview. http://www.siglff.org/wordpress/index.php
Get Seriously Creative (or Creatively Serious)
Dia de los Muertos creative classes and colorful celebrations are cropping up all over the city. http://sacramento.downtowngrid.com/events/index.php
For more events, information and autumn enchantments visit http://www.sacramento365.com/search/results
Discovery Park, which is near Old Sacramento and the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, hasn’t seen many concerts in its time, especially one that could hold two stages, an abundance of vendors, and thousands of fans while still leaving plenty of wiggle room. But after partaking in this bountiful music festival, we’d really like to see more outdoor events happening here. (Are you reading this, promoters?).
What We Experienced:
Traffic moving steadily and easily into and out of the venue, a speedy entrance into the festival, manageable crowds to the extent that we could actually see our favorite band members, accessible bathrooms with short lines (ok, port-a-potties, but they were spacious), “mister” tent and shade always somewhere to be found, surprisingly delicious food (where did the vendors come from?), generous drinks at relatively-decent prices, mild temperatures and soft-cloud-dowsed skies, people just looking for a rockin’ good time.
How We Did It:
We took a blanket, set it down in the shade between the two stages, and listened to the music from afar the majority of the time. When we wanted to get closer to our favorite bands, we were able to get closer than we thought possible. The rest of the time, we hung out with friends, sharing nachos and watching the crowd slowly volley back and forth from stage to stage.
What We Learned:
If one vendor is out of cranberry juice, Shocktop or chicken tenders, there is another not far away with just what the doctor ordered. Rules are not always enforced across the board (why say “no backpacks” and then let hundreds of them in?). If one port-a-potty is out of t.p. or one hand-washing station out of soap, you’re not doomed; they’re not all out. Tailgating is not encouraged, although if you’re not causing any trouble, you might be able to enjoy a little pre-concert socializing.
Hoping for an almost Woodstock-like music festival (minus the rain and mud), we pretty much found it – complete with dusty lungs, satisfied souls, and cherished memories-to-go.
The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival took place on September 23rd, 2012 in Sacramento, CA.
Are You Up for a Weekend of Fun, Frivolity, Wine & Retro Things?
If so, pack your vintage-inspired bathing suit and get your taste buds ready for a rollercoaster ride of an experience. Oh, and make sure you have a place to rest up – before, between and after – as these events are sure to require some energy and enthusiasm on your part. And while you’re at it (if you can handle more excitement), ask for your Gold Card (at participating hotels) – your ticket to even more fun and extra savings around town. [http://www.discovergold.org/visitors/goldcard/]
Friday, September 21
A TASTE OF SACRAMENTO – 14th Annual Easter Seals benefit featuring unlimited wine, beer and food tastings. Sacramento Convention Center, Downtown, 5:30-9pm, $40. http://www.myeasterseals.org/events/a-taste-of-sacramento.html
NATIVE HARVEST FESTIVAL TASTING – Seasonal Native American-inspired foods, entertainment and trunk show. Inside Ancient Future, Midtown, 6-8pm. Ticket pre-purchase required, $30.
(916) 476-3754, http://sacramento.downtowngrid.com/events/index.php?events_id=8571&tk=d79dbf1b6378939e57e9&event_on=09%2F21%2F2012
Saturday, September 22
A MAD MEN INSPIRED POOL PARTY – Contests, cocktails, food trucks, DJ music, classic cars, shopping, proceeds to various charities. The Greens Hotel, Uptown. 2-6pm, $8. http://sacramento.downtowngrid.com/events/index.php?events_id=8766&tk=d79dbf1b6378939e57e9&event_on=09%2F22%2F2012
Eat, drink and be merry. Be there or be square.
But since more life – and work – seem to occur within and around cities, I try to find a balance between living in this modern world and relishing in the ease and spirit of small town life. One of the best ways I’ve found in which to do this is by frequenting festivals and faires whenever possible. The only hang-up: It’s not that easy locating these galas and celebrations, many of which come and go without my knowledge. So I’m starting a running list of central California festivals, and I hope you’ll help me give it a good go. Because festivals, to me, help fill in the gaps between the soul of city life and the spirit of nature’s abandon.
For starters, Sacramento365.com seems a good place to warm up finding Greater Sacramento area festivals. For instance, I see that Festa Italiana (Sacramento), Sacramento Swap Meet (Natomas), and Vinyl & Music Fair (Davis) are all taking place early August. I missed the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair in San Francisco this past June and Taste of the Delta earlier this month, but we’re just in time for small town Courtland’s Pear Fair this coming weekend, July 29. So come on ~ let’s kick up a little dirt together!
With this great mild summer weather, there’s hardly an excuse to not be outside. And I’ve got the perfect stroll and sightsee path for you! Just wear comfy shoes and some sunscreen, maybe a hat, definitely a camera.
Off the I-5 freeway and adjacent to Embassy Suites in Old Sacramento is a stretch of 10-hour parking spots. Grab one of those, pay the meter machine (cash or credit/ATM), and then decide which way to head first.
Let’s say you decide to cross the pedestrian-friendly overpass to find the Crocker Art Museum at 2nd & O. You could spend hours there if you choose – going forward and backward in time and traveling the world through art. And luckily there’s a café and plenty of casual seating to enjoy refreshments and downtime. From there, walk back toward your car (but don’t get in it). Just beyond the street is a railroad and then Promenade with unfettered river views. Stroll the wide tree-lined concrete path enjoying the scenery, people watching, and brushing up on your Sacramento bridge, boat and railroad history. From here, I suggest two options: Either go straight and swiftly end up in Old Sacramento for bountiful dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities…. Or head left across the Tower Bridge to Raley Field and end up in West Sacramento; See a River Cats game or concert there, or take a tour of the facility.
Traversing on foot in this manner, you’ll really get an intimate feeling of the lay of land and gain a better picture of past, present, and possibly even future.
Where to Stay: Embassy Suites, Delta King or Holiday Inn Capital Plaza
(Uh oh – I didn’t mention the shopping plaza nearby or eclectic K Street Mall, did I ?….)
Spare the Air Day, also known as Scooter’s Clean Air Fun Fest, is a relatively new family-oriented festival occurring each June in Midtown Sacramento’s very “green” Fremont Park.
The Sacramento River is long and lush, and provides immense opportunities for boating, fishing, biking, kayaking, strolling, wildlife watching, dining, etc.
Swabbies on the River is accessible by both car and boat, and hosts lots of bands and mini music festivals throughout the summer.
Old Ironsides is another great venue for live local music, cold drinks and that dark dive bar ambiance you might find yourself craving on a hot summer night.
Summer concerts are cropping up all over Sacramento, but kudos to the longest running summer concert series, Friday Night Concert in the Park.
And if you didn’t get to “see” Venus transiting the sun the other night, take a look at the beautiful sunset it inspired…
Next time, Something Big and Something Small~