Escapes: Grass Valley’s Miners Picnic, 120 years later

Rush Creek will perform at the 120th annual Miners Picnic in Grass Valley.
Rush Creek will perform at the 120th annual Miners Picnic in Grass Valley.

What started out as a fundraiser for miners’ widows and children has become an institution that turns 120 this year. Grass Valley’s annual Miners Picnic at Empire Mine State Historic Park celebrates the town’s rich history with a mine-rescue re-enactment and costumed historical figures from the Gold Rush days. Other entertainment includes a cake walk, panning for gold, equipment exhibits, strolling musicians, a gold raffle, family-friendly games and vintage cars.

While picnickers are welcome to bring along picnic baskets and blankets, the park will provide food, drinks, ice cream and, a miner favorite, Cornish pasties. Admission is just $7 for those 17 and older, $3 for children 6 to 16 and free for children 5 and younger.

For more information, call 530-273-8522 or visit

Xtreme barrel racing

What: Burns Events’ Xtreme Reno Reunion offers a unique barrel racing series that brings together amateurs and professionals for a week of competition. There will also be a trade show, meets-and-greets with the athletes and Western-themed merchandise.

When: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Aug. 26-30

Where: Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, 1350 Wells Ave., Reno

Cost: Free

Information:, 435-893-5639

Car show & more

What: All makes and models are welcome in Lodi’s Signature Car Show, which will dish out more than 28 awards. Folks will also break dance, see who can eat the most hot wings and unwind to live country music.

When: 3-7 p.m. Aug. 28

Where: Lodi Grape Festival & Harvest Grounds, 413 East Lockeford St., Lodi

Cost: Free, $25 to register motorized vehicles in the show, $15 to register motorcycles

Information:, 209-452-2204

State park stroll

What: Ever wondered what it’s like trekking through a state park at night? Henry Cowell State Park’s Full Moon Madness features nighttime hikes, live music, crafts for kids and astronomer talks. At the end of the night, the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club will whip out telescopes for stargazing.

When: 6-9 p.m. Aug. 28

Where: Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, 101 N. Big Trees Park Road, Felton

Cost: Free, $10 for parking

Information:, 831-335-7077

Grand Prix

What: Enjoy a weekend of high-caliber competition culminating in the crowning of the champion of the Verizon IndyCar Series. Fans with garage and pit passes can get up close to the action. Other entertainment includes a pre-race concert by three-piece rockers Dig the Kid and a jet team air show.

When: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 28-30

Where: Sonoma Raceway, 29355 Arnold Drive, Sonoma

Cost: $15-$75, free for children 12 and younger

Information:, 800-870-7223

Triathlon Festival

What: Athletes of all ages and abilities can swim, bike and run through Oakland in what’s known as the largest West Coast urban triathlon. Competitors will vie for first place in the aquabike (swimming and biking), duathlon (biking and running) and paratriathlon divisions and as individuals or as part of a relay team in the international distance or sprint races. The event also features an expo with food, beer and live entertainment, cash prizes and raffles, and a post-race party.

When: 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 29

Where: Jack London Square, Embarcadero West, Oakland

Cost: $120-$265, varies for divisions and individual/relay races

Information:, Facebook

Bee staff