12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon Duo
It’s day ten of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover and today’s pick comes from Josh Cellars. It’s their duo of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
These are inexpensive to mid-priced wines, and a great gift for your boss, co-worker or neighbor. They are also wise choices to bring to Christmas dinner to share with the family.
The Sauvignon Blanc is a drink now and pairs well with a starter salad, cheeses and seafood, and the Cabernet Sauvignon you can enjoy now with a main course like this Salt and Pepper Crusted Prime Rib with Sage Jus! There are also definite aging capabilities on the Cabernet if you have the patience to wait. 😉
The Sauvignon Blanc costs around $17 and the Cabernet Sauvignon around $16. Both can be found at Total Wine and More.
For every bottle you purchase until Dec 31st, they will donate $1 to Operation Homefront and their special Holiday Meals for Military program.
Operation Homefront’s Holiday Meals for Military ensures troops and their families have what they need for a healthy and plentiful holiday meal. In 2014, they will be distributing 8,000 meals in 21 locations across the country.
About Operation Homefront:
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity watchdog groups, nationally, 93 percent of total donations to Operation Homefront go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.
About Josh Cellars:
California vintner Joseph Carr’s line of Josh Cellars wine is named in honor of his father – a passionate stock car racer and war veteran who was as unassuming and approachable as the wines that bear his name. Josh Cellars offers bold, complex and approachable wines handcrafted for drinking with family and friends. Sourced from vineyards across the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Mendocino County, and even the Central Coast of California, Josh Cellars offers six California varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and a new red blend, “Legacy.”
Tune in tomorrow for day eleven of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers 🙂
12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Domaine Chandon’s Limited Edition Blanc de Noirs, Holiday 2014
The countdown rolls on with day four of 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! For day four, I’ve selected Domaine Chandon’s Limited Edition Blanc de Noirs, Holiday 2014.
Wrapped in chic winter-white and emblazoned with the golden phrases “The Party Starts Here,” “Pour on the Fun” and “I Am the After Party,” these Limited Edition bottles are as fun to give as they are to pour.
The wine retails for $24.00 per bottle (standard 750mL) and $19.20 per bottle for wine club members.
Head over to Domaine Chandon’s Estore to purchase. They’ve got a special offer on ground shipping with the purchase of a case and if you use ground shipping (enter code BUBBLES12), you can still get the wine in time for New Year’s Eve if you order by 12/18.
Also, check out Domaine Chandon’s entertaining and hosting tips over on their site!
Day three of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover brings us this fun (and functional) wine gift from BigMouth Inc.
The World’s Biggest Wine Glass holds THREE bottles of wine and is a fun way to impress your guests over the holiday. Retailing for $19.75, it comes in a colorful gift package and is made of hand-blown glass.
For the full selection of wine accessories and other gifts, feel free to check out their online catalog – http://www.bigmouthtoys.com/CATALOG-VIEW. BigMouth Toys are also available at nationwide retailers like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and online at Amazon.com.
I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for day four of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!
Back in Napa again at last and a return to one of our favorite places to stay: The Meritage Resort. By the way, at the end of this column, read about the inaugural Masters and Makers @ Meritage event being held at The Meritage Resort in February over Valentine’s Weekend. Attention couples, a great way to celebrate!
Here’s the lobby at The Meritage, and a shot of the room in which we stayed.
After checking into our room, we had a glass of wine to kick off a romantic evening. I was so excited to return to the Napa Valley Wine Train for dinner, and this time I was able to bring Andy as my guest. I originally wrote about The Wine Train on my other website: cakegrrl.com. You can read the entry by clicking here. 🙂
The Wine Train Depot is located at 1275 McKinstry Street in the Oxbow district, just 5 minutes from downtown Napa on foot.
This is a diagram of the wine train. The Napa Valley Wine Train consists of nine rail cars and two engines on point: Lounge Cars (3), Lounge Car with Wine Tasting Bar (1), Gourmet Express Dining Cars (2), Silverado Car Al-Fresco Style Dining(1), Vista Dome Dining Car (1), Power Car (1), Chef de Cuisine Kitchen Car with Glass Observation Corridor (1)
Andy and I were assigned to the beautiful Vista Dome.
The Vista Dome is a 1952 Pullman domed rail car that offers the most private dining experience. The Vista Dome Car is an elevated observation style dining car expertly refurbished using Honduran Mahogany paneling and brass accents. Perfect for a private function or one of our special events, this domed rail car hosts up to 56 dining guests.
Above is a picture taken inside the Vista Dome! I was feeling so spoiled and lucky to be sitting beside Andy. 🙂 Especially when the server brought out the welcome glass of Chandon. All guests on the wine train get a glass of sparkling wine included with their dinner.
Corkage on the Napa Valley Wine Train is $15.00 per 750ml bottle and $30 for a Magnum sized bottle. If you bring one bottle of wine on board and buy a bottle
on board, they will waive the corkage for that bottle. FYI, most of the wines on the Wine Train menu are very reasonably priced.
Here’s a picture the dinner menu we chose from. It is slightly different from the other dining car. Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald offers a unique menu for this dining option with all selections prepared in the kitchen located on the first floor of this car. The meals are freshly prepared on the train using fresh, environmentally responsible ingredients, humanely raised, hormone free meats and fresh, line caught fish. For a closer look, you can click here.
For our appetizers, Andy went with the Salmon Crepe and I chose the Rabbit Confit. The lighting in the Vista Dome was dim, but I did not want to use a flash, so please forgive the photos I took of our meal. They are slightly dark.
The Salmon Crepe is served with Crème Fraîche, American Caviar and Honey Onion Marmalade.
It was a shrimp and seafood bisque, and though we have been experiencing warmer than normal temperatures this winter, the temperature had dropped enough by the time we boarded the train to appreciate a delicious soup. 🙂
The salad was not for dieters. 😉 It was a Red and Green Apple Endive Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese, Hazelnuts and Mustard Vinaigrette. I was happy because I am on a real hazelnut kick right now and have been for a while.
After our second course, a sorbet trio was brought out. I forgot to snap a photo of it. The flavors were mango, pineapple, and mixed berry. They are made by the chefs at the Wine Train and were a wonderful intermezzo.
Then it was time for the entrees. Andy and I both chose the Roasted Beef Tenderloin on Potato‐Fennel Gratin topped with Fried Lotus Root and Red Onion Marmalade in a Red Wine Cabernet Reduction. I had reviewed the menu ahead of time and chosen my entrée and that is mainly why Andy brought the Bell Cabernet. The wine pairing was excellent. And though I gave a little bit of my beef portion to Andy to finish, it was all so good I had nothing left on my plate.
It was quite the adventure walking from car to car and fun to catch some fresh air between courses. It sort of felt like we were in a James Bond movie! After that, we were re-seated to enjoy our desserts, as well as a glass of port that Andy and I shared.
Below is a picture of the dessert I chose, a Chocolate “Pot Pie” and below that, Andy’s dessert: a Blondie with Mint Ice Cream. This job is so tough, isn’t it? In typical fashion, I had a few bites and then shoved my dessert over to Andy, who did not object to finishing it. I was eying the blondie on his plate and asked for the chocolate-dipped edge. He gladly shared with me. I love eating meals with my best friend. 🙂
Wine Train FAQs I found particularly interesting:
Q: Is a tip included in the price?
A: Optional tipping is solely based upon the guests’ experience on board. It is not unusual for guest to leave 3%-8% additional based upon receiving excellent service. Your tip should be on your food and beverage service (the value of your on board pre-paid meal is $55.00) per person tax included, and not the train fare.
- Q: Is Wine Included?
A: One glass of welcome wine is included with every Wine Train package for guests who are over the age of 21. Wines are included during the Vintner’s Lunches and the monthly Moonlight Escape Dinners. Cocktails, beers and wine can be purchased on board throughout your journey. More than 100 wines are on the wine list and in the Wine Tasting Car.
- Q: Do you have to drink wine on the Napa Valley Wine Train?
A: No, you do not have to drink wine on board the Napa Valley Wine Train. For our guests who do not want to drink wine, we also offer juice, soda, non-alcoholic wines, beers, cocktails and brandies.
During the 3-hour-long, 36-mile (58 km) round-trip between Napa and St. Helena, passengers can choose to enjoy a gourmet meal prepared on board. They can also sample several of the region’s wines available at the wine bar located in one of the lounge cars. The train offers optional stops for tours of Domaine Chandon Winery in Yountville, Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford, and a motor coach tour of Raymond Winery in St. Helena and ZD Winery in Napa for an additional fee. The train hosts several special events throughout the year including murder mystery dinner theater, vintner’s luncheons, appellation dinners and holiday excursions. Guests are invited to explore the rest of the train after the entree and prior to the dessert.
The Napa Valley Wine Train has been in operation since September 16, 1989 and has now carried more than 2 million passengers.
Here’s a list of special events on The Wine Train, including a special Valentine’s lunch and dinner.
Since I was a return guest, I was presented with some chocolates as a parting gift. (Some guests around us were repeat customers and also got chocolates as well, not just the journalist!) Since I was a little sad my mom (who lives in Ohio) was not there to enjoy this experience with us, I decided to send them to her and they are currently en route to the midwest. 🙂
The next morning, it was time to pay for all those glorious calories and the night of indulgence aboard the Wine Train. 🙂 Lucky for me, The Meritage Resort has a killer gym with a great view. And I put in over an hour on this bad boy:
Then it was time for a well needed shower, just in time for check out. Thanks for everything to the staff at The Meritage Resort and see you next time!
The Meritage Resort and Spa will host the inaugural Masters and Makers @ Meritage Napa Valley food and wine experience February 14 to February 16, 2014. This celebration will showcase Napa Valley and Sonoma County wines and farm-fresh foods through creative wine tasting experiences, seminars, culinary classes, a wine maker dinner in the Estate Cave, a wine tasting gala and more. Join The Meritage Resort’s Executive Chef, Krisztian Karkus, Master Sommeliers, including Gillian Balance from Treasury Wine Estates/Beringer and Fred Dame with Southern Wine and Spirits as well as some of the best and most well-known wine makers in the region.
The weekend of events is aimed at teaching each attendee, no matter their wine tasting background, from novice to aficionado, more about the wines the Napa Valley is famous for. Guests are able to choose from a variety of educational and fun activities throughout three days of tastings and events with master wine makers and master sommeliers making this the wine event that is not to be missed.
Masters and Makers @ Meritage begins Friday, February 14 with The Master and The Makers Tasting, an Amuse Bouche set to highlight five quintessential blended wines from the Napa Valley. Guests will taste the wines and listen as a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier taste and review each of the wines, giving their opinions and helping guests understand the art of wine tasting. The Friday night Reserve Wine Dinner in the Estate Cave will be led by Master Sommeliers as they take attendees on a food and wine journey and featuring Pine Ridge Vineyards.
On Saturday, guests are able to choose from one of three activities during the day and attend the evening wine tasting gala. The daytime activities include a Custom Wine Tour set to visit three classic Napa Valley wineries with tours and tastings at each, plus a picnic lunch. The Perfect Blending, an educational and hands-on course about what makes the perfect Bordeaux Blend including lunch and your own “Meritage Blend” with a custom wine label. Foodies may want to choose Cook to This! Trinitas Cellars Cooking Class and Wine Pairing, giving attendees the opportunity to create their own multi-course lunch with the help of culinary experts perfectly paired with wines selected by Trinitas Cellars.
The Gala and Grand Tasting on Saturday evening will transform The Grand Ballroom at The Meritage Resort into a majestic tasting room with live music and over 65 wineries from Napa Valley and Sonoma County to showcase many of the finest wines produced in the region. Alongside the wines will be endless culinary creations from the chefs at The Meritage Resort including a selection of seafood, caviars, cheeses, meats and decadent desserts.
Masters and Makers @ Meritage will close on Sunday with the farewell Bubbles & Brunch and a casual afternoon of tasting 30-40 wines at the Appellation Tasting paired with cheeses and charcuterie.
“We’re looking forward to bringing all of the premier wineries to one convenient spot to offer a premiere wine and food experience,” said Michael Palmer, general manager of The Meritage Resort and Spa. “Our goal with the Masters and Makers @ Meritage is to give attendees an exclusive weekend wine and food experience that only Napa Valley can provide.
Masters and Makers @ Meritage 3-Day All Access Passes are $509 per person, and include entry into all events on Friday, two events on Saturday (one daytime event and the evening gala) and all events on Sunday. Guests may also choose to purchase events and activities individually. Discounted room packages are also available, the $950 package includes a 3-Day All Access Passes for two and a two night stay, valid February 14-16, 2014 only. A portion of all ticket sales from The Gala and Grand Tasting will be donated to the Napa Valley’s COPE Family Center. Complete Information is available at TheMeritageResort.com/Napa-Valley-Restaurants/Masters-Makers/.
About The Meritage Resort and Spa
The Meritage Resort and Spa is an extraordinary four-diamond Napa Valley luxury resort set against a hillside vineyard. A destination unto itself, it features 322 Tuscan-inspired guestrooms and luxury suites, seasonal farm-to-table cuisine at the Siena Restaurant and wine tasting in the Estate Cave featuring Trinitas Cellars. Regain a healthful balance with curative treatments at Spa Terra—a lavish underground spa with steam grottoes, soaking pools, treatment alcoves and tranquil walls of water. The resort boasts the most comprehensive event and meeting space in the wine country, including the two largest ballrooms in the Napa Valley, the Estate Cave and three covered terraces. Crush Ultra Lounge offers guests a chance to relax with a full bar, sports entertainment and six bowling lanes. Far more than a place for relaxation, our unique property is an Old World escape from the ordinary. The Meritage Resort and Spa experience is the perfect blend of gracious hospitality, unrivaled amenities and peerless personal care. The Meritage Resort and Spa, We are Napa. TheMeritageResort.com.
This weekend, the Sacramento Music Festival is back! This year, the festival is celebrating its 40th Anniversary!
As always, it’s one GIANT PARTY in Old Sacramento and surrounding hotel ballrooms pulsing with the rhythms of jazz, swing, blues, zydeco, rockabilly, bluegrass, Latin music and more. There will be dancing in the streets! Music will be running morning, noon, and midnight. There will be specialty concerts and events, like the Saturday Parade, evening lineups of dance and party bands, and a Memorial Day Salute to Service. They’ll also have world class music groups that you don’t want to miss. There’s plenty to do all weekend long. Here’s a link to the full schedule of performers.
NOTE: the PARADE takes place on SATURDAY at 10 a.m. this year. Also, bring the KIDS! FREE admission for those 12 and younger. There’s a FREE SHUTTLE between venues for festival goers.
Along with traditional favorites and festival mainstays, the 2013 Sacramento Music Festival will feature: Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Ben Taylor, The Blasters, John Lee Hooker, Jr., The James Hunter Six,Wanda Jackson, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Jimmy Pailer, Johnny “Guitar” Knox and the Beer Dawgs.
I am personally most excited to see Sister Swing and Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers!! 🙂
You can visit the website to find information on tickets, music schedule (posted in April), Special Events, food vendors, maps, hotels, venues, travel, and more. http://www.sacmusicfest.com/ You can find the Sacramento Music Festival on Facebook here and follow it on twitter here!
You can buy tickets (ranging from single day to all access weekend pass) here.
The Great Pumpkin 5K will be held on Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 9:00am in Folsom, California.
The course starts in the parking lot of 2304 E Bidwell Street and is run on the paths of the Humbug Willow Creek Trail along marshes, creeks, and oak woodlands.
Race will feature disposable chip timing. Jogging Strollers are allowed. Please start at the back of the pack and stay to the right side of path.
Aid stations at the halfway (1.6-mile) point, stocked with hydration and smiling faces!
Race registration is $35. You can register by going here. Registration available online until midnight, Friday, October 26th. You must register no later than Thursday, October 18th to be guaranteed a shirt and size. Provided the event does not sell out, we will accept registration at Packet Pickup race morning.
However, finisher awards, shirts and sizes are not guaranteed for late registrants, so register early!
Race morning at 2304 E Bidwell Lot (Race Venue), 7:30am to 8:30am Race Day. Plan to arrive no later than 8:15am in order to pick up your packet.
All participants receive entry into a raffle to win one of many great prizes provided by ERT’s generous sponsors and partners. The raffle will be held before race start so you do not have to wait around after the event if you need to hit the road. (If you have time–great! Hang out and enjoy the refreshments and cheer on the other runners.)
The race will start immediately following the raffle at 9:00am. Refreshments will be provided for all runners and walkers following the race.
All participants will receive a race shirt and custom finisher award. Late/Race Day Registrants are not guaranteed shirts and sizes. Awards will be given for top 3 male and female finishers, and top finishers in age divisions 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70+. Depth of awards will be determined by the participant field. Award ceremony follows the race. All winners must be present–awards will not be available for pickup or mailing after event.
Right before RB and I take off for Napa again this year!! <—excited!! :), We’ll be attending the Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza on September 7th from 7pm-10pm at the Christian Brothers Campus. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event.
The Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza is the premiere food and drink event in Sacramento. It features hundreds of California’s finest restaurants and wineries, and showcases the best of local breweries throughout the state. The Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza has raised millions of dollars to put towards tuition funding and community outreach programs throughout the area.
Featured wineries and breweries at the event will be:
August Anthony Vineyard, Berryessa Gap Vineyards, Bogle Winery, Brother Timothy Mont La Salle Vineyard Estate, Cannonball Wine Company, Cartlidge and Brown, Carvalho Family Winery, Columbia Crest Wines, Corralitos Wine Company, Girard Winery, Greystone Wines, Harbison Wines, Harney Lane Winery, Jeremy Wine Company, Josh Cellars, Klinker Brick Wines, Line 39McConnell Estates, Madrona Vineyards, Mumm Napa, Michael-David Winery, Moniz Wines, Oakstone Winery, Pacific Wine and Spirits, Padis Vineyards, Pedroncelli Winery, Peirano Wines, Rodney Strong, Revolution Wines, Rombauer Vineyards, Scheid Winery, Schug Winery, Scribner Bend, Scott Harvey Wines, Senders – Wine with a Cause, Stama Winery, Terra d’Oro Winery, Thorny Rose Wines, Troubadour Cellars, Wente Vineyards, Wreckless Blenders, and ZD Wines
Auburn Alehouse, Firestone Walker, Guinness, Hoppy Brewing, Knee Deep Brewing, Lockdown Brewing, Lost Coast Brewery, Mendocino Brewing Company, Miller-Coors, New Belgium Brewing, Pyramid Alehouse, Rubicon, Ruhstaller, Sierra Nevada, The Shack, Sutter Buttes Brewing, Track 7 Brewing, Two Rivers Cider Company
Through the proceeds from this event last year, the alumni association was able to net over ninety thousand dollars, which went to the school’s tuition assistance program.
Due to the generous efforts of our sponsors and vendors, along with the hard work of the Alumni Board and volunteers, students who would not have been able to attend Christian Brothers High School were able to do so.
Please mark Friday, September 7, 2012 on your calendar and plan on joining us for what promises to be another fantastic event.
You can follow Christian Brothers Wine Beer & Food Extravaganza on twitter here. Cheers! 🙂
Join Denio’s for a fun-filled day as they celebrate the area’s largest Farmers Market in a whole new way!
The “Salsa Showdown” will be a “Chopped” style competition with local culinary students and judged by some of the area’s top professional chefs.
Receive complimentary produce tastings, salsa-making tips and recipes, and so much more. Plus, the kids will enjoy their own exclusive “Fun Zone.”
Denio’s Farmer’s Market and Swap Meet open at 7am. They are located at 1551 Vineyard Road, Roseville. You can visit them online at Denio’sMarket.com
If you haven’t heard about the 2012 Sacramento Burger Battle by now, you’re probably living under a huge chunk of charcoal!! Sacramento’s first charity burger cook-off and tasting event, the Sacramento Burger Battle, will be held on National Cheeseburger Day, Sept. 18, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Raley Field.
Of course, the organizer of the event is a friend of mine, so I have had the privilege of knowing all about the event for a few months now. I was particularly interested in helping promote this event because all of the ticket sales benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2001. Though my Crohn’s is in remission and it rarely bothers be (due to my diet and exercise regime), I know there are many people who are hospitalized and operated on every year (and even die) from Crohn’s Disease.
The Battle Details:
Up to 15 Sacramento-area restaurants will create their best burgers in the hope of being named the Best Burger in Sacramento.
- de Vere’s Irish Pub
- The Porch
- The Eatery
- Restaurant Thir13en
- Kupros Bistro
- Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar
- Delta King
- The Chef’s Table
- Squeeze Inn
- The Golden Bear
Guest judges include food writers Rick Kushman and Erin Jackson, local chef Bret Bohlmann, and Rick Mindermann of Corti Brothers.
Attendees can sample burgers from participating restaurants and vote for their favorite burger to receive the People’s Choice Award.
Not Just Burgers!!
Featured entertainment includes a live art installation by the nationally acclaimed Tekstartist from Carlsbad, California. The final piece will be auctioned off during the event to raise additional funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Admission to the event is limited to adults 21 and over.
About the 2012 Sacramento Burger Battle
Conceived by Rodney Blackwell, a nationally ranked burger blogger based in Sacramento, California, Sacramento Burger Battle’s purpose is two-fold: to showcase the local dining scene, and to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Blackwell’s commitment to helping find a cure for Crohn’s and colitis started four years ago, when his daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s.
Ready to buy tickets? You can get them online here!
The concert features ANALYSIS with A.D.and special guests Cynthia Douglas and Taylor the “Donn” Burrise.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 @ the door. The first 50 guests receive a FREE glass of wine.
Wine Club Members: $15 plus a FREE glass of wine.
A down-home BBQ is available for purchase by Sacramento’s very own Sandra Dee’s BBQ & Seafood.
Space is limited. Call (916) 813-6909 or email miners leap at gmail.com
The Miners Leap tasting room is open:
Friday 1 to 6 p.m.
Happy Hour 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
54250 South River Road, Clarksburg, CA 95612
They also have a concert planned at the winery on September 8th, 2012 with Levi Huffman and ANALYSIS. For more information, go to their website here.
You can “like” Miner’s Leap on Facebook here.
The California State Fair is here again, and this time I will be doing a cooking demo at the fair on July 20th, from 5-7pm! I will be there to discuss the Paleo diet and to make a dish for audience sampling!! Come out and say hello and see what the Paleo thing is all about.
In celebration of my appearance at the Fair, I am giving away a pair of tickets, complete with a parking pass to one of my readers. To win, please comment below and tell me what you are most looking forward to at the fair! (If you’re anything like me, it’s the wine garden and the Mick Martin concerts!) I’ll also be heading to Pignotti’s booth (located in the wine garden) for my cheese and fruit plate! 🙂
The person with the best entry wins (you have to be local to win)…Giveaway ends tomorrow at noon! Ready…. GO!!!
Also, read below and check out some of the new attractions at the fair this year (via a press release from the California State Fair Media Department), or you can read my State Fair review from last year. I found some really healthy options at the fair:
Better hours and a slew of new attractions are among the highlights of the 2012 California State Fair, which runs July 12-29 at Cal Expo.
The fairgrounds will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Magical Midway hours are 2-11 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday, noon-11 p.m. Wednesday, and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Kids Park will be operational 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In keeping with the theme “Fun That Moves You,” the 2012 State Fair introduces an array of entertaining, challenging, educational and thoroughly enjoyable activities and experiences for all ages. Most of them are free with fair admission:
“Wizard’s Challenge” (in front of Bldg A) – Explore the magic and wonder of science in a 9,600-square-foot, Medieval-themed, mostly interactive exhibit. Morph your face with someone else’s in the Morphing Mirror. Try to identify mysterious smells in Common Scents. Dare to walk through the Dragon’s Lair. Make beautiful music with the Enchanted Organ and Steel Drums. Take on all-comers at the Giant Chess Set. There are 20 activities in all. And don’t miss the Magic of Science stage show with three performances daily. “Wizard’s Challenge” is sponsored by SMUD.
“Sun-Maid Celebrating 100 Years of Fruit and Sunshine” (Expo Center, Bldg 3) – The Kingsburg-based company, a cooperative owned by nearly 1,000 families who grow raisin grapes, celebrates 100 years of a thriving enterprise by displaying from its collection two paintings and a chromo lithograph by the celebrated America artist Norman Rockwell. The Sun-Maid celebration also includes an interactive exhibit that tells the story of dried-fruit production in California and the history of the iconic Sun-Maid Girl. The Sun-Maid chef will cook up heritage recipes in the Sun-Maid Kitchen.
“Girl Scouts Zone”(Bldg A-B) – Celebrating 100 years of scouting, Girl Scouts Heart of Central California worked with Randy Roberts, deputy director of the Crocker Art Museum, and museum consultant Rachel Tooker to create an interactive exhibit that shows how Girl Scouts discover, connect and take action to make the world a better place.
“Toytopia 2.0” (Expo Center, Bldg 5) – Sacramento’s Stage Nine Entertainment returns with an interactive exhibit for folks of all ages. Doodle on the world’s largest Etch-a-Sketch and pretend that you live in a giant dollhouse. Build something with Legos and other construction toys. Visit the stuffed animal Toytopia Zoo. Check out model planes, trains and automobiles, and play the day away at a retro game arcade. Don’t forget to visit the official Toytopia store inside the exhibit.
“Birds in Paradise”(Floriculture) – Wander deep into the “jungle” where macaws, Amazon and cockatoos inhabit the “parrot tree.” Marvel at colorful peacocks, along with a charm of finches, a colony of canaries, along with kookaburra, amazons, curassow and other “singers.” Experts will be on hand to talk about the feathered flock. And look for exotic plants, many of which were propagated and nurtured in the State Fair’s Landscape Yard: vanilla orchid, sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, banana, papaya and pineapple. Free California poppy-seed packs will be given away while supplies last.
“Wet ‘n’ Wild” (Bldg B)– The California Department of Water Resources and California Department of Fish and Game team up on a water and wildlife exhibit designed to educate the public about native animals and how water impacts their habitats. See raccoon, bobcat, bald eagle, rattlesnake and amphibians in enclosures similar to their native habitats. Watch educational and entertaining presentations with a beaver, turkey vulture, North American porcupine, desert tortoise and hawk at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
“We Stand on Their Shoulders”(Bldg A) – Sacramento State professor emeritus Felicenne Ramey created a documentary–style exhibit in which photographs of elderly African-American men and women are paired with their musings on life. Ramey began working on the project in 2009. The exhibit comes to the State Fair after making its debut earlier this year at the Sacramento State library.
“ ‘The Flying Marbellos’ & Friends” (Expo Center, Bldg 7) – Vallejo dentist and artist Victor Chaney creates wacky and hypnotic kinetic sculptures, including the circus-themed “The Flying Marbellos” and “H2-Opus,” a musical fountain. See six of his unique works in the Fine Art building.
Guinness World Record attempts– Be a part of history at the California State Fair as not one, but two, world records are challenged. The world’s largest cocktail, a Margarita, will be built starting at 10 a.m. July 13 in an enormous stainless steel shaker on Palm Avenue. A Roseville woman will attempt the longest continuous Ferris wheel ride. She’s set to begin her quest at 5 a.m. July 23 in the Magical Midway. She’ll have to outlast the Los Angeles police detective who set the current record of 25 hours in June 2012.
My First Ride (Cavalcade of Horses arena) – Never been on a horse before? Now cowboys and cowgirls of all ages can saddle up for a jaunt around the arena. Rides will be given at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on July 15, 17, 24, 27 and 28. At 3 p.m. every day, kids can participate in stick-horse games and pony painting.
On the Magical Midway – Butler Amusements amps up the fun with old favorites and some new attractions, including White Water Log Flume, Mega Drop Tower and Circle of Champions. The Zillerator Coaster makes its return to the 2012 State Fair.
High Fly’n Zip Line (behind Expo Center, Bldg 5) – Also debuting at the 2012 State Fair, brought in by Butler Amusements, is a 600-foot-long zip line on which up to four riders will fly along at 35 mph. The highest elevation is 60 feet. Riders must weigh between 30 and 250 pounds. Zip line tickets are $20 and do not include State Fair admission. Carnival wristband and carnival tickets cannot be used for this ride.
Gran Jaripeo con Ezequiel Pena y Mucho Mas– The action includes a bull-riders-only rodeo, renowned Mexican entertainer Ezequiel Pena who will perform as he rides around the arena on horseback, and much more. (4-10 p.m. July 29, Horse Show and Rodeo Arena)
In addition to the new attractions, these are among the old favorites back at the 2012 California State Fair:
Live thoroughbred horse racing in the Miller Lite Grandstand (July 12-15 and July 19-22), big-name entertainment on the Golden1 Stage, the Livestock Nursery, Children’s Dairy Center, Dianne Olds Rossi and her Magical Dancing Horses, Metal Mayhem Destruction Derby (cars and RVs), Counties Exhibit, Fine Arts, cooking competitions in California’s Kitchen and The Farm, Operation Postcard, Friends of the California State Fair’s Brewfest, Youth Art & Design Expo, Gospel Festival and the Sacramento Mile.
The 2012 California State Fair runs July 12th-29th at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento
Fair hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Admission: $12 general, $10 ages 62-plus, $8 children 5-12. Children under 4 free.
(Discount tickets on sale until July 11.)
Parking: $10. For more information: www.bigfun.org