South Yuba River State ParkSouth Yuba River Park Association Harvest FestivalContributed by Lenka Vodicka, local photographer and Nevada City blogger

Thank you so much for inviting me to share on the Outside Inn Blog! Nevada County has so many wonderful events! One of our favorites happened this past weekend at the South Yuba River State Park. The Fall Festival had activities, historical drama, gold panning, and more!  Many volunteers made this event possible. They shared local wildlife and history. The weather cooperated with lovely sunshine that caught in the golden oak leaves. Visiting the Yuba River in autumn is a special treat. The leaves reflect in calm waters.  The State Park volunteers were amazing. They let us pan for gold and taught us the trick of letting the big rocks fall so the heavy gold sinks the bottom of the pan. Or you can try my son’s method of grabbing bigger rocks by the handful… We found little amethysts and crystals, even one tiny gold flake! It was too small to weigh in the restored general store, though.

Every year, the park adds more historical features. They have a year-round visitor center with a wealth of information. They also have a restored gas station. My son climbed into an old Ford to see what it would be like to drive long ago (before GPS and streaming music). My husband and I marveled at the details with little buckles securing a leather roof to a tiny windshield.  My daughter wore her pioneer dress to help with a living-history drama called the Burial of Yankee Jim. Actors brought history to life as they walked towards the cemetery. And my girl said that the coffin was heavy! Luckily, it only had a pretend Yankee Jim inside (much to her relief).  The wonderful volunteers provided crafts for children as well. From painting pumpkins to creating silly hats, the kids were very entertained.

Another of our favorite things was the birds. Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue brought owls, falcons, ravens, and crows to share. This petite owl was an adult. She flew full-speed into a moving car. The injuries caused permanent brain damage. Her eyes are always dilated differently. Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue has a great way to support them (and the animals) with their 2014 calendar. The caregivers and the birds inspired us.  We got to attract birds to our own yard when the kids made wood bird feeders. The Sierra Foothills Audubon Society provided branches with space where the kids got to smush and pound suet (birds love it). My son, especially, enjoyed filling all the nooks and crannies.

After the fun and games, we visited the true stars of the South Yuba State Park- the bridge and the river. The bridge is currently in desperate need of funding and repairs. The entire event hoped to raise support for fixing the bridge. My husband, Giovanni, took a couple of pictures of the bridge in autumn sunshine. This history needs to be kept strong.  We walked down to the shore and found a little sand dog! A previous visitor left this sweet sculpture for us to find. The kids loved him and my daughter even made a little bone for him.  We took our painted pumpkins, and our bird feeders, and lots of great memories home. We are all happy that this event comes around every year. The volunteers host a fantastic Fall Festival for families or anyone looking to discover the history and nature all around us. Thank you for a lovely Nevada County day!

Lenka lives in Nevada City with her husband and 2 children and writes, photographs, blogs about her disability, teaches and creates Forest Fairy Crafts.    South Yuba River Fall Festival© 2013 InnSide Nevada City, © Photos by Lenka Vodicka and Giovanni-Paolo-Studios

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  1. […] A few great South Yuba River swimming holes: Mountain Dog Swimming Hole, Edwards Crossing, Purdons Crossing, Hoyt’s Crossing, Mothers Beach, 49 Crossing.  The most accessible for small children is definitely Bridgeport. […]

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