Local News

Plumas-Sierra County Fair Triumphantly Returns, Breaks Records

By Duncan A. Kennedy

Jake Jacobson performing Saturday evening for an enthusiastic crowd at the fair grandstand. Jacobson’s first extended play, “Lovin’ and Leavin’,” was released for purchase on June 30th.

QUINCY – Despite soaring temperatures and two years of hiatus dulling hype at county fairs nationwide, the Plumas-Sierra County Fair returned to Quincy in the final days of July to much fanfare and stunning numerical success. The last such county fair was held August 7th through 11th, 2019.

Even after (or perhaps because of) the two years of delay, the fair saw attendance not only meet pre-pandemic levels, but in fact exceed them. According to Fair Manager John Steffanic, attendance was up from 2019 on every day except Saturday, averaging around 4,000 people per day. Crunching and aggregating the attendance numbers across all four days and accounting for people who attended on multiple days, paid fair attendance was around 9,000 people. Including unpaid attendees who came on Free Admission Day (Thursday), total fair attendance was in the vicinity of 12,000 – 13,000 people – not bad, given that only twenty-two thousand live in Plumas and Sierra Counties.

Steffanic and other fair staff members also noted another area where the Plumas-Sierra County Fair exceeded relative to others – entries. Many county and even state fairs suffered badly in this category due to the pandemic, with most fairs seeing barely half their pre-pandemic entry numbers. Here, however, entries were down by only 35 percent – a full 15 percent better than the average. Entries were most noticeably diminished in the livestock and floriculture categories, while visual arts stayed roughly static and home arts increased slightly. Already, the fair’s staff and board members are mulling over ways to increase competition in next year’s fair, sure to be a topic at the next board meeting.

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Wildfire Fuel Reduction Work Beginning on State Route 49

Caltrans Press Release of August 3, 2022

New Vegetation Removal Contract to Reduce Fuel Loads in Nevada and Butte Counties

NEVADA COUNTY – Caltrans is alerting State Route 49 (SR-49) motorists of the start of a new wildfire fuel reduction contract to address overgrown vegetation at various locations in Nevada County between Lime Kiln Road and McKnight Way.

Beginning Wednesday, August 3, construction crews will start staging equipment along SR-49 near Lime Kiln Road to start vegetation removal at various locations along the north and south sides of the highway. Fuel reduction activities are expected to occur along the 6-mile stretch of highway weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Most work will occur in shoulder areas with minimal disruptions to traffic. Short traffic holds may be required intermittently during large tree removal operations.

The $2.8 million wildfire fuel reduction contract will assist vegetation removal efforts along SR-49 in Nevada County and State Route 32 in Butte County. P31 Enterprises of Oroville is the prime contractor for the project, which is expected to be completed in summer 2023.

Small TNF Fires Quickly Extinguished Amid Slower Start to Fire Season

By Stephen Kulieke

USFS “hotshots” in action against the Boca Fire on Sunday, August 1.
Photo courtesy of the TNF

Quick action by firefighters helped keep two recent small fires—the Austin Fire and Boca Fire— from spreading further in the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) near Jackson Meadows and Boca Reservoir.

Sparked by lightning on July 30, the Austin Fire burned in “heavy dead and down slash with some single tree torching” one mile southwest of Jackson Meadows in USFS’ Sierraville Ranger District, just south of the Sierra County line in Nevada County.

According to a TNF Facebook posting, the Austin Fire was held to three-quarters of an acre by USFS firefighters on the ground, including those with TNF Sierraville Engine 361 and TNF Truckee Engine 371, supported by helicopter-bucket aerial resources. In the posting, TNF thanked the caller on Grouse Ridge who called 911 to report the fire and thanked the public for maintaining their distance from fire suppression equipment—also expressing gratitude that no personal drones were flown that would have halted aerial firefighting operations.

At 5:45 a.m. on August 1, Shelley Purser at the TNF Babbitt Peak Lookout spotted a smoke column in the Russell Valley area northwest of Boca Reservoir in the Truckee Ranger District in Nevada County and called it into TNF Dispatch. The early morning detection of the half-acre Boca Fire “allowed the engines crews and hotshots to rapidly complete a hose lay and handline” around the half-acre Boca Fire before winds and temperatures increased, noted the TNF Facebook posting.

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Brewfest Returns to Downieville After Two-Year Hiatus

Contributed by Michael Taylor – Downieville Improvement Group (DIG)

Main Street in Downieville this past Saturday was either the place to be or the place to flee, depending on your preference for crowds.

DOWNIEVILLE – This year’s Downieville Mountain Brewfest, held on Saturday, July 23rd, was a success with over sixteen brew vendors taking over Main Street while the 49 Crossing Band provided their blues infused music.

New this year, we had the Nevada County Home Brewers Club join the festivities with twelve of their members providing a variety of home brews adding an additional 30-35 gallons of suds. The Home Brewers held a vote from attendees, with an American Strong Blackberry Ale being the clear first place winner People’s Choice Award.

This year’s event had welcomed over 600 attendees and grossed over $18k. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the future Downieville Fire Station Building Fund. Funds from previous events paid for the construction of the gazebo in Gold Rush Park and a donation of $70K towards the Downieville Community Hall Renovation Project.

The Downieville Improvement Group (DIG) coordinated and planned during the past year for the event with their core members being Cherry Simi, Michael Galan, Karen Galan, Michael Taylor, Teresa Taylor, Liz Halliday, Richard Halliday, Greg Johnson, Connie Johnson and Brenda Black.

While we are totally at risk at not mentioning someone who volunteered and provided their assistance, we would also to personally thank and give a shout out to Kathy Whitlow who returned back to town and stayed up all night, along with Cherry, cooking and preparing the Brewers Private Luncheon which was served in the Masonic Hall.

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County Fair Returns Today After Three-Year Hiatus

By Duncan A. Kennedy, Member, Plumas-Sierra County Fair Board of Directors

(QUINCY) – After a three-year hiatus since 2019 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Dixie Fire, the Plumas-Sierra County Fair will return to the County Fairgrounds from Thursday, July 28th through Sunday, July 31st. As always, this year’s fair will be packed with attractions for people of every age, interest and walk of life to visit or compete in. Due to the shorter fair week, the schedule is more packed than usual, so you can experience more in a shorter time than in previous fairs.

Today, July 28th, will see the fair’s gates open to the general public at noon for the first time in three years. Fairgoers arriving at this time will have a chance to visit the Imagination Center in the Mineral Building, catch a high-energy dance performance from the Powerhouse group, and as a special treat for our seniors, there will be a senior luncheon featuring a serenade from a steel drum band. The Carnival will open at 1 PM, featuring some rides that usually aren’t at our fair due to scheduling conflicts – don’t miss it! After riding some fair rides and looking at the exhibits in the Art Barn, 4-H exhibits, floriculture building and Tulsa Scott Pavilion, fairgoers can catch a live performance at 6:30 PM in the Old Town stage by local duo Walker and Willis while having dinner from the food court.

Friday, July 29th, will follow a similar schedule, but it is highly recommended that any prospective visitors or those fascinated by the ranch lifestyle show some love for the 4-H and FFA youth from across the Lost Sierra. The beef cattle show begins at 8 AM in the SPI Pavilion, dog showmanship is at 9 AM behind the Junior Ag Barn, and the meat and dairy goat shows are at 1 PM in the SPI Pavilion. Additionally, before going up to catch local musicians Rickety Bridge over dinner at the Old Town Stage at 7:30 PM, have a laugh at the hog calling contest in the SPI Pavilion at 5 PM, where you can see a stunning demonstration of swine “obedience” training. And for the gastronomically inclined among us, participate in the Universal Mini-Donut Eating Championship at the front gate at 7:45 PM.

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