Central Valley January 2028

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January 2018

42 History in the cold

10 20 30 36 42

The Morris Cocola building was one of the original Camp Pinedale buildings dating to pre-World War II.

Here comes the bride Three local couples tie the knot in individual style, with weddings as unique as the couples themselves.

Brides and burritos If you want a sit-down dinner reception, that’s great, but local couples find nontraditional catering to be a tasty option.

Flavors and styles take the cake Some of them are going naked these days, but cakes are still the yummy star of the show at local weddings.

Stay funky If your vacation just means exploring everything outside of the hotel, maybe your hotel just isn’t as fun as it could be.

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8 Sneak Peeks 9 Believe Its 10 Pastimes

13 In the Spotlight 14 Don’t Miss Calendar 16 Innovators 18 25 Things You Didn’t Know About ... 20-41 California Weds 42 Get Up & Go 48 Snapshots

Kelsey and Tim Kirk’s wedding took full advantage of the Central Valley’s spring blossoms to create an unforgettable event. Read about it on page 20.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Ellie Kolleen Photography

6 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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At Home

Romance shines in unique ways

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very bride is beautiful, but I have to say, the brides we are featuring in our annual California Weds edition just seem radiant. Perhaps it is because each bride we interviewed celebrated a wedding that was — without a doubt — a one-of-a-kind event. Kelsey Kirk, who is featured on our cover, took great advantage of the Central Valley’s most beautiful time of year. There couldn’t have been a better backdrop to her dream wedding than Reedley’s Hidden Hollow, and an orchard filled with blossoms. Paired with soft hues, neutrals, crystals and leafy greens, the wedding, from what I could see in the photos provided by local wedding photographer Ellie Koleen, must have been a sight to see. Koleen also shared with us photos she took of Lauren and Phil Burgess, as they married in Paso Robles, and of Mackenzie Mays and Matt Thomas, as they married in Yosemite. Both weddings, like Kelsey and Tim Kirk’s big day, were filled with unique style. Check out the story on page 20 to see Lauren’s hand-made touches or Mays’ colorful dress and a smokey Yosemite Valley. Carrying along with our theme of making weddings unique events, writer Janessa Tyler, who is getting married herself, explores the world of catering. Gone are the days when a wed-

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ding automatically meant a sit-down dinner. She instead offers several non-traditional approaches to wedding food. Here’s a hint: Taco trucks aren’t off the table. We also look at wedding cakes. Let me tell you. I remember every bit of my wedding. I remember my husband’s smile, my parents, family and church friends gathered around to wish us well. And I remember my cake. We ordered way too much, but it tasted so good everybody went back for seconds — and, in some cases, thirds. We only had a few precious pieces left over. It was certainly a sweet way to start out a life with my love. The cakes and the decorators writer Cyndee Fontana-Ott presents are some of the Valley’s best. Read about them on page 36. Make sure to check out our regular features, too, like our Innovators story on the newest concept in auto repair, Garage DIY, on page 16, or one man’s single-minded focus to save poetry, on page 13. Our Pastimes column, written by Janice Stevens and illustrated by the awesome Pat Hunter, is on page 10. Enjoy!

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 7


................. January 2018/ Vol. 5, Issue 1 ......................... Central Valley magazine is produced by the Custom Publications staff of The Fresno Bee and published by The Fresno Bee. It is inserted into The Fresno Bee on the fourth Saturday of the month in the Fresno/Clovis area. It can also be found in waiting rooms throughout Fresno/Clovis. Cover price $3.95 President & Publisher Ken Riddick

Hello, 2018!

Take a break

If you’re the type of person who wants to get a jump on their goals for 2018, gather for the New Year’s Day Fresno Resolution Run. Sponsored by Fleet Feet Sports, participants can choose between the 2-mile run/walk or the 4-mile run. Children can also join the festivities with the quarter-mile or half-mile Kids Fun Run. The festivities start at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 1 at the Gazebo Shelter in Woodward Park. GO: www.runsignup.com/race/ca/fresno/resolutionrun1 If you have a need for speed, the Winchell Cove 10K/10-Mile Trail Run launches at 8 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 13 along the shore of Millerton Lake. The 10K (6.2 miles) course is perfect for seeing the sights of Mckenzie Point and Winchell Cove. The 10-mile track takes you further around the hills of Winchell Cove. GO: www.runsignup.com/race/ca/friant/winchellcovetrailrun

Now through Sunday, Jan. 7, catch a production of “Breaking Up is Hard To Do” at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre on Wishon Avenue in downtown Fresno. Produced by Good Company Players, the nostalgic musical about two friends looking for love and adventure features the iconic songs by Neil Sedaka — including “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,” “Where the Boys Are,” “Calendar Girl,” “Laughter In The Rain” and “Stupid Cupid.” In 1973, GCP was founded by local actors and musicians, including Dan Pessano, Chris Moad, Cathy Glenn and Ronald J. Harlan. Notable alumni include Chris Colfer, Audra McDonald, Todd Decker, Heidi Blickenstaff, Alicia O’Neill, Christopher Gorham and Clint Higham. Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater is at 1226 N. Wishon Ave., Fresno. Details: www.gcplayers.com

Vice President, Sales & Strategic Marketing John Coakley Editor Carey Norton | 559-441-6755 Advertising Sales Director Bill Gutierrez | 559-441-6405 Production Coordinator Anna Ramseier | 559-441-6751 Central Valley Sales Leader Sonia White | 559-441-6156 Assistant Editor Monica Stevens | 559-441-6149 Custom Publications Staff Janessa Tyler | 559-441-6764 Dani Villalobos | 559-441-6759 Gary Kazanjian Contributing Writers Cyndee Fontana-Ott, Shawn Gadberry, Douglas Hoagland, Janice Stevens Contributing Photographers Matt Drake, Wayne Hutchison, Ellie Koleen Photography Design Kristi Marinelly, Carey Norton, Monica Stevens, Janessa Tyler, Juan Vega, Lisa Vogt Contributing Artists Pat Hunter Reader inquiries Central Valley magazine 1626 E St., Fresno, CA 93786 www.centralvalley.com 559-441-6755 All content © The Fresno Bee To contribute, please contact Carey Norton at 559-441-6755 or cnorton@fresnobee.com

The Fresno Bee

Awareness months There are 11 awareness months to mark on your calendar for 2018. January National Cervical Health Awareness Month February National Cancer Prevention Month American Heart Month March National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month National Nutrition Month April National Cancer Control Month National Minority Health Month Testicular Cancer Awareness Month May Bladder Cancer Awareness Month Brain Tumor Awareness Month Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month

July UV Safety Month Sarcoma Awareness Month August Summer Sun Safety Month September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month National Liver Cancer Awareness Month November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month Lung Cancer Awareness Month National Family Caregiver Month Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month — American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org

fresnobee.com

8 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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Ready to rock The Fresno Convention Center welcomes you to let loose to the sounds of Queens of the Stone Age on Monday, Jan. 29 at the Selland Arena in downtown Fresno. The American rock band consists of Dean Fertita, Joshua Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Michael Shuman and Jon Theodore. They released their new album, “Villains,” in August 2017. A few months later, they headlined Madison Square Garden for the first time. Produced by Mark Ronson and Queens of the Stone Age, “Villains” debuted at No. 1 in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Portugal.

The dream that changed the world Each year, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday on the third Monday in January. The Baptist minister was a civil rights leader and activist who shared his speech — the dream that changed the world — with the hope of advancing racial equality using nonviolent resistance. King delivered his speech, “I Have a Dream,” in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The following year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was married to his wife, Coretta Scott King, until his death — he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. To remember and honor MLK’s legacy, we need to remember the words that came to be regarded as one of the finest speeches in the history of American oratory.

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The soundtrack, with lyrics written by Homme, includes “Feet Don’t Fail Me, “The Way You Used to Do” and “The Evil Has Landed.” In 2014, Queens of the Stone Age won “Best Rock/Indie Video - International” for “Smooth Sailing” at the UK Music Video Awards. In addition to Madison Square Garden, they have performed at the Riot Fest in Chicago, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver and Cal Jam 17 in San Bernardino. Details: www.fresnoconventioncenter.com

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.” Thank you, MLK.

Cheers to 50 years! Thanks to the Ani Guild, the California Armenian Home has been able to help enhance the quality of life of seniors for five decades. With the mission “to promote and advance the welfare of the California Armenian Home,” the Ani Guild has raised more than $ 2 million for the nonprofit corporation since being founded in April 1967. Located on Kings Canyon Road near the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Freeway, the home provides rehabilitation — physical, occupational and speech therapies — and skillednursing services to seniors, as well as love, compassion and support. Currently, there are 120 skilled-nursing beds and 30 residential units. The Ani Guild started with 32 members — women from the community — who wanted to enrich the lives of seniors residing at the home — the first and only Armenian nonprofit residential home in California at the time. Now, 185 members continue to do their part by hosting fundraisers that are approved by the Governing Board of the Home. More than 55,000 hours have been documented by members. There are three classifications of membership: t Active members, the backbone of the Ani Guild, provide service programs. t Associate members are volunteers and supporters who are interested in the purpose of the Ani Guild. t Patron members are interested in the purpose of the Ani Guild. The 50th anniversary of the Ani Guild was honored with a celebration on Nov. 18 at Sunnyside Country Club on Belmont Avenue in southeast Fresno. Details: (559) 251-8414, www.californiaarmenianhome.org/ani-guild

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 9


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Pastimes

Morris Cocola Broadcast Center is on the cutting edge BY: Janice Stevens | ILLUSTRATIONS: Pat Hunter | PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Cocola

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Janice Stevens is the author of multiple books on California history: Fresno’s Architectural Past, Vol. I and II, William Saroyan: Places in Time; Remembering the California Missions; and An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 (North, Central and South), plus Breaking Bread with William Saroyan, collaborations with her business partner, watercolorist Pat Hunter, and two volumes of Stories of Service, compilations of Valley veterans’ military memoirs. Ask Janice a Fresno history question by emailing custom@ fresnobee.com or posting your question on the Central Valley magazine Facebook page, www.facebook. com/CentralValleyMag.

he Morris Cocola building, at Herndon and Palm avenues, boasts a storied history as one of the original Camp Pinedale buildings dating to pre-World War II. Prior to construction of the building for the government’s use, the property belonged to Congressman Cecil F. White, noted as an American farmer in the cotton business, a politician and a Democrat. His industry included cotton warehouses on the property prior to what would become Camp Pinedale. A savvy entrepreneur, White saw an opportunity to make a deal and approached the federal government with a suggestion for the government to lease the land at a $1 per year for Camp Pinedale — provided the property reverted back to him when no longer needed. In 1946-1947, at the close of World War II, the government vacated the land and White took possession of the property, which included all the buildings constructed by the government. Camp Pinedale consisted of 250 acres bordered by Palm, Ingram and Harrison avenues and the San Joaquin River. White mentioned the cold storage building to his friend and neighbor in the Fresno High area, Morris Cocola, a fruit and vegetable farmer. He looked over the property and the building, and made the purchase recognizing the potential for his produce to last longer using the cold storage facility. Morris remodeled the old warehouse, added a front office and a packing house.

AMorris Cocola Broadcast Center continues to use the cold storage building from the former Camp Pinedale era.

As a distributor of fruits and vegetables, one of the company’s labels advertised: “Cocola’s Brand Fruit and Vegetables. Grown, Packed & Shipped by Morris Company, Fresno, California,” circa 1940s. The WWII era facility continued to serve as a cold storage building until Morris retired in 1976. Morris’ son, Gary, worked with his father in the fruit and vegetable industry while a student at San Joaquin Memorial High School. However, a fortuitous chance meeting foreshadowed the direction his life would take. Al Radka, who was starting a new television show called “The Open House” on KFRE-TV Channel 12, approached Gary’s school principal for a recommendation for a teenager, a junior or senior in high school, to work with him on his new program.

FMorris Cocola Broadcast Center is a major player in the television industry.

10 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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“Al Radka gave me my start in broadcasting in 1956 at age 17,” Gary says. Even before Radka, known as Mr. Fresno, pioneered television in the Valley in the late 1950s, he was a popular and accomplished Fresno State athlete. Before making his mark in radio and television entertainment, he also wrote sports columns for The Fresno Bee. Coinciding with the time frame the government leased the property for Camp Pinedale, and then transferred the military buildings and property back to White, Radka joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 as a private. Upon his release as a captain in 1946, he joined the reserves and continued to serve as a major for several years. After separation from the military, Radka joined the work force employed as a broadcast journalist. “I remember walking with Al to the elevators at KFRE Radio in the T.W. Patterson Building when the owner of radio and television, Paul Bartlett, was waiting at the elevators to go down,” Gary says. “Al said, ‘Hi, Paul,’ and I said, ‘Hi, Paul.’ Later, Al says, ‘You called him Paul!’ I should have said, ‘Hi, Mr. Barlett!’ I didn’t have a relationship with him as Al did. Years later, Paul Bartlett sold KFRE 940 AM, KFRE-TV Channel 12 and KRFM 93.7 FM for $75 million (in today’s dollars), bought a yacht and sailed around the world.” After Morris retired, Gary’s love of broadcasting determined the next use for the iconic cold storage building. He was inspired by a business person in Las

centralvalley.com

AMorris Cocola Broadcast Center is at Palm and Herndon avenues in Fresno.

Vegas who transformed an old warehouse into a TV station, and he thought, why not do the same with the Cocola building? The building got a brand-new life as a TV station built inside the confines of a cold storage building, Gary says. In 1977, Gary applied for a full-power television station. In 1984, seven years later, he received a construction permit from the FCC to build Channel 59. “It took me almost two years to get financing from a savings and loan. I needed $1 million. The savings and loan wanted 51 percent of the station. My wife at the time said, ‘49 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing, but call Paul.’ ” Barlett advised Gary to not give the loan company that much control. “Instead, Barlett told me to wait and I would find the financing and not have to give away control, which is eventually what happened. That man’s mentoring was one of the reasons for my success,” Gary says. By 1985, Morris Cocola Broadcast Center, so named to honor Gary’s father, Morris, became a media center home presently to 10 TV stations and a radio station. Morris Cocola Broadcast Center also leases space to several businesses under the management of Gary’s nephew, Kevin Mosesian, who is also corporate stations manager. Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 11


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Pastimes

Morris Cocola Broadcast Center is on the cutting edge BY: Janice Stevens | ILLUSTRATIONS: Pat Hunter | PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Cocola

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Janice Stevens is the author of multiple books on California history: Fresno’s Architectural Past, Vol. I and II, William Saroyan: Places in Time; Remembering the California Missions; and An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 (North, Central and South), plus Breaking Bread with William Saroyan, collaborations with her business partner, watercolorist Pat Hunter, and two volumes of Stories of Service, compilations of Valley veterans’ military memoirs. Ask Janice a Fresno history question by emailing custom@ fresnobee.com or posting your question on the Central Valley magazine Facebook page, www.facebook. com/CentralValleyMag.

he Morris Cocola building, at Herndon and Palm avenues, boasts a storied history as one of the original Camp Pinedale buildings dating to pre-World War II. Prior to construction of the building for the government’s use, the property belonged to Congressman Cecil F. White, noted as an American farmer in the cotton business, a politician and a Democrat. His industry included cotton warehouses on the property prior to what would become Camp Pinedale. A savvy entrepreneur, White saw an opportunity to make a deal and approached the federal government with a suggestion for the government to lease the land at a $1 per year for Camp Pinedale — provided the property reverted back to him when no longer needed. In 1946-1947, at the close of World War II, the government vacated the land and White took possession of the property, which included all the buildings constructed by the government. Camp Pinedale consisted of 250 acres bordered by Palm, Ingram and Harrison avenues and the San Joaquin River. White mentioned the cold storage building to his friend and neighbor in the Fresno High area, Morris Cocola, a fruit and vegetable farmer. He looked over the property and the building, and made the purchase recognizing the potential for his produce to last longer using the cold storage facility. Morris remodeled the old warehouse, added a front office and a packing house.

AMorris Cocola Broadcast Center continues to use the cold storage building from the former Camp Pinedale era.

As a distributor of fruits and vegetables, one of the company’s labels advertised: “Cocola’s Brand Fruit and Vegetables. Grown, Packed & Shipped by Morris Company, Fresno, California,” circa 1940s. The WWII era facility continued to serve as a cold storage building until Morris retired in 1976. Morris’ son, Gary, worked with his father in the fruit and vegetable industry while a student at San Joaquin Memorial High School. However, a fortuitous chance meeting foreshadowed the direction his life would take. Al Radka, who was starting a new television show called “The Open House” on KFRE-TV Channel 12, approached Gary’s school principal for a recommendation for a teenager, a junior or senior in high school, to work with him on his new program.

FMorris Cocola Broadcast Center is a major player in the television industry.

10 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

“Al Radka gave me my start in broadcasting in 1956 at age 17,” Gary says. Even before Radka, known as Mr. Fresno, pioneered television in the Valley in the late 1950s, he was a popular and accomplished Fresno State athlete. Before making his mark in radio and television entertainment, he also wrote sports columns for The Fresno Bee. Coinciding with the time frame the government leased the property for Camp Pinedale, and then transferred the military buildings and property back to White, Radka joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 as a private. Upon his release as a captain in 1946, he joined the reserves and continued to serve as a major for several years. After separation from the military, Radka joined the work force employed as a broadcast journalist. “I remember walking with Al to the elevators at KFRE Radio in the T.W. Patterson Building when the owner of radio and television, Paul Bartlett, was waiting at the elevators to go down,” Gary says. “Al said, ‘Hi, Paul,’ and I said, ‘Hi, Paul.’ Later, Al says, ‘You called him Paul!’ I should have said, ‘Hi, Mr. Barlett!’ I didn’t have a relationship with him as Al did. Years later, Paul Bartlett sold KFRE 940 AM, KFRE-TV Channel 12 and KRFM 93.7 FM for $75 million (in today’s dollars), bought a yacht and sailed around the world.” After Morris retired, Gary’s love of broadcasting determined the next use for the iconic cold storage building. He was inspired by a business person in Las

centralvalley.com

AMorris Cocola Broadcast Center is at Palm and Herndon avenues in Fresno.

Vegas who transformed an old warehouse into a TV station, and he thought, why not do the same with the Cocola building? The building got a brand-new life as a TV station built inside the confines of a cold storage building, Gary says. In 1977, Gary applied for a full-power television station. In 1984, seven years later, he received a construction permit from the FCC to build Channel 59. “It took me almost two years to get financing from a savings and loan. I needed $1 million. The savings and loan wanted 51 percent of the station. My wife at the time said, ‘49 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing, but call Paul.’ ” Barlett advised Gary to not give the loan company that much control. “Instead, Barlett told me to wait and I would find the financing and not have to give away control, which is eventually what happened. That man’s mentoring was one of the reasons for my success,” Gary says. By 1985, Morris Cocola Broadcast Center, so named to honor Gary’s father, Morris, became a media center home presently to 10 TV stations and a radio station. Morris Cocola Broadcast Center also leases space to several businesses under the management of Gary’s nephew, Kevin Mosesian, who is also corporate stations manager. Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 11


FThe 1940s-era cold storage building was one of the buildings on the Camp Pinedale military base.

continued ... “Our walls are a foot thick with installation from cold storage. There is 15,000 square feet of building with the former cold storage and packing house and sits on 11⁄2 acres,” says Gary. Cocola Broadcasting Stations include coverage in Fresno, Bakersfield and Sacramento, on the coast in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Monterey/Salinas and even as far as a group in Boise, Idaho. The stations provide a variety of diverse viewing: Estrella & Azetca TV Networks focuses on the Hispanic community, programming sports events such as First Division Mexican League Soccer; Me-TV Fresno and Antenna TV Networks feature classic shows from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and Daystar Television Network, considered to be the fastest growing and second largest Christian television network in the world. Morris Cocola Broadcast Center also features programming

from the Home Shopping and OVC Networks. Morris saw an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of his fruit and vegetable industry. His son continues that trend as first in the industry to offer the latest in entertainment technology with many of his stations providing live streaming programs. From a young boy infatuated with television entertainment, Gary has taken his dream to phenomenal success. Gary’s life motto? “Out of something bad, always comes something good. We all go through storms in life. Soon the seas calm and the clouds part, and the sun shines through again.” And to honor his mentor, Al Radka, who passed away in 2005, Gary was the sponsor of the bust in the Al Radka Park, at 5897 E. Belmont Ave. The public park features two softball/baseball fields, children’s play area, field lights, football/soccer field, field lights and picnic tables and restrooms. CV

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Photo: Andrea DeAnda

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Call Lauren McIntyre: 805.540.3638 | SycamoreSprings.com 1215 Avila Beach Dr. San Luis Obispo, CA

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Photo: Town & Country Studios

12 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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InTheSpotlight

#SavePoetry Fresno State professor has a quest to save an endangered literary art form BY: Dani Villalobos | PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison

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here’s an endangered literary art form in American culture — one that’s sustained within the isolated walls of academia, and one that Aaron Poochigian has made his mission to rehabilitate. The recent addition to Fresno State’s Modern & Classical Languages and Literatures Department and published poet’s passion for the written word have taken Poochigian around the country and back. Now, he's living in his late grandparents’ home in Fresno’s Sunnyside neighborhood, finding creative refuge in local coffee shops, teaching the Classics to Fresno State students and assimilating to the city’s thriving literary scene. “I’ve made an effort to go out and meet the Fresno Literati, if you will. I’ve enjoyed meeting Bryan Medina, who is the poet laureate of Fresno, and he’s been really supportive and comes out to a lot of events,” he says. “I was surprised by how much there is going on.” But it’s promoting his latest novel in verse, “Mr. Either/Or,” that’s at the forefront of Poochigian’s agenda as of late — a project that is both a personal triumph and the poster child for his social media campaign, #SavePoetry. See, the aspiring musician turned wordsmith remembers his first encounter with the literary art form quite vividly, likening the prose of ancient Roman poet, Virgil, to a religious experience that set him on a new path as an undergraduate studying at a small liberal arts college in Minnesota. “I didn’t know Latin, but I could tell that it was great,” Poochigian recalls. “The sky became brighter, everything became clear and I knew when I was 18 that I was supposed to learn the classical languages so I could read classical poetry and spend my whole life writing poetry. And that’s what I’ve done.” His Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Minnesota, MFA in poetry from Columbia University and a series of published translations and original works exemplify this intimate crusade, but he crafted “Mr. Either/Or” with a broader goal in mind: capture a laymen audience, as well as the most devout of poetry readers. Described as a noir thriller meets literary epic, Poochigian’s 2017 book functions as a hybrid of sorts — melding the writer’s interests in epic literature, crime fiction genre, his musical ear and narrative verse to create something all its own. “I think of myself foremost as a musician in language. If I have something to say and I can’t say it musically in a resounding way, then I don’t consider the poem successful,” he explains. “In ‘Mr. Either/Or,’ in particular, it is a narrative — an enhanced thriller — in that it has other dimensions, a musical dimension, where the rhythms of the poetry and sounds of the language add to the narrative so that it becomes quite a bit like an action film. The rhythms switch to a pounding four-beat line for the action scenes, and then open up for the expository scenes in which you have dialogue, and then speed up again and shift into that pounding four-beat line.” The result? Hopefully, a small step to bringing poetry back into the mainstream. When millennial audiences read or listen to Poochigian’s novel, his

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AAaron Poochigian wants to save poetry.

expectations are less about cracking a code to its meaning and more about enjoying the ride — at least for the initial go-around. And it’s creating that type of immediate engagement he believes is not only the responsibility of contemporary poets, but possibly the key to facilitating its repopulation back into the proverbial wild. Another modern tool: social media, of course. Poochigian started his #SavePoetry campaign in July — its origin a little unfocused in practice, yet gained clarity as Poochigian embarked on the promotional tour of “Mr. Either/Or” in October. Through his collection of an eclectic 5,000 Facebook friends and hundreds of followers through Twitter, the professor is using his platform to share the latest news, poems and out-of-the box concepts others are employing to help make poetry relevant in the 21st century. Take Fresno’s Remix Reading Series, for instance. The monthly program transports poetry outside of a classroom setting and into a public place by welcoming various writers to take the stage at downtown’s Tokyo Garden. “I did a reading there a few weeks ago, and I was overwhelmed by the turnout. There were as many as 50 people there, which would have been as good as one could expect if they were in a rock band or something,” Poochigian says, laughing. “People have responded well to the idea of poetry as an endangered species, and they seem to imply by their reaction that it’s not just something we want in our culture, but something we want more of in our culture.” Details: www.aaronpoochigian.comCV

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 13


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January 2018

$0 DOWN 100% USDA * Financing! Yo ho, yo ho!

Slam dunk! From Harlem Globetrotters to pirates, orphans, stand-up comedy and something a little more kinky, January has a lot going on

Oh, Jo Koy. Known for his ruthless, yet charismatic, energetic personality, the Filipino-American comedian isn’t afraid to share his family-inspired humor and insightful social commentary. He has rubbed elbows with popular TV hosts and comedians like Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Handler, Kevin Hart, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Hardwick, Carson Daly and Jamie Foxx. Catch his hilarious stand-up comedy routine at the Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno. Details: www.jokoy.com

‘These boots are made for ...’

01.31

Broadway In Fresno presents the musical adaptation of “Kinky Boots” for two days at the Saroyan Theatre. The Tony Award-winning musical features songs like “Sex is in the Heel,” “Not My Father’s Son” and “The Most Beautiful Thing” by Cyndi Lauper. “Kinky Boots” takes you on a journey of friendship — from a family-owned shoe factory in Northampton and to the catwalks in Milan. Details: www.broadwayinfresno.com centralvalley.com

What is a USDA loan?

What are the benefits of a USDA loan?

A 100% loan made through a Federal program that guarantees mortgages in specified rural areas.

USDA loans are one of the few 100% financing programs remaining in the marketplace. Plus, they offer favorable interest rates.

USDA loans are available to

THE CROSSINGS in Kerman

qualified buyers for a limited time at The Crossings in Kerman.

1- and 2-story homes from 1,697 to 3,040 sq. ft.

Bonus Rooms & Lofts

W. Herndon Ave.

TAPESTRY

3-5 bedrooms/2-3 baths Gourmet Kitchens

Visit today. Our approved lender can run the numbers and show you how easy and affordable it is to buy a new Century Communities home under this Federally guaranteed program.

W. Shaw Ave.

Whitesbridge Ave.

180

N. Goldenrod Ave.

14 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

The lyrics from classic songs like “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” will fill your mind for days after seeing a production of “Annie” — running Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 18 through March 18 — at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre. The Broadway musical follows the story of 11-year-old Annie and her quest to find her parents during the Great Depression in New York City. Details: www.gcplayers.com

01.19

It’s true! Special $0 down USDA loans are now available to qualified buyers at The Crossings.

N. Vineland Ave.

01.18

Krazy for Koy

If Captain Hook is your favorite buccaneer, you can’t miss the Pirates of the Cure-i-bbean 5K Booty Run. The annual fundraiser is held to educate and promote awareness of blood-related cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. It also serves to raise money for the American Cancer Society — specifically, the Relay for Life team named the Pirates of the Cure-i-bbean. The family-friendly adventure starts at 9 a.m. so don’t be late — or you’ll have to walk the plank. Details: www.piratebootyrun.com

N. Madera Ave.

The famous red-headed orphan

For more complete calendar listings, go to calendar. fresnobee.com

01.27

01.12

They’re back! The Original Harlem Globetrotters are returning to Fresno with a roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Bull Bullard, Thunder Law, Cheese Chisholm, TNT Lister, Ace Jackson and Hoops Green. The family-friendly exhibition game features rimrattling dunks, comedy and interactions with the crowd at Save Mart Center. Details: www.savemartcenter.com

Keep more money in your pocket with a USDA loan!

99

Covered Patios 145

Ave. W. Stanis laus

Pre-model pricing from the mid $200’s

THE CROSSINGS MAP NOT TO SCALE

W. Kearney Blvd.

Broker co-op welcome†

For additional community information visit

Currently selling from our nearby Tapestry sales office at 7026 N. Rumi Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722 (559) 718-4651

CenturyCommunities.com

Tapestry open: Thurs., Fri. & Sat. 10am-5pm • Sun. & Mon. 12-5pm

Owned and offered for sale by UCP Kerman, LLC, BMC Realty Advisors, Inc. Real Estate Broker, License #01920450. Built by Benchmark Communities, LLC. General Contractor, License #971581. Prices, plans and terms are effective on the date of publication and subject to change without notice. Depictions of homes or other features are conceptual. Decorative items and other items shown may be decorator suggestions that are not included in the purchase price and availability may vary.*Zero down payment required, household income limits apply, minimum credit score of 600 required, buyer must occupy the property, other restrictions may apply. Loan program is offered through Seller’s non-affiliated approved lender, and Seller does not control loan qualification. Please consult our approved lender for further details. †Broker must register buyer on their first visit to the sales office. Persons in photos do not reflect racial preference and housing is open to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. ©12/2017 Century Communities.

00


.................

January 2018

$0 DOWN 100% USDA * Financing! Yo ho, yo ho!

Slam dunk! From Harlem Globetrotters to pirates, orphans, stand-up comedy and something a little more kinky, January has a lot going on

Oh, Jo Koy. Known for his ruthless, yet charismatic, energetic personality, the Filipino-American comedian isn’t afraid to share his family-inspired humor and insightful social commentary. He has rubbed elbows with popular TV hosts and comedians like Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Handler, Kevin Hart, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Hardwick, Carson Daly and Jamie Foxx. Catch his hilarious stand-up comedy routine at the Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno. Details: www.jokoy.com

‘These boots are made for ...’

01.31

Broadway In Fresno presents the musical adaptation of “Kinky Boots” for two days at the Saroyan Theatre. The Tony Award-winning musical features songs like “Sex is in the Heel,” “Not My Father’s Son” and “The Most Beautiful Thing” by Cyndi Lauper. “Kinky Boots” takes you on a journey of friendship — from a family-owned shoe factory in Northampton and to the catwalks in Milan. Details: www.broadwayinfresno.com centralvalley.com

What is a USDA loan?

What are the benefits of a USDA loan?

A 100% loan made through a Federal program that guarantees mortgages in specified rural areas.

USDA loans are one of the few 100% financing programs remaining in the marketplace. Plus, they offer favorable interest rates.

USDA loans are available to

THE CROSSINGS in Kerman

qualified buyers for a limited time at The Crossings in Kerman.

1- and 2-story homes from 1,697 to 3,040 sq. ft.

Bonus Rooms & Lofts

W. Herndon Ave.

TAPESTRY

3-5 bedrooms/2-3 baths Gourmet Kitchens

Visit today. Our approved lender can run the numbers and show you how easy and affordable it is to buy a new Century Communities home under this Federally guaranteed program.

W. Shaw Ave.

Whitesbridge Ave.

180

N. Goldenrod Ave.

14 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

The lyrics from classic songs like “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” will fill your mind for days after seeing a production of “Annie” — running Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 18 through March 18 — at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre. The Broadway musical follows the story of 11-year-old Annie and her quest to find her parents during the Great Depression in New York City. Details: www.gcplayers.com

01.19

It’s true! Special $0 down USDA loans are now available to qualified buyers at The Crossings.

N. Vineland Ave.

01.18

Krazy for Koy

If Captain Hook is your favorite buccaneer, you can’t miss the Pirates of the Cure-i-bbean 5K Booty Run. The annual fundraiser is held to educate and promote awareness of blood-related cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. It also serves to raise money for the American Cancer Society — specifically, the Relay for Life team named the Pirates of the Cure-i-bbean. The family-friendly adventure starts at 9 a.m. so don’t be late — or you’ll have to walk the plank. Details: www.piratebootyrun.com

N. Madera Ave.

The famous red-headed orphan

For more complete calendar listings, go to calendar. fresnobee.com

01.27

01.12

They’re back! The Original Harlem Globetrotters are returning to Fresno with a roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Bull Bullard, Thunder Law, Cheese Chisholm, TNT Lister, Ace Jackson and Hoops Green. The family-friendly exhibition game features rimrattling dunks, comedy and interactions with the crowd at Save Mart Center. Details: www.savemartcenter.com

Keep more money in your pocket with a USDA loan!

99

Covered Patios 145

Ave. W. Stanis laus

Pre-model pricing from the mid $200’s

THE CROSSINGS MAP NOT TO SCALE

W. Kearney Blvd.

Broker co-op welcome†

For additional community information visit

Currently selling from our nearby Tapestry sales office at 7026 N. Rumi Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722 (559) 718-4651

CenturyCommunities.com

Tapestry open: Thurs., Fri. & Sat. 10am-5pm • Sun. & Mon. 12-5pm

Owned and offered for sale by UCP Kerman, LLC, BMC Realty Advisors, Inc. Real Estate Broker, License #01920450. Built by Benchmark Communities, LLC. General Contractor, License #971581. Prices, plans and terms are effective on the date of publication and subject to change without notice. Depictions of homes or other features are conceptual. Decorative items and other items shown may be decorator suggestions that are not included in the purchase price and availability may vary.*Zero down payment required, household income limits apply, minimum credit score of 600 required, buyer must occupy the property, other restrictions may apply. Loan program is offered through Seller’s non-affiliated approved lender, and Seller does not control loan qualification. Please consult our approved lender for further details. †Broker must register buyer on their first visit to the sales office. Persons in photos do not reflect racial preference and housing is open to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. ©12/2017 Century Communities.

00


.................

Innovators

The Garage is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Appointments on Sunday are considered. Prices vary according to how much work customers do themselves. The do-it-yourself rate is $29.95 an hour to rent a service bay. If The Garage’s five mechanics — led by shop manager John McCabe II — offer guidance, the rate is $59.95. If the mechanics do the work, it’s $99 an hour. The Garage’s customers span the generations. An 18-year-old who wanted to change his grill came in soon after the shop opened. He started the job but had trouble removing undercarriage bolts. So he turned to the mechanics for help. More recently, a 60-something cleaned his undercarriage and painted his gas tank. A few do-it-yourself women have brought in vehicles. One worked on a Jeep christened Miss-Behavin’. The Garage asks customers planning to do their own work if they have health insurance, and they must sign a liability waiver in case injury occurs. The Garage also has liability insurance.

Want your car fixed? Do it yourself

If you want to fix your car, but don’t have the tools, The Garage is just what you’ve been waiting for BY: Doug Hoagland | PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison

G

ABrad Marsoobian and Ray Krause III own The Garage Do It Yourself Auto Repair in Clovis.

earheads get it: Fixing your car or truck leaves you with more than grease under your fingernails. “It’s your own joy,” says Fresno resident Nadeem Akhtar. “You become one with your vehicle.” The Garage Do It Yourself Auto Repair in Clovis opened in July to make it easier for people to work on their vehicles. Need to change the oil or install new brakes? Time to rotate the tires? Want to work on the transmission? The Garage will rent you one of its service bays, put your vehicle on a lift and even provide tools at no extra charge. And here’s the bonus: If the job gets complicated and grows beyond your skill set, mechanics at The Garage will offer advice and guidance.

16 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

And, if necessary, they’ll take over the job. (You also can decide from the get-go that the mechanics should do the job.) Do-it-yourself auto shops are opening across the country. “We do see a trend where people want to do their repairs again,” say Brad Marsoobian and Ray Krause III, co-owners of The Garage. Making it easy for customers is their guiding principle. “You go to different places, and they don’t seem to care or they just want to get you in and out the door,” Marsoobian says. “Nobody goes the extra steps to help anyone out. We do that.” For example: Customers doing their own work can have parts shipped to The Garage at 177 N. Sunnyside Ave., No. 100. In fact, a couple of guys overhauling a Camaro recently had $13,000 in parts delivered to the business. The shop also has four laptops that customers can use to review YouTube videos and other internet resources that assist do-it-yourself mechanics. “Anything that anyone needs or wants, we try to accommodate them,” Marsoobian says. The Garage’s extended hours work for people’s busy lives.

centralvalley.com

But Marsoobian and Krause use a light touch with their 15 shop rules. For example, Rule No. 1 states that only staff at The Garage move vehicles in and out of the shop. “We promise not to let our 16-year-old nephew drive your car,” the rule concludes. (Marsoobian jokes that he really has a nephew that age.) Another example: Rule No. 2 states that only staff operate the vehicle lifts. The punch line: “If you’d like to do some lifting, there is a Planet Fitness down the street.” “We want the rules to be fun so people actually read them,” Marsoobian says. The two partners came to the business with different backgrounds. Marsoobian runs an ATM servicing business, while Krause is an almond broker. Both worked on cars in their youth — Marsoobian as a teenager and Krause as a boy, learning from his father. At age 7, Krause says,

centralvalley.com

he could take apart and rebuild a Weber carburetor. He got his first car — a 1968 Mercury Cougar — when he was 14. Today, Krause qualifies as a Porsche enthusiast — owning and working on three of the classic German sports cars. He and Marsoobian met 15 years ago through their children. The kids played on the same soccer team, and the dads became friends — and now business partners with plans to help motorists who want to help themselves. They’re hoping to offer classes in 2018 to teach people how to change flat tires, change a vehicle’s oil, replace brakes and do other routine maintenance. “The classes will be for people who want to save money but don’t know how to do the basics,” Marsoobian says. Meanwhile, The Garage has a growing number of satisfied customers. Akhtar, the do-it-yourself enthusiast quoted earlier, has entrusted three of his vehicles — a 2005 Mercedes, 2002 Honda and 1991 BMW — to mechanics at The Garage, and he’s come away completely satisfied. He next plans to work on his 1987 Porsche, with guidance from the mechanics. “I love the idea of a do-it-yourself shop,” Akhtar says. “There’s satisfaction in getting your hands dirty and knowing that you’re doing the work.” Another customer — Marcus McKesson of Clovis — brought in a 2006 Silverado to change the brakes. He tried to do the job at home but lacked a necessary tool. At The Garage, “everything is right there,” he says. “The tools. The lift — that’s big for me. And there’s assistance, if needed.” McKesson believes The Garage has a bright future because it serves the do-it-yourself community. “It’s going to be around for the long term,” he says. “We, as consumers, have been looking for it for a long time.” CV

AJohn McCabe II changes oil at The Garage Do it Yourself Auto Repair. DDave Buel, a diagnostic mechanic, from The Garage Do it Yourself Auto Repair, can help customers if needed. SBrad Marsoobian, John McCabe II and Ray Krause III from The Garage Do it Yourself Auto Repair go the extra mile to help their customers.

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 17


.................

Innovators

The Garage is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Appointments on Sunday are considered. Prices vary according to how much work customers do themselves. The do-it-yourself rate is $29.95 an hour to rent a service bay. If The Garage’s five mechanics — led by shop manager John McCabe II — offer guidance, the rate is $59.95. If the mechanics do the work, it’s $99 an hour. The Garage’s customers span the generations. An 18-year-old who wanted to change his grill came in soon after the shop opened. He started the job but had trouble removing undercarriage bolts. So he turned to the mechanics for help. More recently, a 60-something cleaned his undercarriage and painted his gas tank. A few do-it-yourself women have brought in vehicles. One worked on a Jeep christened Miss-Behavin’. The Garage asks customers planning to do their own work if they have health insurance, and they must sign a liability waiver in case injury occurs. The Garage also has liability insurance.

Want your car fixed? Do it yourself

If you want to fix your car, but don’t have the tools, The Garage is just what you’ve been waiting for BY: Doug Hoagland | PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison

G

ABrad Marsoobian and Ray Krause III own The Garage Do It Yourself Auto Repair in Clovis.

earheads get it: Fixing your car or truck leaves you with more than grease under your fingernails. “It’s your own joy,” says Fresno resident Nadeem Akhtar. “You become one with your vehicle.” The Garage Do It Yourself Auto Repair in Clovis opened in July to make it easier for people to work on their vehicles. Need to change the oil or install new brakes? Time to rotate the tires? Want to work on the transmission? The Garage will rent you one of its service bays, put your vehicle on a lift and even provide tools at no extra charge. And here’s the bonus: If the job gets complicated and grows beyond your skill set, mechanics at The Garage will offer advice and guidance.

16 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

And, if necessary, they’ll take over the job. (You also can decide from the get-go that the mechanics should do the job.) Do-it-yourself auto shops are opening across the country. “We do see a trend where people want to do their repairs again,” say Brad Marsoobian and Ray Krause III, co-owners of The Garage. Making it easy for customers is their guiding principle. “You go to different places, and they don’t seem to care or they just want to get you in and out the door,” Marsoobian says. “Nobody goes the extra steps to help anyone out. We do that.” For example: Customers doing their own work can have parts shipped to The Garage at 177 N. Sunnyside Ave., No. 100. In fact, a couple of guys overhauling a Camaro recently had $13,000 in parts delivered to the business. The shop also has four laptops that customers can use to review YouTube videos and other internet resources that assist do-it-yourself mechanics. “Anything that anyone needs or wants, we try to accommodate them,” Marsoobian says. The Garage’s extended hours work for people’s busy lives.

centralvalley.com

But Marsoobian and Krause use a light touch with their 15 shop rules. For example, Rule No. 1 states that only staff at The Garage move vehicles in and out of the shop. “We promise not to let our 16-year-old nephew drive your car,” the rule concludes. (Marsoobian jokes that he really has a nephew that age.) Another example: Rule No. 2 states that only staff operate the vehicle lifts. The punch line: “If you’d like to do some lifting, there is a Planet Fitness down the street.” “We want the rules to be fun so people actually read them,” Marsoobian says. The two partners came to the business with different backgrounds. Marsoobian runs an ATM servicing business, while Krause is an almond broker. Both worked on cars in their youth — Marsoobian as a teenager and Krause as a boy, learning from his father. At age 7, Krause says,

centralvalley.com

he could take apart and rebuild a Weber carburetor. He got his first car — a 1968 Mercury Cougar — when he was 14. Today, Krause qualifies as a Porsche enthusiast — owning and working on three of the classic German sports cars. He and Marsoobian met 15 years ago through their children. The kids played on the same soccer team, and the dads became friends — and now business partners with plans to help motorists who want to help themselves. They’re hoping to offer classes in 2018 to teach people how to change flat tires, change a vehicle’s oil, replace brakes and do other routine maintenance. “The classes will be for people who want to save money but don’t know how to do the basics,” Marsoobian says. Meanwhile, The Garage has a growing number of satisfied customers. Akhtar, the do-it-yourself enthusiast quoted earlier, has entrusted three of his vehicles — a 2005 Mercedes, 2002 Honda and 1991 BMW — to mechanics at The Garage, and he’s come away completely satisfied. He next plans to work on his 1987 Porsche, with guidance from the mechanics. “I love the idea of a do-it-yourself shop,” Akhtar says. “There’s satisfaction in getting your hands dirty and knowing that you’re doing the work.” Another customer — Marcus McKesson of Clovis — brought in a 2006 Silverado to change the brakes. He tried to do the job at home but lacked a necessary tool. At The Garage, “everything is right there,” he says. “The tools. The lift — that’s big for me. And there’s assistance, if needed.” McKesson believes The Garage has a bright future because it serves the do-it-yourself community. “It’s going to be around for the long term,” he says. “We, as consumers, have been looking for it for a long time.” CV

AJohn McCabe II changes oil at The Garage Do it Yourself Auto Repair. DDave Buel, a diagnostic mechanic, from The Garage Do it Yourself Auto Repair, can help customers if needed. SBrad Marsoobian, John McCabe II and Ray Krause III from The Garage Do it Yourself Auto Repair go the extra mile to help their customers.

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 17


.................

PeopleProfile

19 Favorite books: “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. “So many people are still invisible.” And “The Color Purple.” Alice Walker is “amazing.” 20 Currently reading “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series. “It’s technically for old ladies, but I’m getting there. I don’t care [laughter].”

21 11 “Super picky” about half-hour TV comedy series but never misses Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” — story of young rappers. “It’s pithy, quiet and a sure way out of the doldrums.”

Devoya Mayo

12 Wrote her first poem in sixth grade. She later ran a poetry jam to showcase women writers. One of her themes today: how the powerful still exclude others. 14 Quit her first job — at KFC — when the boss wouldn’t let her off for an LL Cool J concert.

D

evoya Mayo is a sunny personality who likes rain clouds. She says blustery weather gives her a sense of peace: “I’m just happier, and I wave a little more at strangers.” Helping people who might feel like strangers in Fresno is her job. Mayo is a “cultural broker” for the Holistic Cultural & Education Wellness Center. She and colleagues lead workshops and activities for folks who typically don’t seek traditional mental health services. The Wellness Center is a program of the Fresno Center for New Americans. Mayo — who laughs easily and often — is a bright light even when it’s stormy outside.

2 LeBron James is the man. She likes his philanthropy and his independent streak — “a willingness to go against the grain.” James’ recent GQ cover shot is on her Twitter feed.

3 Admires Anthony Bourdain — chef, author, world traveler. Smart, but not condescending, and respectful of others’ traditions. “And his silver hair — I like it. I do.”

2

4 McLane High graduate. Teen profile: shy but fun. Found her “voice” writing for the school newspaper.

5 Confronted a bully picking on a stranger. It was the beginning of the end of staying quiet.

18 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

23

13 Forever heroine: her late grandmother, Savanah Pearson. She was always “super positive.”

BY: Doug Hoagland | PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison

1 Growing up in west Fresno, she organized backyard shows to keep friends busy. Admission was 25 cents — or you danced in a “Soul Train” line.

21 Starstruck by actor Delroy Lindo. He played the stand-up father in Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn.”

6 Aimless after high school. She eventually found her calling in community organizing.

15 Named her first car — an ’86 Chevy Cavalier — “Grimace.” The grill looked like a disgusted expression on somebody’s face. Oh, the memories of road trips! 16 New York City hurt her feelings — she was courteous; other people weren’t. Better vibe in Chicago — her favorite city. Midwestern nice. Great museums. “And, you know — Oprah!” 17 Lives in a cute cottage surrounded by trees in downtown Fresno. Her place to vanish in the heart of the city. 18 Indifferent to Fulton Street reopening. As a longtime downtown resident, she’s heard the hype before. But if a cheer is necessary, she obliges: “Yay.”

7 Believes in “a higher power” but isn’t a churchgoer. Ironic how many of her jobs have been with faith-based nonprofits.

24 Never learned to swim. “It’s a control thing. Sometimes you have to give up control to learn something new.” Always on the lookout for adult lessons.

9 Mom’s sofa + eating Mom’s chicken soup + watching “Jeopardy” on Mom’s TV = the best way to beat the blues.

centralvalley.com

22 Loves to eat; hates to cook. “I’ve tried every trick in the book: Pinterest, the Food Network, meal prep boxes — none of them speak to me. Luckily, my mama lives close and still loves me.” 23 Organized two adult craft bazaars in Fresno earlier this decade. People could have a cocktail, listen to a DJ and make something crafty. Cheers!

8 Working for the Quakers shaped her worldview. “They showed me me how to live a full life, not for myself but for others.”

10 Moment to savor: eating a chicken burrito at Del Taco with “Brick House” (1977 oldie) playing on the restaurant’s soundtrack. “I’m into nostalgia. It makes me feel good.”

25

3

25 Huge Prince fan. Hundreds came to her Prince parties, annual happenings before he died. They all remember the lyric: “I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.” CV

c entralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 19


.................

PeopleProfile

19 Favorite books: “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. “So many people are still invisible.” And “The Color Purple.” Alice Walker is “amazing.” 20 Currently reading “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series. “It’s technically for old ladies, but I’m getting there. I don’t care [laughter].”

21 11 “Super picky” about half-hour TV comedy series but never misses Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” — story of young rappers. “It’s pithy, quiet and a sure way out of the doldrums.”

Devoya Mayo

12 Wrote her first poem in sixth grade. She later ran a poetry jam to showcase women writers. One of her themes today: how the powerful still exclude others. 14 Quit her first job — at KFC — when the boss wouldn’t let her off for an LL Cool J concert.

D

evoya Mayo is a sunny personality who likes rain clouds. She says blustery weather gives her a sense of peace: “I’m just happier, and I wave a little more at strangers.” Helping people who might feel like strangers in Fresno is her job. Mayo is a “cultural broker” for the Holistic Cultural & Education Wellness Center. She and colleagues lead workshops and activities for folks who typically don’t seek traditional mental health services. The Wellness Center is a program of the Fresno Center for New Americans. Mayo — who laughs easily and often — is a bright light even when it’s stormy outside.

2 LeBron James is the man. She likes his philanthropy and his independent streak — “a willingness to go against the grain.” James’ recent GQ cover shot is on her Twitter feed.

3 Admires Anthony Bourdain — chef, author, world traveler. Smart, but not condescending, and respectful of others’ traditions. “And his silver hair — I like it. I do.”

2

4 McLane High graduate. Teen profile: shy but fun. Found her “voice” writing for the school newspaper.

5 Confronted a bully picking on a stranger. It was the beginning of the end of staying quiet.

18 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

23

13 Forever heroine: her late grandmother, Savanah Pearson. She was always “super positive.”

BY: Doug Hoagland | PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison

1 Growing up in west Fresno, she organized backyard shows to keep friends busy. Admission was 25 cents — or you danced in a “Soul Train” line.

21 Starstruck by actor Delroy Lindo. He played the stand-up father in Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn.”

6 Aimless after high school. She eventually found her calling in community organizing.

15 Named her first car — an ’86 Chevy Cavalier — “Grimace.” The grill looked like a disgusted expression on somebody’s face. Oh, the memories of road trips! 16 New York City hurt her feelings — she was courteous; other people weren’t. Better vibe in Chicago — her favorite city. Midwestern nice. Great museums. “And, you know — Oprah!” 17 Lives in a cute cottage surrounded by trees in downtown Fresno. Her place to vanish in the heart of the city. 18 Indifferent to Fulton Street reopening. As a longtime downtown resident, she’s heard the hype before. But if a cheer is necessary, she obliges: “Yay.”

7 Believes in “a higher power” but isn’t a churchgoer. Ironic how many of her jobs have been with faith-based nonprofits.

24 Never learned to swim. “It’s a control thing. Sometimes you have to give up control to learn something new.” Always on the lookout for adult lessons.

9 Mom’s sofa + eating Mom’s chicken soup + watching “Jeopardy” on Mom’s TV = the best way to beat the blues.

centralvalley.com

22 Loves to eat; hates to cook. “I’ve tried every trick in the book: Pinterest, the Food Network, meal prep boxes — none of them speak to me. Luckily, my mama lives close and still loves me.” 23 Organized two adult craft bazaars in Fresno earlier this decade. People could have a cocktail, listen to a DJ and make something crafty. Cheers!

8 Working for the Quakers shaped her worldview. “They showed me me how to live a full life, not for myself but for others.”

10 Moment to savor: eating a chicken burrito at Del Taco with “Brick House” (1977 oldie) playing on the restaurant’s soundtrack. “I’m into nostalgia. It makes me feel good.”

25

3

25 Huge Prince fan. Hundreds came to her Prince parties, annual happenings before he died. They all remember the lyric: “I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.” CV

c entralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 19


Lauren and Phil

Say ‘I do’

in a way

that’s all you Local couples create dream weddings with personal style

20 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

centralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 21


Lauren and Phil

Say ‘I do’

in a way

that’s all you Local couples create dream weddings with personal style

20 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

centralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 21


BY: Dani Villalobos | PHOTOGRAPHY: Ellie Koleen Photography

T FSKelsey Kirk and Tim Kirk’s wedding at Hidden Hollow in Reedley was simple, clean and elegant.

radition is great. The white dress, something borrowed, first dance — each element providing a time-honored sense of structure to a couple’s wedding day. But the most important rule to planning your nuptials: remembering there are no rules. Three brides and grooms chose to follow their personal visions to create magical moments specific to them, captured through the unique lens of Ellie Koleen Photography. Koleen, a Fresno photographer, has shot more than 100 weddings in her seven years behind the lens. She has a creative eye and loves to tell stories with her photographs. But that’s not all. She has also pledged to her clients that she’ll be available to carry a bouquet, buckle a shoe or be a fill-in bridesmaid should the need arise.

Kelsey and Tim Kirk There are two significant threads weaving Kelsey and Tim Kirk’s bond together: music and a heavy dose of sarcasm. The two Fresno residents met in 2011 through mutual friends — and at the stealthy coordination of Kelsey behind the scenes, of course.

Wishing You a Happy New Year!

Their immediate banter and shared sense of humor instantly struck her. This guy was different. “My best friend always said that she knew the second we met he was a match for me because he actually shut me up,” she says, laughing. “We were attached at the hip from that night on.” Two days later, the couple traveled to Pismo Beach for an impromptu getaway, getting to know one another better on the cold, sandy beach that neither wanted

Save 25% On Any Regular Priced Item Bring coupon in for discount.

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to leave. And when he surprised her with tickets to Oakland’s “Not So Silent Christmas” music festival a couple months later, she knew the spark between them was more than special — it was love. Soon, Kelsey and Tim welcomed their now 5-year-old son, Jaxon, into the world, and life together became a lot more challenging. “Becoming a parent is not easy,” Kelsey explains. “We ended up separated for awhile, then got ourselves together, regrouped and re-centered, and he proposed last year on my birthday.” Please see next page

22 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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(559) 228-3300 3450 W. Gettysburg Ave, Fresno

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BY: Dani Villalobos | PHOTOGRAPHY: Ellie Koleen Photography

T FSKelsey Kirk and Tim Kirk’s wedding at Hidden Hollow in Reedley was simple, clean and elegant.

radition is great. The white dress, something borrowed, first dance — each element providing a time-honored sense of structure to a couple’s wedding day. But the most important rule to planning your nuptials: remembering there are no rules. Three brides and grooms chose to follow their personal visions to create magical moments specific to them, captured through the unique lens of Ellie Koleen Photography. Koleen, a Fresno photographer, has shot more than 100 weddings in her seven years behind the lens. She has a creative eye and loves to tell stories with her photographs. But that’s not all. She has also pledged to her clients that she’ll be available to carry a bouquet, buckle a shoe or be a fill-in bridesmaid should the need arise.

Kelsey and Tim Kirk There are two significant threads weaving Kelsey and Tim Kirk’s bond together: music and a heavy dose of sarcasm. The two Fresno residents met in 2011 through mutual friends — and at the stealthy coordination of Kelsey behind the scenes, of course.

Wishing You a Happy New Year!

Their immediate banter and shared sense of humor instantly struck her. This guy was different. “My best friend always said that she knew the second we met he was a match for me because he actually shut me up,” she says, laughing. “We were attached at the hip from that night on.” Two days later, the couple traveled to Pismo Beach for an impromptu getaway, getting to know one another better on the cold, sandy beach that neither wanted

Save 25% On Any Regular Priced Item Bring coupon in for discount.

0003399112-01

Coupon expires January 31, 2018 See store for details.

Silk Flowers, Greenery, Ribbons and Home Decor Accents

to leave. And when he surprised her with tickets to Oakland’s “Not So Silent Christmas” music festival a couple months later, she knew the spark between them was more than special — it was love. Soon, Kelsey and Tim welcomed their now 5-year-old son, Jaxon, into the world, and life together became a lot more challenging. “Becoming a parent is not easy,” Kelsey explains. “We ended up separated for awhile, then got ourselves together, regrouped and re-centered, and he proposed last year on my birthday.” Please see next page

22 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

centralvalley.com

(559) 228-3300 3450 W. Gettysburg Ave, Fresno

www.designerflowercenter.com w nerflowercente weer ercen erc ennte ter.co te er.co .c .co Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 23


continued ...

Lauren and Phil Burgess

Tim planned a celebratory dinner in the 25-year-old’s honor, but as they left the restaurant, Kelsey couldn’t help but feel slightly bummed — she’d thought this was it. Minutes later, she found their families gathered at their home, with prepared glasses of champagne and candlelight to help set the big proposal’s stage. Tim was bent on one knee with Jaxon by his side for a sweet, intimate moment Kelsey will never forget. Fast-forward a mere five months, and the Kirks’ wedding day on Feb. 18, 2017, arrived. The bride wasted little time booking the venue for their nuptials — following her instinct on the type of feel she had always envisioned for her and Tim. “I wanted a wedding that I wouldn’t look back and think it’s trendy,” she says. “I wanted it to be classic, but still have our style and feel attached to it: a lot of creams, neutrals, crystal and leafy greens. Simple, clean and elegant.” Reedley’s Hidden Hollow fit the bill, with the space’s outdoor and indoor ceremony and reception sites providing a rustic, scenic background to the couple’s fête. “I’m the world’s biggest crybaby. I’m not the cute-crying bride — I was a mess,” she says. “I 150 percent got that from my dad. He has three daughters, and we are his whole entire world. He just loves us so much.” Other significant memories that stand out for the Kirks include the stellar speeches delivered by the best man and maid of honor, dancing with Jaxon and sharing the occasion with the friends and family who matter most. “There’s a stigma around weddings where it has to be stressful and high intensity. It just doesn’t,” Kelsey says. “All that matters is to have your select people there that you know are so excited to be there, so happy for you and who want nothing but the best for you. When you have that support system, it’s so much easier and makes the day so much more special.”

Lauren Burgess wasn’t exactly an online dating rookie. As a busy 37-yearold established in her career, she turned to virtual matchmaking in hopes of making a connection with someone at her own convenience. But after a string of first dates failed to turn into a second, Lauren’s expectations of meeting Phil, 39, were below average. Lucky for her, Match.com finally got it right. “It was instant, probably for both of us,” she says. “He was trying to figure out a way to see me again, and when I left I thought, ‘Well, that was the first time I wanted a second date in a while. This could be something.’ ” The two shared a lot of the same core values: future life goals, no prior marriages and long-lasting, loving relationships exhibited by both of their parents. And after three years together, Lauren’s quiet hope for Phil to make their relationship a forever-kind of arrangement became a reality when he asked for her hand on the Santa Cruz Wharf in front of her visiting family and their friends. Her Oregon-based parents drove down in their restored vintage Woodie to the California city for a special car show that was being hosted on the ____________ wharf in June 2016 — a perfect opportunity for Phil to pop the question with some of the most important people in their world as witnesses. “Every time you go somewhere you think, ‘Is it now? Is it now?’ But it does catch you off guard when it does happen,” Lauren says. “It worked out perfectly to be able to have my parents there.” An artist by nature, Lauren gave herself about a year to design and create as many original decorations and pieces to make their wedding day even Please see next page

D Lauren Burgess created many of her wedding’s decorations.

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continued ...

Lauren and Phil Burgess

Tim planned a celebratory dinner in the 25-year-old’s honor, but as they left the restaurant, Kelsey couldn’t help but feel slightly bummed — she’d thought this was it. Minutes later, she found their families gathered at their home, with prepared glasses of champagne and candlelight to help set the big proposal’s stage. Tim was bent on one knee with Jaxon by his side for a sweet, intimate moment Kelsey will never forget. Fast-forward a mere five months, and the Kirks’ wedding day on Feb. 18, 2017, arrived. The bride wasted little time booking the venue for their nuptials — following her instinct on the type of feel she had always envisioned for her and Tim. “I wanted a wedding that I wouldn’t look back and think it’s trendy,” she says. “I wanted it to be classic, but still have our style and feel attached to it: a lot of creams, neutrals, crystal and leafy greens. Simple, clean and elegant.” Reedley’s Hidden Hollow fit the bill, with the space’s outdoor and indoor ceremony and reception sites providing a rustic, scenic background to the couple’s fête. “I’m the world’s biggest crybaby. I’m not the cute-crying bride — I was a mess,” she says. “I 150 percent got that from my dad. He has three daughters, and we are his whole entire world. He just loves us so much.” Other significant memories that stand out for the Kirks include the stellar speeches delivered by the best man and maid of honor, dancing with Jaxon and sharing the occasion with the friends and family who matter most. “There’s a stigma around weddings where it has to be stressful and high intensity. It just doesn’t,” Kelsey says. “All that matters is to have your select people there that you know are so excited to be there, so happy for you and who want nothing but the best for you. When you have that support system, it’s so much easier and makes the day so much more special.”

Lauren Burgess wasn’t exactly an online dating rookie. As a busy 37-yearold established in her career, she turned to virtual matchmaking in hopes of making a connection with someone at her own convenience. But after a string of first dates failed to turn into a second, Lauren’s expectations of meeting Phil, 39, were below average. Lucky for her, Match.com finally got it right. “It was instant, probably for both of us,” she says. “He was trying to figure out a way to see me again, and when I left I thought, ‘Well, that was the first time I wanted a second date in a while. This could be something.’ ” The two shared a lot of the same core values: future life goals, no prior marriages and long-lasting, loving relationships exhibited by both of their parents. And after three years together, Lauren’s quiet hope for Phil to make their relationship a forever-kind of arrangement became a reality when he asked for her hand on the Santa Cruz Wharf in front of her visiting family and their friends. Her Oregon-based parents drove down in their restored vintage Woodie to the California city for a special car show that was being hosted on the ____________ wharf in June 2016 — a perfect opportunity for Phil to pop the question with some of the most important people in their world as witnesses. “Every time you go somewhere you think, ‘Is it now? Is it now?’ But it does catch you off guard when it does happen,” Lauren says. “It worked out perfectly to be able to have my parents there.” An artist by nature, Lauren gave herself about a year to design and create as many original decorations and pieces to make their wedding day even Please see next page

D Lauren Burgess created many of her wedding’s decorations.

CVMag new logo 2016 print use index

Advertise in Central Valley

V V E R DA L E E Since 1997

SAVE $4

*

on any order of $25.00 or more Code: CVGG0660 Expires: 12/31/2017

Upcoming themes:

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0003399329-01

1215 North Willow Avenue, Suite 180, N. Willow & E. Nees | Clovis, CA 93619

: Home & Garden :T ravel & Central Coast Favorites Contact Sonia White at (559) 441-6156 or swhite@fresnobee.com

6721 N Milburn Avenue, Suite 130 | Fresno, CA 93722 *Cannot be combined with any other offer. Restrictions may apply. See store for details. Edible , Edible Arrangements , the Fruit Basket Logo, and other marks mentioned herein are registered trademarks of Edible Arrangements, LLC. © 2016 Edible Arrangements, LLC. All rights reserved. ®

24 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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continued ... more special, and most importantly, feel authentic to who they were as a couple. First step: booking the venue. Lauren took a cue from Phil’s regular fishing spot in the Delta, and stumbled upon the Delta Party Barn in Los Banos. The rustic ambiance fit perfectly with their outdoorsy, laid-back vibe — highlighted by Lauren’s thoughtful touches and handcrafted mementos. Instead of a standard guest book, Lauren embroidered a centerpiece and provided small squares for guests to sign for a quilt that will later function as a family heirloom. Paying homage to their family was also important to Lauren and Phil, with the entry table posted at the entrance of the chapel adorned with photos of their parents’ and grandparents’ wedding days and a sign saying, “Welcome to our beginning, but thanks to all those who helped us learn how to love.” The bride and groom carefully selected vendorsto make their day function as seamlessly as possible, calling on the talents of Fleurie Flower Studio, Hot City BBQ, Your Inspired Event and others to make their dream wedding come to life. Because dressed in her Brides for a Cause gown and in the presence of their 90 closest friends and family, being true to themselves was all that truly mattered. “There are certain traditions, but there aren’t any rules on how you have to do it either,” Lauren says. “If you stick to what you like and what represents you and how you see your vision, you might not look back later and say, ‘Oh, why did I do that?’ … If it’s something special to you, then do it.”

Mackenzie Mays and Matt Thomas Matt Thomas accomplished the impossible: He actually got the jump on his incredibly perceptive girlfriend, Mackenzie Mays. See, it’s The Fresno Bee education reporter’s job to get the scoop — making it difficult for the average person to turn the tables on her. But when Thomas made plans for the couple to visit Big Sur in August 2015, Mays was completely oblivious to his true intentions. In fact, she made sure the trip didn’t happen at all. “He was really pushing for us to go because we love Big Sur, but I said ‘I’ve got work to do and all of these errands to run. I’m not going to Big Sur this weekend,’ ” Mays says. “So because I had too much work to do and refused to go, he ended up proposing in our house on the floor — but he did get down on one knee.” Their union last Aug. 18 was prophesied, with Mays jokingly warning Thomas that it would be at least a decade until the career-oriented journalism major would be ready to settle down when they met as students at West Virginia University — you guessed it — 10 years ago. The two fell in love with California while Mays participated in a journalism fellowship at Stanford University, vowing to relocate to the coastal state permanently. Three years as official Fresno residents, and Mays and Thomas still like to act like tourists — traveling to its most well-known sites and expanses of natural beauty with their Great Dane, Norah. So when it came time to choosing where to host their big day, it was a no-brainer: Yosemite National Park. Well, that is after they came to the difficult decision to hold their nuptials on the West Coast. “All our friends and family are still in West Virginia or on the East Coast, and my mom was basically offering to do a lot of that work. It got really complicated,” Mays explains. “We spend so much time in Yosemite and we love it there, so we said, “Why don’t we just get married there?’ ” A bit of research and a $150 payment later, and the engaged duo’s newly purchased wedding permit allowed them to pledge their vows within the Yosemite National Park’s nearly 1,200 square miles. Mays and Thomas selected Glacier Point’s stunning overlook as their place of choice, but a raging wildfire tore through the park’s acreage — blocking traffic up to the viewpoint’s access way. With the assistance of a park ranger, however, the couple changed their location to El Capitan Meadow the day before the ceremony. Added stress for the bride and groom, sure. But a fortunate turn of events in hindsight. “El Capitan Meadow was so much more beautiful than Glacier Point would’ve been,” Mays says. “We were able to get the green in the mountains and were just blown away by the pictures.” Mays utilized the abilities of various women business owners to help complete her vision, including Sweet Caroline Styles for her colorful dress, Whole Systems Agriculture for her unique flower bouquet, Heather Sullivan to officiate the ceremony and talents of local glam team, A & A Bridal Hair and Makeup, and Ellie Koleen Photography.

28 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

A freak rainstorm put some of A & A Bridal Hair and Makeup’s work to the test, but Mays found the bout of drizzle to be relaxing during the couple’s small, six-minute ceremony with only Sullivan and Mays and Thomas’ parents as witnesses. “We had the officiant give a shout-out to our moms because we both have single moms, basically saying that they taught us what family can mean, even if it’s not something traditional,” she says. Koleen guided the married couple through some of Yosemite National Park’s beautiful scenery before they headed to Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite to spend their first night as husband and wife — on their own terms. “We definitely have no regrets,” Mays says. “Matt had never lived anywhere but West Virginia and I lived most of my life there, and we don’t know how long we’ll live here. One day we may live far away from Yosemite and be able to look back at those pictures like ‘Wow.’ ” CV

c entralvalley.com

AD Mackenzie Mays and Matt Thomas didn’t let a fire get in the way of their wedding in Yosemite National Park.

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 29


continued ... more special, and most importantly, feel authentic to who they were as a couple. First step: booking the venue. Lauren took a cue from Phil’s regular fishing spot in the Delta, and stumbled upon the Delta Party Barn in Los Banos. The rustic ambiance fit perfectly with their outdoorsy, laid-back vibe — highlighted by Lauren’s thoughtful touches and handcrafted mementos. Instead of a standard guest book, Lauren embroidered a centerpiece and provided small squares for guests to sign for a quilt that will later function as a family heirloom. Paying homage to their family was also important to Lauren and Phil, with the entry table posted at the entrance of the chapel adorned with photos of their parents’ and grandparents’ wedding days and a sign saying, “Welcome to our beginning, but thanks to all those who helped us learn how to love.” The bride and groom carefully selected vendorsto make their day function as seamlessly as possible, calling on the talents of Fleurie Flower Studio, Hot City BBQ, Your Inspired Event and others to make their dream wedding come to life. Because dressed in her Brides for a Cause gown and in the presence of their 90 closest friends and family, being true to themselves was all that truly mattered. “There are certain traditions, but there aren’t any rules on how you have to do it either,” Lauren says. “If you stick to what you like and what represents you and how you see your vision, you might not look back later and say, ‘Oh, why did I do that?’ … If it’s something special to you, then do it.”

Mackenzie Mays and Matt Thomas Matt Thomas accomplished the impossible: He actually got the jump on his incredibly perceptive girlfriend, Mackenzie Mays. See, it’s The Fresno Bee education reporter’s job to get the scoop — making it difficult for the average person to turn the tables on her. But when Thomas made plans for the couple to visit Big Sur in August 2015, Mays was completely oblivious to his true intentions. In fact, she made sure the trip didn’t happen at all. “He was really pushing for us to go because we love Big Sur, but I said ‘I’ve got work to do and all of these errands to run. I’m not going to Big Sur this weekend,’ ” Mays says. “So because I had too much work to do and refused to go, he ended up proposing in our house on the floor — but he did get down on one knee.” Their union last Aug. 18 was prophesied, with Mays jokingly warning Thomas that it would be at least a decade until the career-oriented journalism major would be ready to settle down when they met as students at West Virginia University — you guessed it — 10 years ago. The two fell in love with California while Mays participated in a journalism fellowship at Stanford University, vowing to relocate to the coastal state permanently. Three years as official Fresno residents, and Mays and Thomas still like to act like tourists — traveling to its most well-known sites and expanses of natural beauty with their Great Dane, Norah. So when it came time to choosing where to host their big day, it was a no-brainer: Yosemite National Park. Well, that is after they came to the difficult decision to hold their nuptials on the West Coast. “All our friends and family are still in West Virginia or on the East Coast, and my mom was basically offering to do a lot of that work. It got really complicated,” Mays explains. “We spend so much time in Yosemite and we love it there, so we said, “Why don’t we just get married there?’ ” A bit of research and a $150 payment later, and the engaged duo’s newly purchased wedding permit allowed them to pledge their vows within the Yosemite National Park’s nearly 1,200 square miles. Mays and Thomas selected Glacier Point’s stunning overlook as their place of choice, but a raging wildfire tore through the park’s acreage — blocking traffic up to the viewpoint’s access way. With the assistance of a park ranger, however, the couple changed their location to El Capitan Meadow the day before the ceremony. Added stress for the bride and groom, sure. But a fortunate turn of events in hindsight. “El Capitan Meadow was so much more beautiful than Glacier Point would’ve been,” Mays says. “We were able to get the green in the mountains and were just blown away by the pictures.” Mays utilized the abilities of various women business owners to help complete her vision, including Sweet Caroline Styles for her colorful dress, Whole Systems Agriculture for her unique flower bouquet, Heather Sullivan to officiate the ceremony and talents of local glam team, A & A Bridal Hair and Makeup, and Ellie Koleen Photography.

28 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

A freak rainstorm put some of A & A Bridal Hair and Makeup’s work to the test, but Mays found the bout of drizzle to be relaxing during the couple’s small, six-minute ceremony with only Sullivan and Mays and Thomas’ parents as witnesses. “We had the officiant give a shout-out to our moms because we both have single moms, basically saying that they taught us what family can mean, even if it’s not something traditional,” she says. Koleen guided the married couple through some of Yosemite National Park’s beautiful scenery before they headed to Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite to spend their first night as husband and wife — on their own terms. “We definitely have no regrets,” Mays says. “Matt had never lived anywhere but West Virginia and I lived most of my life there, and we don’t know how long we’ll live here. One day we may live far away from Yosemite and be able to look back at those pictures like ‘Wow.’ ” CV

c entralvalley.com

AD Mackenzie Mays and Matt Thomas didn’t let a fire get in the way of their wedding in Yosemite National Park.

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 29


DThe build-your-own taco and burrito bar is provided by The Smokin’ Burrito. The menu includes smoked tri-tip, pulled pork, chicken breast or bell peppers stuffed with couscous and Parmesan cheese.

BY: Janessa Tyler | PHOTOGRAPHY: Mathr, Teresa Steinhart

C

ongratulations, you’re engaged to be married. As you scan the checklist of vendors to book, your heart starts to race — so much to do, so little time. Luckily, the Central Valley — one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world — is abundant with catering companies that are equipped with experience, passion and talent. But what if you want to skip the traditional grub of tried-and-true recipes? We know of three catering companies that aren’t shy about serving delicious appetizers and entrées with a twist. Not only will serving nontraditional dishes at your Please see next page

30 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

centralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 31


DThe build-your-own taco and burrito bar is provided by The Smokin’ Burrito. The menu includes smoked tri-tip, pulled pork, chicken breast or bell peppers stuffed with couscous and Parmesan cheese.

BY: Janessa Tyler | PHOTOGRAPHY: Mathr, Teresa Steinhart

C

ongratulations, you’re engaged to be married. As you scan the checklist of vendors to book, your heart starts to race — so much to do, so little time. Luckily, the Central Valley — one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world — is abundant with catering companies that are equipped with experience, passion and talent. But what if you want to skip the traditional grub of tried-and-true recipes? We know of three catering companies that aren’t shy about serving delicious appetizers and entrées with a twist. Not only will serving nontraditional dishes at your Please see next page

30 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

centralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 31


continued ... wedding be welcomed by your guests, you’ll save a chunk of change to use for a honeymoon.

Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering From the countryside of Italy to the vineyards of Fresno, Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering puts an unique — and scrumptious — spin on traditional Italian dishes that we’ve grown to love. Co-owned by Matthew Wolcott and Andre Mucelroy, the mobile pizzeria utilizes wood-fired ovens from Italy.

FMattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering is known for the Margherita pizza — Mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes and Thai basil on a thin, crispy crust.

It enhances the flavor — producing thin, crispy crust and melting Mozzarella cheese to perfection. Shortly after Wolcott graduated from the University of California, Irvine, he heard about the benefits of baking pizza in wood-fired ovens — versus gas-fired ovens — from a colleague. Needless to say, his passion to start a career in the culinary arts was ignited. In 2010, the mobile pizzeria became a staple at local wineries, farmers markets and festivals. It moves along the Central Coast and throughout the Central Valley, including Yosemite National Park. Today, you can find the mobile pizzeria satisfying taste buds at weddings. You can start your wedding with a spread of appetizers like toasted crostini, roasted eggplant with goat cheese, stuffed mushrooms, salad drizzled with rosemary balsamic vinaigrette and antipasto with a variety of cured meats, cheeses and vegetables. Ingredients are sourced from local farmers and ranchers in the Central Valley. If you want to break away from the norm, try the pasta bar. Select your noodle of choice and drizzle with olive oil or Alfredo

and marinara sauces. Wolcott says guests can also choose to top with roasted bell peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and olives. But the star of the mobile pizzeria is the authentic Neapolitan pizza. Although the menu changes with the seasons, the Margherita pizza — Mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes and Thai basil — and the BBQ pizza — a layer of barbecue sauce, topped with roasted rosemary chicken, jack cheese and scallions — are popular choices. Of course, there are traditional combinations like pepperoni and marinara sauce. The menu extends to carnivore creations like the Pesto pizza with bacon and pistachio pesto, and the Sausage pizza with smoked sausage, caramelized onions, thyme and blue cheese. For vegetarian-friendly palates, the Mushroom pizza is made with goat cheese and herbs, and the Pear pizza is loaded with d’Anjou pears, Mozzarella and fontina cheeses, basil and smoked almonds. As for treats, the mobile pizzeria serves desserts like berry crisp paired with gelato. You can bring the mobile pizzeria to you — or you can host your wedding at Villa Nascosta, the newfound business venture for Wolcott and Mucelroy. Located on Villa Avenue near Nebraska Avenue, the name of the event venue means “hidden villa” in Italian. Villa Nascosta sits on 7 acres — surrounded by vineyards. It features a bridal suite, rustic-style bar,

restrooms and rentals (tables, chairs, linens and tableware) to accommodate up to 500 guests. Details: www.mattiespizza.com

The Smokin’ Burrito Bring south-of-the-border flavor to your wedding with The Smokin’ Burrito. Owned and operated by Aaron and D’Amber Hansen, the husband-and-wife duo have a passion for Mexican cuisine and barbecue food. Please see next page

SVilla Nascosta, part of Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering, sits on 7 acres — surrounded by vineyards. It features a bridal suite, rustic-style bar, restrooms and rentals (tables, chairs, linens and tableware).

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559.435.6775 • Weekly Lunch Specials • Patio Dining • Sunday NFL Brunch • Banquet Room • Happy Hour for large parties

JOHN SUZUKI Senior Investment Advisor BRE# 01330264 (559) 351-5757

...serving up delicious Pizza and more!

Happy New Year self to

ur ... Treat ygosp cial somethin e

Homemade Ice Cream New Flavors every Tuesday Cakes for Special Occasions

7835 N Palm Ave., #106, Fresno, 93711 www.popolospizza.com

MIKE HAYS Senior Investment Advisor BRE# 014594434 (559) 273-5556

0003399146-01

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE & PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM

(559) 293-3967 Mon - Sat 10am - 7pm

559.437.1243 •Holiday Events •Office Parties

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...we do it all! Contact our office at (559) 243-1000 | jameshendricksandassociates.com 32 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

7949 N BLACKSTONE AVE · FRESNO CA 93720 · 559-438-9900 centralvalley.com

www.smallcakesfresno.com

*Must present ad at time of purchase

585 W. Nees Ave, Suite 115 • Fresno at Palm /Nees centralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 33


continued ... wedding be welcomed by your guests, you’ll save a chunk of change to use for a honeymoon.

Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering From the countryside of Italy to the vineyards of Fresno, Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering puts an unique — and scrumptious — spin on traditional Italian dishes that we’ve grown to love. Co-owned by Matthew Wolcott and Andre Mucelroy, the mobile pizzeria utilizes wood-fired ovens from Italy.

FMattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering is known for the Margherita pizza — Mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes and Thai basil on a thin, crispy crust.

It enhances the flavor — producing thin, crispy crust and melting Mozzarella cheese to perfection. Shortly after Wolcott graduated from the University of California, Irvine, he heard about the benefits of baking pizza in wood-fired ovens — versus gas-fired ovens — from a colleague. Needless to say, his passion to start a career in the culinary arts was ignited. In 2010, the mobile pizzeria became a staple at local wineries, farmers markets and festivals. It moves along the Central Coast and throughout the Central Valley, including Yosemite National Park. Today, you can find the mobile pizzeria satisfying taste buds at weddings. You can start your wedding with a spread of appetizers like toasted crostini, roasted eggplant with goat cheese, stuffed mushrooms, salad drizzled with rosemary balsamic vinaigrette and antipasto with a variety of cured meats, cheeses and vegetables. Ingredients are sourced from local farmers and ranchers in the Central Valley. If you want to break away from the norm, try the pasta bar. Select your noodle of choice and drizzle with olive oil or Alfredo

and marinara sauces. Wolcott says guests can also choose to top with roasted bell peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and olives. But the star of the mobile pizzeria is the authentic Neapolitan pizza. Although the menu changes with the seasons, the Margherita pizza — Mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes and Thai basil — and the BBQ pizza — a layer of barbecue sauce, topped with roasted rosemary chicken, jack cheese and scallions — are popular choices. Of course, there are traditional combinations like pepperoni and marinara sauce. The menu extends to carnivore creations like the Pesto pizza with bacon and pistachio pesto, and the Sausage pizza with smoked sausage, caramelized onions, thyme and blue cheese. For vegetarian-friendly palates, the Mushroom pizza is made with goat cheese and herbs, and the Pear pizza is loaded with d’Anjou pears, Mozzarella and fontina cheeses, basil and smoked almonds. As for treats, the mobile pizzeria serves desserts like berry crisp paired with gelato. You can bring the mobile pizzeria to you — or you can host your wedding at Villa Nascosta, the newfound business venture for Wolcott and Mucelroy. Located on Villa Avenue near Nebraska Avenue, the name of the event venue means “hidden villa” in Italian. Villa Nascosta sits on 7 acres — surrounded by vineyards. It features a bridal suite, rustic-style bar,

restrooms and rentals (tables, chairs, linens and tableware) to accommodate up to 500 guests. Details: www.mattiespizza.com

The Smokin’ Burrito Bring south-of-the-border flavor to your wedding with The Smokin’ Burrito. Owned and operated by Aaron and D’Amber Hansen, the husband-and-wife duo have a passion for Mexican cuisine and barbecue food. Please see next page

SVilla Nascosta, part of Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza & Catering, sits on 7 acres — surrounded by vineyards. It features a bridal suite, rustic-style bar, restrooms and rentals (tables, chairs, linens and tableware).

SPECIAL ~ BUY 5 CUPCAKES, GET 1 FREE!*

JAMES HENDRICKS AND ASSOCIATES, INC. KENNETH R. HENDRICKS CEO | CPM BRE# 01162863 (559) 243-1000

559.435.6775 • Weekly Lunch Specials • Patio Dining • Sunday NFL Brunch • Banquet Room • Happy Hour for large parties

JOHN SUZUKI Senior Investment Advisor BRE# 01330264 (559) 351-5757

...serving up delicious Pizza and more!

Happy New Year self to

ur ... Treat ygosp cial somethin e

Homemade Ice Cream New Flavors every Tuesday Cakes for Special Occasions

7835 N Palm Ave., #106, Fresno, 93711 www.popolospizza.com

MIKE HAYS Senior Investment Advisor BRE# 014594434 (559) 273-5556

0003399146-01

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE & PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM

(559) 293-3967 Mon - Sat 10am - 7pm

559.437.1243 •Holiday Events •Office Parties

•Special Occasions

...we do it all! Contact our office at (559) 243-1000 | jameshendricksandassociates.com 32 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

7949 N BLACKSTONE AVE · FRESNO CA 93720 · 559-438-9900 centralvalley.com

www.smallcakesfresno.com

*Must present ad at time of purchase

585 W. Nees Ave, Suite 115 • Fresno at Palm /Nees centralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 33


with a lengthy list of family members who served in the United States Armed Forces, Aaron served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence specialist in the 1990s. His grandfather — his hero, he says — became his inspiration for design. The food truck is designed to look like a World War II bomber — complete with a painting of a pin-up model. The option of having the food truck come to your wedding is a causal, budget-friendly approach to serving your guests. But if you’re thinking about formality, the food truck also converts into a fullservice catering company. Although you can opt for your guests to be serviced at the convenience of AThe Smokin’ Burrito serves appetizers like nachos their table, the build-your-own taco and topped with pulled pork, homemade tortilla chips, burrito bar paves the way for customranch-style beans, cheese and barbecue sauce. ized plates. “Everyone loves tacos and burritos,” D’Amber says. “The menu is tailored for choices.” continued ... You choose the number of slow-cooked meats Although new to the scene of catering compathat you want served. The menu includes nies, Aaron and D’Amber aren’t strangers to the smoked tri-tip, pulled pork, chicken breast or food and catering industry. bell peppers stuffed with couscous and Parme“About two years ago, my mother-in-law — san cheese. Tortillas, beans, rice, salsa and a who has been in the food and catering industry gourmet side are standard with the build-yourfor more than 20 years — decided she would like own taco and burrito bar. to begin heading towards retirement,” Aaron The variety of gourmet sides include smoked says. cornbread, ranch-style beans, grilled vegetables, The food trailer that she owned was sold to rice pilaf and garlic mashed potatoes. Aaron and D’Amber — launching the start of The To finish setting the scene, D’Amber runs Smokin’ Burrito. Next, the menu was designed Glam Décor Rentals — a one-stop shop to rentby Aaron with the thought of pairing the comfort ing linens and tableware — for an additional fee. of barbecue with the spice of Mexican cuisine. “Our favorite part about catering a wedding is “I decided to go with smoked meats as they’re being able to watch the magic happen,” D’Amber so tasty and very tender to just melt in your says. “When they choose us, we’re genuinely mouth,” Aaron says. honored.” But what would the food truck look like? Along Details: www.thesmokinburrito.com

AThe Smokin’ Burrito offers appetizers, like fruit parfaits, in addition to slow-cooked meats. 34 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com


CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR WITH

Something Special

SIERRA NUT HOUSE

with a lengthy list of family members who served in the United States Armed Forces, Aaron served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence specialist in the 1990s. His grandfather — his hero, he says — became his inspiration for design. The food truck is designed to look like a World War II bomber — complete with a painting of a pin-up model. The option of having the food truck come to your wedding is a causal, budget-friendly approach to serving your guests. But if you’re thinking about formality, the food truck also converts into a fullservice catering company. Although you can opt for your guests to be serviced at the convenience of AThe Smokin’ Burrito serves appetizers like nachos their table, the build-your-own taco and topped with pulled pork, homemade tortilla chips, burrito bar paves the way for customranch-style beans, cheese and barbecue sauce. ized plates. “Everyone loves tacos and burritos,” D’Amber says. “The menu is tailored for choices.” continued ... You choose the number of slow-cooked meats Although new to the scene of catering compathat you want served. The menu includes nies, Aaron and D’Amber aren’t strangers to the smoked tri-tip, pulled pork, chicken breast or food and catering industry. bell peppers stuffed with couscous and Parme“About two years ago, my mother-in-law — san cheese. Tortillas, beans, rice, salsa and a who has been in the food and catering industry gourmet side are standard with the build-yourfor more than 20 years — decided she would like own taco and burrito bar. to begin heading towards retirement,” Aaron The variety of gourmet sides include smoked says. cornbread, ranch-style beans, grilled vegetables, The food trailer that she owned was sold to rice pilaf and garlic mashed potatoes. Aaron and D’Amber — launching the start of The To finish setting the scene, D’Amber runs Smokin’ Burrito. Next, the menu was designed Glam Décor Rentals — a one-stop shop to rentby Aaron with the thought of pairing the comfort ing linens and tableware — for an additional fee. of barbecue with the spice of Mexican cuisine. “Our favorite part about catering a wedding is “I decided to go with smoked meats as they’re being able to watch the magic happen,” D’Amber so tasty and very tender to just melt in your says. “When they choose us, we’re genuinely mouth,” Aaron says. honored.” But what would the food truck look like? Along Details: www.thesmokinburrito.com

The Painted Table Co-owned by Rodney and Jeromie Hansen, The Painted Table was born from a passion for the Central Valley. As natives of the Central Valley, the couple uses local ingredients from Bravo Farms, Max’s Bakery, Harris Ranch and Mary’s Free Range Chicken. Rodney attended the School of Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of Seattle, earning a degree in pastry and culinary arts, whereas Jeromie perfected his skills in marketing and customer service during a career in the dental industry. After returning to the Central Valley from Seattle, Rodney and Jeromie opened Magical Cakes in downtown Visalia. They also owned a food trailer that visited local farmers markets and a burger joint called Brown Bag Burger Bar in downtown Caruthers. After a stint with two storefronts and a food trailer, Rodney and Jeromie decided to dive into the catering industry. In 2008, they opened The Painted Table. Three years later, Rodney and Jeromie expanded the full-service catering company to include a venue next to Tower Theater in downtown Fresno. It can accommodate up to 250 people — perfect for cocktail parties and corporate gatherings. The menu features meats — port-braised beef short ribs, bacon-wrapped Italian plums and pizza topped with filet mignon — seafood like hazelnut-crusted scallops and vegetarian-friendly dishes. Like the name, dishes are made to look like a work of art. Jeromie says the gourmet burger bar is a winner for a laid-back, buffet-style entrée. Guests grab a half-pound Angus beef patty and garnish with a variety of handmade toppings (based on

AAlthough you can opt for the build-your-own taco and burrito bar, The Smokin’ Burrito can serve your guests at the convenience of their table.

the season) like applewood-smoked bacon, avocado, grilled onions and pineapples, portobello mushrooms, arugula and American, Swiss, provolone and blue cheeses. “We do bacon jam ... we do fig jam ... we do crispy onions that are handmade — not from a box,” Jeromie says. “Your imagination is what will build a burger.” The beef patties, which marinate in brown butter after being grilled onsite, are “super, super flavorful,” Jeromie says. And don’t forget — the menu can be customized to meet your needs. There are vegetarian-

and- vegan-friendly and gluten-free options. You can substitute a beef patty for a black bean patty or grilled portobello mushroom. “The most popular spread is our arugula aioli,” he says. “We use so much arugula.” Recently, The Painted Table was awarded the “Signature Caterer for Best Event” for An Evening at the Forestiere Underground Gardens by the International Caterers Association. The Painted Table is also the exclusive catering company for Golden Palace in Fresno and The Manor Estate in Madera. Details: www.paintedtablecatering.comCV

A trusted locally owned business in downtown Selma since 1954.

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Martin Jewelers AThe Smokin’ Burrito offers appetizers, like fruit parfaits, in addition to slow-cooked meats. centralvalley.com

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Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 35


A A wedding gum paste flowered cake with metallic accents is shown from Crème de la Cake in Fresno.

BY: Cyndee Fontana-Ott | PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Kazanjian, Creme de la Cake, Frosted Cakery

From half-dressed to stunning, the big day looks — and tastes — amazing or years, wedding cakes were as traditional in style and flavor as chocolate and vanilla. Times have changed. Today’s wedding cakes come in countless designs and tastes that are as unique and personal as the individual couple. For example, peek under the fondant (or buttercream or chocolate) and you’ll find flavors ranging from lemon drop and carrot to salted caramel and red velvet. Then there’s design. While the traditional never goes out of style, today’s cakes can shatter conventional

F

36 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

customs by going nearly bare (the “naked” cake), by busting out the bling (gold leaf and other metallics), by dressing in watercolors or by telling the singular love story of the soon-to-be-married couple. The explosion of social media such as Instagram and Pinterest make it even easier these days to follow — or set — new fashion. Here in the Central Valley, we talked to a few bakery owners (and wedding cake experts) to explore the trends of today and tomorrow. So what’s on trend now? The professionals at Crème de la Cake, Frosted Cakery and Chiffonos Bakery

centralvalley.com


A A wedding gum paste flowered cake with metallic accents is shown from Crème de la Cake in Fresno.

BY: Cyndee Fontana-Ott | PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Kazanjian, Creme de la Cake, Frosted Cakery

From half-dressed to stunning, the big day looks — and tastes — amazing

F

or years, wedding cakes were as traditional in style and flavor as chocolate and vanilla. Times have changed. Today’s wedding cakes come in countless designs and tastes that are as unique and personal as the individual couple. For example, peek under the fondant (or buttercream or chocolate) and you’ll find flavors ranging from lemon drop and carrot to salted caramel and red velvet. Then there’s design. While the traditional never goes out of style, today’s cakes can shatter conventional

36 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

customs by going nearly bare (the “naked” cake), by busting out the bling (gold leaf and other metallics), by dressing in watercolors or by telling the singular love story of the soon-to-be-married couple. The explosion of social media such as Instagram and Pinterest make it even easier these days to follow — or set — new fashion. Here in the Central Valley, we talked to a few bakery owners (and wedding cake experts) to explore the trends of today and tomorrow. So what’s on trend now? The professionals at Crème de la Cake, Frosted Cakery and Chiffonos Bakery

centralvalley.com

agreed that the popular “naked” cake has staying power. This cake features minimal buttercream or other covering on the sides, so it exposes the actual cake (hence the name). “I do a lot of naked cakes,” says Liz Roberto, the Culinary Institute of America-trained owner of the boutique shop Crème de la Cake (www.cremecake.com) in northwest Fresno. The so-called “naked” cakes are usually light on décor and may only feature fresh flowers; it’s a popular choice for outdoor weddings. At Frosted Cakery (www.frostedcakery.com) in Fresno’s Tower District, mother-and-daughter team Beverly Gable and Megan Mooney point to trends like the “geode” cake that features a carved out section

centralvalley.com

A Gold Leaf Naked Wedding Cake, garnished with greenery, fresh fruit and flowers from Frosted Cakery in Fresno.

typically studded with colorful rock candy. Other fashionable choices are country chic, textured buttercream and smaller wedding cakes served as the star of a dessert table. “The trend right now is everything,” says Gable, who learned the business from her parents, longtime operators of Jimmie’s Bakery. Morgan Pickert, owner of Chiffonos (www.chiffonosbakery.com) in northeast Fresno, acknowledged many of the same trends along with doughnuts — yes, doughnuts — that stand in for wedding cakes. “Really, anything goes,” says Pickert, who once fielded a request for a Halloween-themed cake complete with monster. Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 37


A Morgan Pickert, owner of Chiffonos Bakery, specializes in chocolate-wrapped wedding cakes, rather than using fondant.

A Mermaid Cake and Dessert Table from Frosted Cakery in Fresno.

continued ... A The process of making a wedding cake is very detailed at Crème de la Cake in Fresno.

A Some of the tools of the trade in the wedding cake-making process at Crème de la Cake.

A Owner Beverly Gable sprays gold on a wedding cake at Frosted Cakery.

Just like an engaged couple, each of these bakeries has a distinct story and niche in the wedding business. Pickert, a self-taught baker, is in his second go-round after first opening a bakery in the Bay Area a few decades ago. The Sanger native took a roughly 15-year professional detour before returning to the Central Valley and his true calling. “Baking has always been my passion,” he says. In 2007, Pickert opened Chiffonos Bakery, a bakery that features delicious desserts and a unique approach to wedding cakes. This from-scratch shop specializes in chocolate-wrapped wedding cakes, or cakes enveloped in dark or white chocolate rather than fondant. The wrap (affixed with a layer of buttercream) can be smooth or ruffled and also can be tinted to match wedding colors; handmade chocolate roses and other decorative elements are an option too. He learned the wrap technique from a caterer and believes it delivers a tastier cake. “I’m the only one that I know of who does that process here,” says Pickert, who is hands-on from start to finish with each cake. Chiffonos’ chocolate-wrapped marvels are bestsuited for indoor ceremonies or outdoor weddings at cooler times of the year. The wrapping and decorating process takes time, so Pickert limits each weekend’s wedding orders to ensure

38 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

he has time for each cake. All are prepared as close to the date as possible. Chiffonos already is booking weddings that are a year away, so Pickert suggests that couples plan at least six months in advance. Popular flavors include red velvet, strawberry and carrot cake. At Crème de la Cake, pastry chef Roberto is recognized for her from-scratch baking and distinctive designs. Each wedding cake represents a collaborative effort between her and the couple. “My clients are people who want to make a lasting impression both visually and with flavor,” she says. Vanilla bean, chocolate and red velvet are among the most popular flavors at the shop but there are many other choices. Crème de la Cake’s suggested pairings include lemon drop (Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean cake layered with organic lemon curd and lemon buttercream) and salted caramel (chocolate cake layered with caramel buttercream). She also offers an unusual Aztec chocolate filling — chocolate buttercream infused with cayenne pepper and cinnamon oil. Roberto grew up in Fresno and earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design at Fresno State. She worked with ad agencies for a while before deciding to take the plunge into the food world at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.

centralvalley.com

A A red velvet naked wedding cake from Crème de la Cake is decorated with sugared berries.

Her specific path wasn’t certain until she started the pastry section. “I knew the second we started doing wedding cakes, this is what I want to do,” Roberto says. After earning a certificate in baking and pastry, she worked on wedding cakes for a chef in Northern California. Roberto returned to Fresno and opened Crème de la Cake in 2006. At the bakery, Roberto combines her pastry and baking knowledge with an artistic sensibility to create elegant and luscious custom cakes. She suggests that couples explore the web (including her site and social media) to find

centralvalley.com

cake designs they like before scheduling a consultation. It’s also important to be settled in theme and colors as well as the wedding date. Unless planning a wedding for a popular three-day weekend, a couple usually should consider booking the wedding cake about four to six months in advance. “The cake should be one of the last things to order,” she says. Roberto employs a variety of techniques, from watercolor painting to damask and other patterns to edible gold leaf. Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 39


A Morgan Pickert, owner of Chiffonos Bakery, specializes in chocolate-wrapped wedding cakes, rather than using fondant.

A Mermaid Cake and Dessert Table from Frosted Cakery in Fresno.

continued ... A The process of making a wedding cake is very detailed at Crème de la Cake in Fresno.

A Some of the tools of the trade in the wedding cake-making process at Crème de la Cake.

A Owner Beverly Gable sprays gold on a wedding cake at Frosted Cakery.

Just like an engaged couple, each of these bakeries has a distinct story and niche in the wedding business. Pickert, a self-taught baker, is in his second go-round after first opening a bakery in the Bay Area a few decades ago. The Sanger native took a roughly 15-year professional detour before returning to the Central Valley and his true calling. “Baking has always been my passion,” he says. In 2007, Pickert opened Chiffonos Bakery, a bakery that features delicious desserts and a unique approach to wedding cakes. This from-scratch shop specializes in chocolate-wrapped wedding cakes, or cakes enveloped in dark or white chocolate rather than fondant. The wrap (affixed with a layer of buttercream) can be smooth or ruffled and also can be tinted to match wedding colors; handmade chocolate roses and other decorative elements are an option too. He learned the wrap technique from a caterer and believes it delivers a tastier cake. “I’m the only one that I know of who does that process here,” says Pickert, who is hands-on from start to finish with each cake. Chiffonos’ chocolate-wrapped marvels are bestsuited for indoor ceremonies or outdoor weddings at cooler times of the year. The wrapping and decorating process takes time, so Pickert limits each weekend’s wedding orders to ensure

38 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

he has time for each cake. All are prepared as close to the date as possible. Chiffonos already is booking weddings that are a year away, so Pickert suggests that couples plan at least six months in advance. Popular flavors include red velvet, strawberry and carrot cake. At Crème de la Cake, pastry chef Roberto is recognized for her from-scratch baking and distinctive designs. Each wedding cake represents a collaborative effort between her and the couple. “My clients are people who want to make a lasting impression both visually and with flavor,” she says. Vanilla bean, chocolate and red velvet are among the most popular flavors at the shop but there are many other choices. Crème de la Cake’s suggested pairings include lemon drop (Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean cake layered with organic lemon curd and lemon buttercream) and salted caramel (chocolate cake layered with caramel buttercream). She also offers an unusual Aztec chocolate filling — chocolate buttercream infused with cayenne pepper and cinnamon oil. Roberto grew up in Fresno and earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design at Fresno State. She worked with ad agencies for a while before deciding to take the plunge into the food world at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.

centralvalley.com

A A red velvet naked wedding cake from Crème de la Cake is decorated with sugared berries.

Her specific path wasn’t certain until she started the pastry section. “I knew the second we started doing wedding cakes, this is what I want to do,” Roberto says. After earning a certificate in baking and pastry, she worked on wedding cakes for a chef in Northern California. Roberto returned to Fresno and opened Crème de la Cake in 2006. At the bakery, Roberto combines her pastry and baking knowledge with an artistic sensibility to create elegant and luscious custom cakes. She suggests that couples explore the web (including her site and social media) to find

centralvalley.com

cake designs they like before scheduling a consultation. It’s also important to be settled in theme and colors as well as the wedding date. Unless planning a wedding for a popular three-day weekend, a couple usually should consider booking the wedding cake about four to six months in advance. “The cake should be one of the last things to order,” she says. Roberto employs a variety of techniques, from watercolor painting to damask and other patterns to edible gold leaf. Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 39


Your journey begins here Specializing in Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Travel

A A sweetheart wedding cake with gum paste flowers from Crème de la Cake. F This Geode Modern Wedding Cake is from Frosted Cakery.

A Owner Beverly Gable makes roses on a wedding cake at Frosted Cakery.

A Naked Drip Wedding Cake Trio is garnished with flowers and greenery from Frosted Cakery.

continued ... She can work off of a photo in terms of design, but says “I do like to personalize the cake.” At Frosted Cakery, baking is the family business. Owner Beverly Gable learned the trade and worked for her parents, Jimmie and Owen Carlton, who ran Jimmie’s Bakery until their retirement. She and her daughter/business partner Megan Mooney opened Frosted

40 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

Cakery about eight years ago. Mooney remembers working in Jimmie’s and coming up with elaborate designs that frazzled her grandmother. But those ideas always turned out well, she says. “I guess (the business) was in my blood,” Mooney says. Frosted Cakery has a reputation for knowing — and anticipating — trends as well as delivering edgy or unique wedding cakes, she says. The bakery’s recipes were developed by Gable from family favorites. With as many as five wedding cakes per weekend, Frosted Cakery hums with sweet activity on a neardaily basis. Brightening one area of the shop is this

centralvalley.com

framed Julia Child quote: “A party without cake is just a meeting.” Here, salted caramel has been the most popular flavor for the last few years. Gable, who meets with wedding cake clients, sketches a design for each cake and always encourages them to “make it your own.” Some couples certainly follow that advice by adding novelties like action figures — and even a monster truck — to the cake design. Gable and other decorators are experienced in all sorts of styles that range from “geode” and country chic to watercolor and textured buttercream. For a consultation — generally six to 12 months in advance — couples should have

centralvalley.com

an idea of what they like and a fix on colors or themes. Gable typically presents three small cakes for tasting; other flavors may be available in the bakery’s cupcake case. Many couples choose a different flavor for each tier of cake, she says, and that eases pressure to choose one single flavor. However, they do need to agree on the top tier typically saved for the one-year anniversary. Gable also says a couple shouldn’t worry about pleasing every palate on the guest list. “You need to do what makes you happy,” she says. “And most people aren’t going to complain about getting cake.” CV

The Travel Address 2069 W Bullard Ave. Fresno, CA 93711 559.432.8747

www.thetraveladdress.com Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 41


Your journey begins here Specializing in Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Travel

A A sweetheart wedding cake with gum paste flowers from Crème de la Cake. F This Geode Modern Wedding Cake is from Frosted Cakery.

A Owner Beverly Gable makes roses on a wedding cake at Frosted Cakery.

A Naked Drip Wedding Cake Trio is garnished with flowers and greenery from Frosted Cakery.

continued ... She can work off of a photo in terms of design, but says “I do like to personalize the cake.” At Frosted Cakery, baking is the family business. Owner Beverly Gable learned the trade and worked for her parents, Jimmie and Owen Carlton, who ran Jimmie’s Bakery until their retirement. She and her daughter/business partner Megan Mooney opened Frosted

40 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

Cakery about eight years ago. Mooney remembers working in Jimmie’s and coming up with elaborate designs that frazzled her grandmother. But those ideas always turned out well, she says. “I guess (the business) was in my blood,” Mooney says. Frosted Cakery has a reputation for knowing — and anticipating — trends as well as delivering edgy or unique wedding cakes, she says. The bakery’s recipes were developed by Gable from family favorites. With as many as five wedding cakes per weekend, Frosted Cakery hums with sweet activity on a neardaily basis. Brightening one area of the shop is this

centralvalley.com

framed Julia Child quote: “A party without cake is just a meeting.” Here, salted caramel has been the most popular flavor for the last few years. Gable, who meets with wedding cake clients, sketches a design for each cake and always encourages them to “make it your own.” Some couples certainly follow that advice by adding novelties like action figures — and even a monster truck — to the cake design. Gable and other decorators are experienced in all sorts of styles that range from “geode” and country chic to watercolor and textured buttercream. For a consultation — generally six to 12 months in advance — couples should have

centralvalley.com

an idea of what they like and a fix on colors or themes. Gable typically presents three small cakes for tasting; other flavors may be available in the bakery’s cupcake case. Many couples choose a different flavor for each tier of cake, she says, and that eases pressure to choose one single flavor. However, they do need to agree on the top tier typically saved for the one-year anniversary. Gable also says a couple shouldn’t worry about pleasing every palate on the guest list. “You need to do what makes you happy,” she says. “And most people aren’t going to complain about getting cake.” CV

The Travel Address 2069 W Bullard Ave. Fresno, CA 93711 559.432.8747

www.thetraveladdress.com Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 41


.................

Stayfunky

GetUp&Go

If you’re adventurous, seeking out unusual places to stay can be almost as much fun as the main destinations themselves BY: Shawn Gadberry | PHOTOGRAPHY: Shawn Gadberry, Tom Meinhold, Madonna Inn, Getty Images/David McNew

G

oing on vacation is always fun, wherever the destination. Whether it’s a part of the country, the ocean, an amusement park or some amazing and beautiful natural wonder, getaways are life experiences we all crave and savor. For most, any hotel with a modicum of amenities will do, but if you’re adventurous, seeking out unusual places to stay can be almost as much fun as the main destinations themselves. From kitschy to clever, from haunted to historic, here’s a closer look at three hotels that are off of the beaten track, but offer experiences you really can’t get anywhere else.

Gone

Northern California Northern California is known for its untamed forested beauty. From the giant redwoods to the staggering peaks of Mt. Shasta and the Casacade Mountains, Northern California has something for people wishing

to get back to nature — at least for a weekend or so. There are many overlooked natural attractions to Northern California, such as the Pygmy Forest, the active hydrothermal areas of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the rugged “hidden” coastline or the Trees of Mystery in Klamath. There is no shortage of unusual places to stay in this region. In Point Arena in Mendocino County, you can stay in a lighthouse keeper’s quarters at Point Arena Lighthouse, for starters. A few hours north is one of the more interesting hotels Northern California has to offer. The Railroad Park Resort is just outside the town of Dunsmuir, minutes from Mt. Shasta. What makes the Railroad Park Resort unique is that most of the rooms are train cabooses that have been converted. Built in the late 1960s by Bill and Delberta Murphy and now owned by Mark and Mary Lilley, the resort also offers cabins, RV hookups and camping. But the vintage train cars are the real attraction. “The Murphys purchased most of the rail cars in the 1970s from various railroad companies, like Southern Pacific, and they then converted them into these beautiful and unique motel rooms that we see today,” says Hank Borgsteede, who co-manages the resort with his wife, Leslie. “It’s like a time capsule that reminds me of a by-gone era in which the railroads played a major role in the cultural, social and industrial fabric of America.” The cabooses (and one special converted boxcar, dubbed the Boxcar Honeymoon Suite) come with amenities, such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning and heating and full bathrooms. Please see next page

AThe Wigwam Motel, built in 1949 on old Route 66, consists of teepee-shaped individual rooms — just a short drive from the San Bernardino International Airport. FThe Madonna Inn is a California icon that features beauty and sought-after themed rooms.

42 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

DClassic — and funky — accommodations await visitors at Kate’s Lazy Desert Airstream Motel. With six vintage Airstreams restored to wacky perfection, the motel could be the Mojave Desert’s most interesting hidden gem.

centralvalley.com

c entralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 43


.................

Stayfunky

GetUp&Go

If you’re adventurous, seeking out unusual places to stay can be almost as much fun as the main destinations themselves BY: Shawn Gadberry | PHOTOGRAPHY: Shawn Gadberry, Tom Meinhold, Madonna Inn, Getty Images/David McNew

G

oing on vacation is always fun, wherever the destination. Whether it’s a part of the country, the ocean, an amusement park or some amazing and beautiful natural wonder, getaways are life experiences we all crave and savor. For most, any hotel with a modicum of amenities will do, but if you’re adventurous, seeking out unusual places to stay can be almost as much fun as the main destinations themselves. From kitschy to clever, from haunted to historic, here’s a closer look at three hotels that are off of the beaten track, but offer experiences you really can’t get anywhere else.

Gone

Northern California Northern California is known for its untamed forested beauty. From the giant redwoods to the staggering peaks of Mt. Shasta and the Casacade Mountains, Northern California has something for people wishing

to get back to nature — at least for a weekend or so. There are many overlooked natural attractions to Northern California, such as the Pygmy Forest, the active hydrothermal areas of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the rugged “hidden” coastline or the Trees of Mystery in Klamath. There is no shortage of unusual places to stay in this region. In Point Arena in Mendocino County, you can stay in a lighthouse keeper’s quarters at Point Arena Lighthouse, for starters. A few hours north is one of the more interesting hotels Northern California has to offer. The Railroad Park Resort is just outside the town of Dunsmuir, minutes from Mt. Shasta. What makes the Railroad Park Resort unique is that most of the rooms are train cabooses that have been converted. Built in the late 1960s by Bill and Delberta Murphy and now owned by Mark and Mary Lilley, the resort also offers cabins, RV hookups and camping. But the vintage train cars are the real attraction. “The Murphys purchased most of the rail cars in the 1970s from various railroad companies, like Southern Pacific, and they then converted them into these beautiful and unique motel rooms that we see today,” says Hank Borgsteede, who co-manages the resort with his wife, Leslie. “It’s like a time capsule that reminds me of a by-gone era in which the railroads played a major role in the cultural, social and industrial fabric of America.” The cabooses (and one special converted boxcar, dubbed the Boxcar Honeymoon Suite) come with amenities, such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning and heating and full bathrooms. Please see next page

AThe Wigwam Motel, built in 1949 on old Route 66, consists of teepee-shaped individual rooms — just a short drive from the San Bernardino International Airport. FThe Madonna Inn is a California icon that features beauty and sought-after themed rooms.

42 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

DClassic — and funky — accommodations await visitors at Kate’s Lazy Desert Airstream Motel. With six vintage Airstreams restored to wacky perfection, the motel could be the Mojave Desert’s most interesting hidden gem.

centralvalley.com

c entralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 43


continued ... Although mini refrigerators and microwaves are available in each room, the resort also features The Dinner House and Lounge, a restaurant and bar created from vintage dining cars. “It serves excellent dinner cuisine; seafood, steak, desserts and beverages,” Borgsteede says. Nestled at the base of Castle Crags State Park, along Little Castle Creek, the Railroad Park Resort is an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to the nearness to Mt. Shasta, there are several local waterfalls, lakes (including Shasta Lake) and the Sacramento River. All aboard! The resort is open year-round.

ATreebones Resort is a premier glamping resort. Glamping is defined as a luxury form of camping, blending natural experience of outdoor camping with more glamorous amenities. Before you head out, check your route. Treebones is open, but due to last winter’s cataclysmic storms, Highway 1 remains closed to the south of the resort. Highway 1 to the north is fully open to Monterery/Carmel and beyond.

Central California As residents of the Central Valley, we are aware of the many travel and recreational opportunities available to us. We have the mountains to the east and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

More places to stay funky If you’re looking for something off the beaten path or a bit unusual, take a gander at a few of California’s gems. t Stay in a lighthouse keeper’s quarters at Point Arena Lighthouse: www.pointarenalighthouse.com t Stay in an old fire lookout station, Calpine Lookout in the Tahoe National Forest: www.recreation.gov (search for Calpine Lookout) t Stay with a ghostly friend at the Fallon Hotel in the heart of gold country: (559) 532-1470 t Stay in a vintage Route 66-era teepee-shaped room at the Wigwam Motel: www.wigwammotel.com t Stay in a tree house by the ocean: (Santa Cruz) www.starredwoodtreehouse.com or (Big Sur) www.postranchinn.com/accommodations/tree Do you know other unusual places to stay? Let us know at www.facebook.com/CentralValleyMag

44 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

AAbove: At Point Arena in Mendocino County, you can stay in a lighthouse keeper’s quarters at Point Arena Lighthouse. It was listed by SFGATE at one of the Top 10 Unique Vacation Rentals in the West. Full-moon night tours are offered. AATop: The Railroad Park Resort’s main attraction are the rooms, which are actually converted train cabooses. Just minutes from Mt. Shasta, the resort also offers cabins, RV hookups and camping.

centralvalley.com

The grandeur of Yosemite National Park is just a short drive away to the north. Beyond that, we have the old California gold country with its history, mines and natural caverns. To the west, we have our cherished Central Coast. We’re only a few hours’ drive to the Bay Area in the north and the Los Angeles basin to the south. With an abundance of travel opportunities, it’s safe to say that Central California also has a great deal of interesting and unique places to stay. The elegant and grand Majestic Hotel (formerly The Ahwahnee Hotel) in Yosemite is a well-known jewel. The gold country features authentic hotels from the 1800s, many with saloons and restaurants. Try the Fallon Hotel in Columbia, The Murphys Hotel in Murphys or the St. George in Volcano. The more adventurous may want to check in to the National Hotel in Jamestown for a possible encounter with its resident ghost. Along the coast, there are chances to go “glamping” in yurts in Big Sur at Treebones Resort, which has earned a Hall of Fame Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor every year since 2011. If luxury yurts aren’t your style, try a treehousse view from the Star Redwood Treehouse in Santa Cruz or the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. If you’ve always wanted to visit the African plains

centralvalley.com

AThe Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur has views you won’t believe.

and go on safari but couldn’t afford it, a trip to Salinas may be in order for a stay at Vision Quest Ranch Safari Bed & Breakfast, where lions roar and elephants play just yards from your tent-style bungalow. Of the more famous and unusual places to stay along the coast of Central California, where every room is different than the others, is the Madonna Inn in San Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 45


continued ... Although mini refrigerators and microwaves are available in each room, the resort also features The Dinner House and Lounge, a restaurant and bar created from vintage dining cars. “It serves excellent dinner cuisine; seafood, steak, desserts and beverages,” Borgsteede says. Nestled at the base of Castle Crags State Park, along Little Castle Creek, the Railroad Park Resort is an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to the nearness to Mt. Shasta, there are several local waterfalls, lakes (including Shasta Lake) and the Sacramento River. All aboard! The resort is open year-round.

ATreebones Resort is a premier glamping resort. Glamping is defined as a luxury form of camping, blending natural experience of outdoor camping with more glamorous amenities. Before you head out, check your route. Treebones is open, but due to last winter’s cataclysmic storms, Highway 1 remains closed to the south of the resort. Highway 1 to the north is fully open to Monterery/Carmel and beyond.

Central California As residents of the Central Valley, we are aware of the many travel and recreational opportunities available to us. We have the mountains to the east and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

More places to stay funky If you’re looking for something off the beaten path or a bit unusual, take a gander at a few of California’s gems. t Stay in a lighthouse keeper’s quarters at Point Arena Lighthouse: www.pointarenalighthouse.com t Stay in an old fire lookout station, Calpine Lookout in the Tahoe National Forest: www.recreation.gov (search for Calpine Lookout) t Stay with a ghostly friend at the Fallon Hotel in the heart of gold country: (559) 532-1470 t Stay in a vintage Route 66-era teepee-shaped room at the Wigwam Motel: www.wigwammotel.com t Stay in a tree house by the ocean: (Santa Cruz) www.starredwoodtreehouse.com or (Big Sur) www.postranchinn.com/accommodations/tree Do you know other unusual places to stay? Let us know at www.facebook.com/CentralValleyMag

44 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

AAbove: At Point Arena in Mendocino County, you can stay in a lighthouse keeper’s quarters at Point Arena Lighthouse. It was listed by SFGATE at one of the Top 10 Unique Vacation Rentals in the West. Full-moon night tours are offered. AATop: The Railroad Park Resort’s main attraction are the rooms, which are actually converted train cabooses. Just minutes from Mt. Shasta, the resort also offers cabins, RV hookups and camping.

centralvalley.com

The grandeur of Yosemite National Park is just a short drive away to the north. Beyond that, we have the old California gold country with its history, mines and natural caverns. To the west, we have our cherished Central Coast. We’re only a few hours’ drive to the Bay Area in the north and the Los Angeles basin to the south. With an abundance of travel opportunities, it’s safe to say that Central California also has a great deal of interesting and unique places to stay. The elegant and grand Majestic Hotel (formerly The Ahwahnee Hotel) in Yosemite is a well-known jewel. The gold country features authentic hotels from the 1800s, many with saloons and restaurants. Try the Fallon Hotel in Columbia, The Murphys Hotel in Murphys or the St. George in Volcano. The more adventurous may want to check in to the National Hotel in Jamestown for a possible encounter with its resident ghost. Along the coast, there are chances to go “glamping” in yurts in Big Sur at Treebones Resort, which has earned a Hall of Fame Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor every year since 2011. If luxury yurts aren’t your style, try a treehousse view from the Star Redwood Treehouse in Santa Cruz or the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. If you’ve always wanted to visit the African plains

centralvalley.com

AThe Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur has views you won’t believe.

and go on safari but couldn’t afford it, a trip to Salinas may be in order for a stay at Vision Quest Ranch Safari Bed & Breakfast, where lions roar and elephants play just yards from your tent-style bungalow. Of the more famous and unusual places to stay along the coast of Central California, where every room is different than the others, is the Madonna Inn in San Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 45


continued ... Luis Obispo. The Inn opened its doors in 1958, and was completed in 1968. Not much has changed since then — but that is also part of its charm and allure. “The Madonna Inn offers an old-world appeal that makes people feel like they’ve stepped into another era ... without feeling dated,” says Audrey Pearce, assistant marketing manager, and granddaughter of founders Alex and Phyllis Madonna. There is something almost magical about the place. It feels almost like a long-lost cousin of Disneyland. The fanciful, almost fairytale-like architecture of the public areas is wild. The Gold Rush Steak House restaurant is a dizzying yet dazzling array of pink and gold booths with gigantic flowers hanging from the ceiling. The Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge also has an over-the-top elegance from a bygone era. The Copper Café, with its army of “Swiss Miss”-clad waitresses, seems as if it was smuggled over from some idealized version of Switzerland. There is even a bakery onsite known for its lavish pink champagne cakes. Beyond all of that, not to be forgotten is the world-famous waterfall urinal in the men’s room downstairs. “The Inn is intentionally whimsical, and I think you either get us or you don’t,” Pearce says. Classy and classic or gaudy and garish? It’s all in the eye of the beholder, but it certainly must be experienced to be believed. There is also a hill-top pool, spa and pink tennis courts. But as flamboyant as the public areas are, the individual hotel rooms, all 110 of them, are overwhelming in their extravagant and lavish décor. “We have 17 rock shower rooms, 14 rooms with waterfalls, 10 rooms with balconies, and 15 rooms with fireplaces.” Pearce says. “Love Nest and Just Heaven both have spiral staircases that lead to stainedglass cupolas, which overlook the property. And that’s just for starters. Each room has its own name, such as Sugar & Spice, Safari, Pick & Shovel, Cabin Still, Yosemite Rock or Romance, that offers a hint of what is in store for the guest. In one room (Yahoo), the bed sits upon an old-fashioned horse cart. Another room (Caveman) AThe Madonna Inn’s Rock Bottom room is what it claims to has a distinctive “Flintstones” be. Rock floors, walls and ceilings surround guests. flair with its floor-to-ceiling cave-like atmosphere utilizing real rocks. Caveman proved to be so popular, other cave rooms (Rock Bottom and Daisy Mae) were added. These rooms and others feature waterfall showers. “Something that I think has been done very well in the rooms and on the property in general has been staying true to the whimsical, larger-than-life vision that Mr. and Mrs. Madonna had for the inn without compromising comfort, quality or cleanliness,” Pearce says. “I think guests like to be wowed by the creativity of each room, yet enjoy feeling like they are in a luxurious and comfortable accommodation.”

Southern California For many people, Southern California is the biggest tourist destination in the state. Aside from the desert and coastline, Southern California is the land of theme parks. Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland are but a few of the amusement parks that pull people to the region. Southern California has many other attractions as well, such as Hollywood, shopping on Rodeo Drive, a plethora of museums (The Getty Center, The Huntington Library, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, etc.) and the old California missions. Depending on what you are

46 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

AOnce a world-class ocean liner, the Queen Mary Hotel offers guests unique accommodations and a wide array of attractions that can’t be compared.

looking for, you can find it somewhere in Southern California. Finding interesting accommodations is a simple task as well. Maybe you’d like to try classicyet-funky trailers in the desert at the Hicksville Trailer Palace and Artist Retreat or Kate’s Lazy Desert Airstream Motel or a vintage Route 66-era teepee-shaped room at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino? You can do it. Maybe a night in a beautiful and allegedly haunted old hotel, such as the Hotel Del Coronado or a short stay on a yacht is more your thing? You can make it happen by visiting boatandbed.com to select your yacht and private dock in Long Beach. Possibly one of the most unique places to stay in the region is the R.M.S. Queen Mary in Long Beach. Once a stately ocean liner in the prestigious Cunard Line that first set sail in 1936, the Queen has a long history that includes a tenure as a troop ship during World War II. Since 1967, she has called Long Beach home. Today, she is a museum, event center, tourist attraction and a hotel. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like to take a luxurious sea voyage, a stay aboard the Queen Mary may be just the experience you are looking for. And there is no worry about sea sickness, icebergs or capsizing. No two staterooms or suites are the same, but all come with private baths. The ship also features amenities such as shops, restaurants, an incredible vintage bar, a spa and gymnasium. But there is so much more to do and explore as well. Commodore Everette Hoard was 4 years old when he first saw the Queen Mary in a set of encyclopedias his father got for him. He became obsessed with ships in general and the Cunard Queens, in particular. In the early 1980s, after visiting the ship for a week with his father, Hoard moved to Long Beach and took a job in a retail shop on board. He has been with the ship ever since. “My association with the ship has touched every part of my life over the last 35 years,” he says. “My job as Commodore in the Queen Mary is better than anything that I could have fathomed. I am grateful beyond words to those who saw my passion and have allowed it to thrive.” Hoard is passionate about the ship and really wants the best for the guests that visit: “I never take the Queen Mary or my position for granted.” Not content with having the Queen Mary just being a floating hotel, its operators have chosen to make it a destination. In addition to event areas for weddings or conferences, there is a 4-D theater, museums, tours and a slate of special events punctuated by the annual holiday celebration, Chill. Chill features a 38,000-square-foot Ice Adventure Park and a touching tribute to cultural traditions from around the world, which showcases a sampling of global foods, music and live entertainment that is an enchanting way to enjoy the holidays. But it is the history and the sense of the romance of another era that beckons most to the Queen. It’s the long corridors, polished-wood paneling, Art Deco style and other vintage 1930s artworks, operable portholes, the lore and mystique that make a stay aboard the Queen Mary seem as if you are being transported back to another bygone time, an age of luxury, elegance and impeccable service. “She’s a beauty, a jewel,” Hoard says, “and not to be missed.”CV

centralvalley.com

BEATRIZ BALL METALWARE

A Favorite Of Brides

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 47


continued ... Luis Obispo. The Inn opened its doors in 1958, and was completed in 1968. Not much has changed since then — but that is also part of its charm and allure. “The Madonna Inn offers an old-world appeal that makes people feel like they’ve stepped into another era ... without feeling dated,” says Audrey Pearce, assistant marketing manager, and granddaughter of founders Alex and Phyllis Madonna. There is something almost magical about the place. It feels almost like a long-lost cousin of Disneyland. The fanciful, almost fairytale-like architecture of the public areas is wild. The Gold Rush Steak House restaurant is a dizzying yet dazzling array of pink and gold booths with gigantic flowers hanging from the ceiling. The Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge also has an over-the-top elegance from a bygone era. The Copper Café, with its army of “Swiss Miss”-clad waitresses, seems as if it was smuggled over from some idealized version of Switzerland. There is even a bakery onsite known for its lavish pink champagne cakes. Beyond all of that, not to be forgotten is the world-famous waterfall urinal in the men’s room downstairs. “The Inn is intentionally whimsical, and I think you either get us or you don’t,” Pearce says. Classy and classic or gaudy and garish? It’s all in the eye of the beholder, but it certainly must be experienced to be believed. There is also a hill-top pool, spa and pink tennis courts. But as flamboyant as the public areas are, the individual hotel rooms, all 110 of them, are overwhelming in their extravagant and lavish décor. “We have 17 rock shower rooms, 14 rooms with waterfalls, 10 rooms with balconies, and 15 rooms with fireplaces.” Pearce says. “Love Nest and Just Heaven both have spiral staircases that lead to stainedglass cupolas, which overlook the property. And that’s just for starters. Each room has its own name, such as Sugar & Spice, Safari, Pick & Shovel, Cabin Still, Yosemite Rock or Romance, that offers a hint of what is in store for the guest. In one room (Yahoo), the bed sits upon an old-fashioned horse cart. Another room (Caveman) AThe Madonna Inn’s Rock Bottom room is what it claims to has a distinctive “Flintstones” be. Rock floors, walls and ceilings surround guests. flair with its floor-to-ceiling cave-like atmosphere utilizing real rocks. Caveman proved to be so popular, other cave rooms (Rock Bottom and Daisy Mae) were added. These rooms and others feature waterfall showers. “Something that I think has been done very well in the rooms and on the property in general has been staying true to the whimsical, larger-than-life vision that Mr. and Mrs. Madonna had for the inn without compromising comfort, quality or cleanliness,” Pearce says. “I think guests like to be wowed by the creativity of each room, yet enjoy feeling like they are in a luxurious and comfortable accommodation.”

Southern California For many people, Southern California is the biggest tourist destination in the state. Aside from the desert and coastline, Southern California is the land of theme parks. Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland are but a few of the amusement parks that pull people to the region. Southern California has many other attractions as well, such as Hollywood, shopping on Rodeo Drive, a plethora of museums (The Getty Center, The Huntington Library, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, etc.) and the old California missions. Depending on what you are

46 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

AOnce a world-class ocean liner, the Queen Mary Hotel offers guests unique accommodations and a wide array of attractions that can’t be compared.

looking for, you can find it somewhere in Southern California. Finding interesting accommodations is a simple task as well. Maybe you’d like to try classicyet-funky trailers in the desert at the Hicksville Trailer Palace and Artist Retreat or Kate’s Lazy Desert Airstream Motel or a vintage Route 66-era teepee-shaped room at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino? You can do it. Maybe a night in a beautiful and allegedly haunted old hotel, such as the Hotel Del Coronado or a short stay on a yacht is more your thing? You can make it happen by visiting boatandbed.com to select your yacht and private dock in Long Beach. Possibly one of the most unique places to stay in the region is the R.M.S. Queen Mary in Long Beach. Once a stately ocean liner in the prestigious Cunard Line that first set sail in 1936, the Queen has a long history that includes a tenure as a troop ship during World War II. Since 1967, she has called Long Beach home. Today, she is a museum, event center, tourist attraction and a hotel. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like to take a luxurious sea voyage, a stay aboard the Queen Mary may be just the experience you are looking for. And there is no worry about sea sickness, icebergs or capsizing. No two staterooms or suites are the same, but all come with private baths. The ship also features amenities such as shops, restaurants, an incredible vintage bar, a spa and gymnasium. But there is so much more to do and explore as well. Commodore Everette Hoard was 4 years old when he first saw the Queen Mary in a set of encyclopedias his father got for him. He became obsessed with ships in general and the Cunard Queens, in particular. In the early 1980s, after visiting the ship for a week with his father, Hoard moved to Long Beach and took a job in a retail shop on board. He has been with the ship ever since. “My association with the ship has touched every part of my life over the last 35 years,” he says. “My job as Commodore in the Queen Mary is better than anything that I could have fathomed. I am grateful beyond words to those who saw my passion and have allowed it to thrive.” Hoard is passionate about the ship and really wants the best for the guests that visit: “I never take the Queen Mary or my position for granted.” Not content with having the Queen Mary just being a floating hotel, its operators have chosen to make it a destination. In addition to event areas for weddings or conferences, there is a 4-D theater, museums, tours and a slate of special events punctuated by the annual holiday celebration, Chill. Chill features a 38,000-square-foot Ice Adventure Park and a touching tribute to cultural traditions from around the world, which showcases a sampling of global foods, music and live entertainment that is an enchanting way to enjoy the holidays. But it is the history and the sense of the romance of another era that beckons most to the Queen. It’s the long corridors, polished-wood paneling, Art Deco style and other vintage 1930s artworks, operable portholes, the lore and mystique that make a stay aboard the Queen Mary seem as if you are being transported back to another bygone time, an age of luxury, elegance and impeccable service. “She’s a beauty, a jewel,” Hoard says, “and not to be missed.”CV

centralvalley.com

BEATRIZ BALL METALWARE

A Favorite Of Brides

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 47


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OutAndAbout

1

The Cat House on the Kings Autumn Open House Fundraiser

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1 Lynea Lattanzio, Temperance and Walee Anulao, and Amee Yescas 2 Robert and Austin Kern 3 Sarah and Adam Trevarrow 4 Cody and Shelby Turner PHOTOGRAPHY: Carey Norton

The 50th anniversary of the Ani Guild The Ani Guild has raised more than $2 million for the California Armenian Home since being founded in 1967. The 50th anniversary of the Ani Guild was honored with a celebration on Nov. 18 at Sunnyside Country Club in southeast Fresno.

On Nov. 4, people gathered around hundreds of felines for a fundraiser benefiting The Cat House on the Kings in Parlier. The no-cage, no-kill cat sanctuary and adoption center has saved thousands of felines — and dogs! — since being founded by Lynea Lattanzio in the early 1990s.

5

1 Jane Baxter, Madeline Arakelian, Dian Karabian and Adeline Arakelian 2 Toni Poochigian, Stefani Booroojian, Suzanne Yengoyan 3 Sevan Balabanian, Donna Robinson, Roseann Saliba, Carol Karabian 4 Hasmig Aaronian, Arminee Shishmanian 5 Sandy Papazian, Jennifer Torosian Ramirez, Rosanna Torosian PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison

1

2 4

Veterans Day Parade 2017 Veterans Day is an official public holiday that honors and remembers the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. On Nov. 11, the streets of downtown Fresno were bustling with people who gathered to watch the Veterans Day Parade — the largest of its kind on the West Coast.

1

3

2

“I P I W K M L O A H” • •

emotions

1 Bob McLaughlin and Debbie McLaughlin 2 Valerie Salcedo, Cruz Cuellar and Dan Payne 3 Mary David and Austin David 4 Joseph Watanabe and Perseus 5 Keira Garcia and Robert Garcia PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Drake

5 Real Estate With Distinction

locating your loved one from e? This is completely normal ing the complexities involved for ing a move.

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ur loved one

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individual al level. Deb Tillis. Elise Souza. Kristie Spencer. Cathy Freeman

Cathy Freeman, Broker / Owner, GRI BRE # 01724853

Call today (559) 412-2299 • 1425 East Nees Avenue • Fresno, CA • cedarbrookfresno.com 48 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 49


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OutAndAbout

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The Cat House on the Kings Autumn Open House Fundraiser

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1 Lynea Lattanzio, Temperance and Walee Anulao, and Amee Yescas 2 Robert and Austin Kern 3 Sarah and Adam Trevarrow 4 Cody and Shelby Turner PHOTOGRAPHY: Carey Norton

The 50th anniversary of the Ani Guild The Ani Guild has raised more than $2 million for the California Armenian Home since being founded in 1967. The 50th anniversary of the Ani Guild was honored with a celebration on Nov. 18 at Sunnyside Country Club in southeast Fresno.

On Nov. 4, people gathered around hundreds of felines for a fundraiser benefiting The Cat House on the Kings in Parlier. The no-cage, no-kill cat sanctuary and adoption center has saved thousands of felines — and dogs! — since being founded by Lynea Lattanzio in the early 1990s.

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1 Jane Baxter, Madeline Arakelian, Dian Karabian and Adeline Arakelian 2 Toni Poochigian, Stefani Booroojian, Suzanne Yengoyan 3 Sevan Balabanian, Donna Robinson, Roseann Saliba, Carol Karabian 4 Hasmig Aaronian, Arminee Shishmanian 5 Sandy Papazian, Jennifer Torosian Ramirez, Rosanna Torosian PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison

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Veterans Day Parade 2017 Veterans Day is an official public holiday that honors and remembers the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. On Nov. 11, the streets of downtown Fresno were bustling with people who gathered to watch the Veterans Day Parade — the largest of its kind on the West Coast.

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“I P I W K M L O A H” • •

emotions

1 Bob McLaughlin and Debbie McLaughlin 2 Valerie Salcedo, Cruz Cuellar and Dan Payne 3 Mary David and Austin David 4 Joseph Watanabe and Perseus 5 Keira Garcia and Robert Garcia PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Drake

5 Real Estate With Distinction

locating your loved one from e? This is completely normal ing the complexities involved for ing a move.

The first choice for your real estate needs. With over 20 years combined experience, our top producing team offers... Superior Marketing, Negotiating and Service

tire family.

www.cfcorealty.com 559-389-5896

ur loved one

34

individual al level. Deb Tillis. Elise Souza. Kristie Spencer. Cathy Freeman

Cathy Freeman, Broker / Owner, GRI BRE # 01724853

Call today (559) 412-2299 • 1425 East Nees Avenue • Fresno, CA • cedarbrookfresno.com 48 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

centralvalley.com

c entralvalley.com

Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 49


.................

OutAndAbout

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One Enchanted Evening The holiday season officially launched on Nov. 16 in Old Town Clovis. Presented by the Business Organization of Old Town, the old-fashioned holiday open house featured carolers to lift your spirits, horse-drawn carriage rides and a visit from Santa Claus.

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1 Clark Sotto Voce Choir, Tammy Spurgen and Clovis Mayor Bob Whalen 2 Nathan Magsig and Vong, Atticus, Josiah, Kiera and Jane Mouanoutoua 3 Ragan and Logan Schaffert with Santa 4 Matthew and Sullivan Smith 5 Marcos and Aida Flores 6 Irma, Samantha and Darden Roche 7 Amy Winter, Jenna Gonzalez 8 Anthony Querrero and Gene Shimizu PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Drake

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Happy New Year from Beautiwood Real Wood Furniture FINISHED YOUR WAY. 7183 N Abby Street - Fresno, CA 93650

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50 JANUARY 2018 | Central Valley Magazine

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National Philanthropy Day Luncheon

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On Nov. 9, Pardini’s Catering and Banquets hosted the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon. The California Valley-based chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored several individuals and organizations for their dedication and contributions to the world. The keynote speaker was Betsy Chapin Taylor, an award-winning author and consultant on healthcare philanthropy

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1 Teri Amerine And Warren Armstrong 2 Genelle Taylor-Krumpe, Kelly Lilles and Julie Tymn 3 Mitzie Scelzi, Luann Laval Williams and Bob Williams 4 Kathleen Price and Trisha Cooper 5 Bob Price, Lowell Ens and Don Eskes 6 Ellen Knapp and Alene Istanboulian 7 Haley Gonzalez and Elizabeth Lopez 8 Adam Van Dusen, Katie Galinski, Molly Marquez, Shannon Slava-Lombre, Elizabeth Hermann and Sue Fox 9 Lauren Butler, Patricia Popescu and Tina Baker

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Central Valley Magazine | JANUARY 2018 51


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