Living Here 2017

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Good news for anyone who can’t stand waiting

When you’re injured or ill, a month can seem like an eternity to wait for an appointment. Fortunately, we offer same- or next-day appointments, extended hours and a range of services to address your needs. Need a physical? We’ll get you one within the week. It’s primary care on your schedule – available right here in Fresno and Clovis. Call (559) 450-7267 to schedule an appointment with a physician at one of our Saint Agnes Care sites.

Saint Agnes Care locations to meet your primary care needs: Internal Medicine Associates 1379 E. Herndon Ave., Fresno 93720 LQMG 1221 E. Spruce Ave., Fresno 93720 Northwest 4770 W. Herndon Ave., Fresno 93722 Avecinia 2006 Shaw Ave., Clovis 93611

For more information, visit Medical care has never been more convenient.

Saint Agnes Urgent Care (559) 450-CARE (2273) Northwest 4770 W. Herndon Ave., Fresno 93722 Main Campus 1245 E. Herndon Ave., Fresno 93720 Most insurance plans accepted

Saint Agnes Care


And for those unexpected illnesses and accidents that happen after-hours and on weekends, we offer urgent care at two convenient locations.

The Central Valley is filled with the best people and places we know. Join us as we celebrate Living Here.

63 reasons we love the Central Valley


The basics


11 14 22 27 32 42 44

It is great for families

We have an ideal location in the center of California and a reasonable cost-of-living.

It feeds our soul The Central Valley is filled with some of the best flavors around. And we love tacos.

It quenches our thirst


51 54

We have abundant museums and play places and a great hospital for the smallest of us.

It is ripe with activity There is always, always something to do. The only problem: deciding what to do first.

We have a growing craft beer community and wine trails that entertain and satisfy.

It is the breadbasket Simply said, we feed the world. And we love our farmers and the fresh food they provide.


It is filled with creativity

Family owned for over 35 years. Let our expertise help make your next trip an easy and hassle free experience

Take a class, learn from an expert or just see unbelievable art on display.

It is very entertaining 0003165030-01

Visit for a com p le te l i s t of m ont h l y g et a ways an d de t a i l s

We love our national parks. And there’s always something new to see and explore.

From the very best big-name entertainment to small, intimate shows, we have it all.

Carey Norton Editor

Janessa Tyler Dani Villalobos

Monica Stevens Assistant Editor

Designer Carey Norton

Staff Writers Farin Montañez

Cover design Juan Vega

John Slater and Pam Gallemore enjoy music, food trucks and good company at Fresno’s Gazebo Gardens. PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Kazanjian

4 2017 | Living Here

Living Here is written and produced by the Custom Publications department of The Fresno Bee.

Contributors Matt Drake Tricia Savelli Gary Kazanjian Fresno Bee photography archives

MORE THAN A HOME… As a third generation local family homebuilder, we understand that “home” matters. It’s a new beginning for you and your family filled with new memories to create, new moments you’ll never forget and new dreams that you’ll reach for. That’s why we invite you to discover what makes our homes so special.



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All square footages stated are approximate. Actual square footage will vary. Pictured homes are models with some features, furnishings and landscaping not included in the purchase price. Included features vary throughout the models and are subject to change without notice. Information about community association facilities and assessments is available in the Sales Office. Homes, prices, financing, incentives and included features are effective date of publication deadline and subject to prior sale, change or cancellation without notice. The McCaffrey Group, Inc. dba McCaffrey Homes. Offered by McCaffrey Home Realty, Inc., CA Real Estate Broker #01222049.




ome is more than just the place I rest my head at night. Home is the Central Valley. And there are things about it I truly adore and know aren’t found just anywhere. In between my high school and college years, I spent a summer in Scandinavia. I remember clearly how excited my host family was to show me the Swedish way of life. They celebrated my arrival by hosting a fika, a gathering of sweets and treats and coffee to welcome me to my temporary home. The pastries and coffee were to die for, but, honestly, I remember thinking, how could they really call this fruit? The watermelon was the size of a softball and the peaches were tiny mealy things. They were so excited to serve these delicacies next to the Swedish treats, but all I could think about was that apparently I was a long way from home. And it dawned on me that somewhere along the way, I had become a Central Valley fruit snob. I consider it a side effect of being born and raised in the breadbasket of the world. The fruit right here can’t be matched elsewhere. (Scandinavians, at that point, had a step up on us Americans when it came to coffee, but that


6 2017 | Living Here

was before Kuppa Joy Coffee House came to Clovis.) The fruit is just one of the reasons I love the Central Valley. I love its agricultural roots. I love the fact you can go to a farm stand and buy the nation’s best produce right here, and I also love that in certain seasons, you can count on co-workers and friends to share the bounty of their backyard gardens. I also love that we are taco obsessed (see page 14) and that we think tasting unique dishes shouldn’t be limited to just inside the walls of restaurants (page 17). I love that we have festivals for everything from flowers to spiders (really!) and we have the best zoo around and we don’t let the fact that there’s not an ocean in town limit us — we surf anyway. (On the internet and on surf boards ... check out page 56 and page 62.) Inside this magazine are more of the reasons why the Central Valley is so lovable. Our four-county area of Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties has so much to offer. If you live here, read on and explore the places you may not have previously known. If you’re a visitor, well, you’re in for a treat. But be forewarned, the Central Valley has a habit of weaving its way into your heart and never letting you leave. Welcome home.

Experience & Knowledge When seeking treatment for your vein problems, you need the comfort of knowing that your doctor is fully trained and has been Board Certified in Phlebology (the diagnosis and management of varicose veins and other vein problems). Elmore Medical was the first, and is still the only medical practice in the Central Valley specializing exclusively in Vein Disease. When it comes to your health, you deserve the most current and skilled care available.

Treatments • • • • • • •

Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) Treatment of Leg Spider Veins Duplex Ultrasound Imaging (in office) Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy Treatment of Spider Veins on Face & Body Vein Treatment on Hands and Feet Ambulatory Phlebectomy Before

Before After


Varicose Veins

Spider Veins

Your Best Health

Skin Changes


Elmore Medical 7131 N. 11th Street, Suite 101 Fresno, CA 93720 559.435.0717 • Se Habla Español


Mario H. Gonzalez, M.D., FACS, is Board Certified in Venous Lymphatic Medicine, dealing in vein disease. He has been in medical practice as a Board Certified General Surgeon since 1989. Dr. Gonzalez is also bilingual.

When it comes to your health care, you need the very best. We understand how important it is to have healthy, active legs. We know having attractive legs may also be an important part of your lifestyle. We have created a unique facility, not only dedicated to the care and treatment of patients with painful, unsightly spider veins and bulging varicose veins, but also skin problems associated with vein disease. You may be unaware that breakdown of the skin, which causes swelling, discoloration and even ulcers, can be associated with vein disease.

The myth of the Central Valley BY: Tricia Savelli | PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Kazanjian


Roberto Jr. and Roberto Valdes share some ice cream at Gazebo Gardens in Fresno.

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onight, the band at the garden-center turned foodtruck-event is playing an Irish jig to a sprawling, eclectic crowd that has overtaken the benches and picnic tables. I’m drinking a local beer and eating a chicken and kimchi burrito, and even though it’s dark, it’s still 80 degrees. Earlier today, my street had its annual block sale, and I’d weaved through the solid mass of bargain hunters with my dog, passing the shaved ice and churro stands nestled between collectible porcelain rabbit figurines and oversized entertainment centers. “You’re moving where?!” I was asked, over and over, by countless well-meaning friends and family members when I decided to move from the Bay Area to Fresno, three years ago, for graduate school. And the truth is, I had my own reservations about moving. The heat, for one. The crime rate. The idea that the Central Valley would be somehow less metropolitan, less refined, like some sort of stereotypical hillbilly town had been enclosed in the center of California, where the air was thick with pesticides and the neighborhoods overrun with gangs. What I found, in fact, was far from that. OK, yes, the heat. You get used to it. But it’s time to dispel the Central Valley myth, once and for all. I found Fresno to be more artistic, more community-oriented, more welcoming and exciting than I could’ve anticipated. Nearby communities mirror that spirit. Visalia? Hanford? These small towns have big things going on. Sure, the Bay Area has

its perks, if you can afford to live there, but so does the Central Valley. It’s high time to reexamine those stereotypes. The Fresno of the 1990s has grown up. Downtown is being revitalized, there are monthly art events, Fresno State is an active and blossoming university and Fresno is full of community-minded people who put on events and support one another. If you still think the Central Valley is just farmland or that Fresno is just on the way to Yosemite, it’s time to update your information. It was nearly three years ago at Gazebo Gardens’ food truck night that I first realized Fresno had something special. Sure, I’ve been to plenty of other food truck events, but Gazebo has this mix of people that San Francisco just can’t match — it’s not any one crowd. Kids play hide-and-seek between the rose bushes, dogs pull their owners around looking for wayward french fries, first dates perch cautiously on picnic tables and the live band bleats on across it all. You’ll see your landlord and your old friend and the local barista. It’s not a foodie fest or a beer garden or ironic; it’s quintessentially Fresno. In addition to the general disbelief of friends and family when this true-blue Bay Area girl decided to move, once I got here, there were plenty of other negative ideas about the Central Valley. Most pervasive of these was that the Central Valley simply had nothing to do beyond the strip malls that pepper the landscape. Of course, again, this isn’t true. Between all the music and film festivals, community bike rides, pub crawls, artistic events, local attractions, marathons, rivers to fish or kayak, and the fact that in two hours you can be at the coast or up a snow-capped mountain, the Central Valley

is chock full of things to do and people who want to do it. Besides, it’s far too culturally diverse here to ever have a weekend without some sort of cultural festival going on. Why do we buy into this myth? Even those Central Valley folks who’ve lived here their whole lives seem apologetic about their towns at times. We anticipate your stereotypes, and rather

than dispel them, we acknowledge them. I asked a friend about this once, my graduate school professor who moved to Fresno 10 years ago from the Midwest, Please see next page

Above: Luis and Luna Barraza have fun at the Gazebo Gardens taco truck event. Left: Sunnie and Kim Davino enjoy live music at a Gazebo Gardens Friday night event. Find event information at

Living Here | 2017 9


Experience the Arts at IOT AN ID C I R E AM


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For a complete schedule of events, please visit us online at: State Center Community College District

10 2017 | Living Here

continued ...

and he gave me the answer I was looking for. “Fresno has a huge inferiority complex, but it’s great for the arts.” And he’s right, art becomes infinitely more important when it’s not expected, when it lifts communities, represents minority voices and documents communities that have been historically overlooked. And unlike San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York, which have traditionally been havens for the arty set, with the median rent of $900 in Fresno, artists can actually afford to live in the Central Valley. The outgoing U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, is a Fowler native and former Fresno State professor, and while 2011 U.S. Poet Laureate Phil Levine, another prolific Fresno poet and professor, wasn’t born here, Fresno has claimed him as our own. Not to mention the countless other writers, poets, artists, musicians, dancers, singers and the like from the Central Valley that represent the kind of diversity that can’t be matched. What I’ve found in the Central Valley is, despite those stereotypes, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re outdoorsy, artistic, religious or enjoy the finer things; whether you work in advertising or farming or health care, like local breweries or Central Valley wine, are Armenian or Hmong or Chicanx — there’s a unique experience and a welcoming community waiting for you here. After I finished my graduate program, I decided to move back to the Bay Area to save some money by moving back in with my parents until I found a job. At a poetry reading last month at Fresno State, I milled around the appetizers and started to feel the pull of the Central Valley. What if I can’t find this again? I’ll miss the way the Central Valley celebrates culture and difference and how it has become home. A friend’s 3-month-old baby lets me cup his soft feet, and she tells me that Fresno has a way of pulling you back in. It’s another piece of the Central Valley mythology that I’ve heard before — that nobody seems to be able to leave. My chiropractor, another quintessential Fresnan who gives out books and hugs along with her adjustment services, moved here to have kids 50 years ago and, even though she’s moved away nine times, has never found it in her to really leave. But tonight, at Gazebo Gardens, I’m not thinking about the future too much. I run into a classmate and his wife, another poet, grabbing dinner from the food trucks. My dog crawls under a stranger’s chair in search of leftovers and gets stuck; the stranger laughs and scratches him behind his ears. My parents, in town to help me move, are trying to figure out if they have room in the truck to buy a garden fountain. The Amtrak rushes past us, windows glowing yellow in the dark as they flick past, the train announces its presence with a deep rumble that shakes the tables and chairs. And I wonder if that last myth will prove to be true, if the Central Valley has tied its rough twine around my heart, ready to keep pulling me back into its orchards and foothills and that steady, beating, heat.=

63 Central Valley reasons we love the

We love the Central Valley because of its ...



Ask any Realtor and they’re going to tell you three words sell a house: location, location, location. And if that’s the case for homes, the same applies to us, as a whole, in the Central Valley. Let’s look at the facts. We are in the heart of California. Fresno is 3 hours and 47 minutes away from LAX. If you prefer to see the view from the iconic Hollywood sign, your drive will take you 4 hours and 12 minutes. That’s 250 miles, with some LA traffic thrown in. If you’re more of bridge lover, you can get to the Golden Gate in San Francisco in 3 hours and 43 minutes. If you take Interstate 580, it will take you a few minutes longer, 3 hours and 47 minutes, the exact same time as Google estimates it will take us to get to LAX, so let’s go with that. I like the math. If you like the beach, you can get to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row in less than 3 hours, especially if you don’t stop at Starbucks along the way.

If you have a craving for Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach, you can be there in 2 hours and 32 minutes. Get the seafood topping. It is divine. If mountains are more your thing, head to Yosemite. From Fresno, it will take you 2 hours and 10 minutes, if there’s no line for cars. Here’s a tip: Take the YARTS bus and bypass the line or plan ahead and make a parking reservation. Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America and parking spots are at a premium. If you want to see the big trees, Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove is closed until fall, but you can say hello to the General Grant in Kings Canyon National Park in a little more than an hour. The General Sherman will take you a bit longer to drive to from Fresno, at nearly 2 hours, but then again, the tree is the largest known living single-stem tree on Earth, so it is worth the drive, even if you only have an afternoon to spare.

Living Here | 2017 11

We love the Central Valley because...

You can’t beat the price


By now, we’ve established that one of the key selling points of the Central Valley is location, but that only paints part of a picture. If you step back and look at the whole canvas, you’re going to see a lot of green. Compared to the rest of the state, the Central Valley is a bargain. Let’s look at the numbers. Fresno’s cost of living is 15.5 percent less than the California average, but it is 10.8 percent greater than the national average. According to, a website that looks at cost of living figures, in July, a casual meal in Fresno would have cost you $15. That same meal in Sacramento would have cost you $1 more. If you washed it down with a Coke, it would have cost you $1.74 here. In our state capital, it would have cost you an average of $1.96. Not much difference here, but even a little bit adds up after time. Rent prices in Fresno also have Sacramento beat. They’re 26.35 percent lower here. That’s great, but check out Los Angeles. Rent there is 114.45 percent higher than in Fresno. (That’s still better than New York City, which comes in at a whopping 217.15 percent higher. Go, California!) In LA, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $1,963.43. Here, a similar apartment will run you $877.78 a month. And the kicker is the average monthly salary in LA is only 22.17 percent higher than in Fresno, or $3,991.44 in LA versus $3,267.00 in Fresno, after tax. If all these numbers have you reaching for a beer to take the edge off, be happy. If you’re reading this in the Central Valley, that domestic beer probably cost you $3. In LA, it’ll cost $5.

12 2017 | Living Here

We love the Central Valley because it is a...

Multicultural melting pot


The wide diversity of people and cultures is to be celebrated in the Valley. If you live here with an open mind and an open heart, you can be immersed in a rich world experience by sharing in the gifts of story, of culture, of religion and of ethnicity. We have a thing for festivals that teach us about other cultures, from Fresno’s annual Greek Fest, Armenian Festival, Shinzen Garden Cultural Fair and Highland Gathering and Games to Kingsburg’s Swedish Festival to the Interfaith/Intercultural Festival in Madera. Oh, and Fresno’s Hmong New Year Celebration is the largest of its kind in the entire country. We indulge in the music and dance of other cultures with the annual Celtic Concert, Arte Americas Nights in the Plaza and the Hot Raqs Belly Dance Competition and Festival in Clovis. The LGBTQ+ community welcomes allies to Fresno’s Reel Pride Film Festival, celebrating its 28th year. And the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno will hold its 6th Annual Bazaar in October. And don’t even get us started on the food. We get the best of cultural cuisines at authentic restaurants all over the four-county area. If you want your taste buds to be transported to a different country, visit any one of the Armenian, Chinese, Ethiopian, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Thai or Vietnamese restaurants we have to offer.

A lot of really cool people are ...


Jennifer Alcorn Retired professional undefeated world-champion boxer, Fresno Ross Bagdasarian/David Seville Fresno-born creator of “The Chipmunks” Tommy Bond Child actor known for role as Butch on the “Little Rascals,” Madera Ranchos Gregory “Pappy” Boyington War hero, inspiration for the TV series “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” Fresno David and Derek CarrS Brothers who were Fresno State quarterbacks. Derek plays for the Oakland Raiders.

Photo: Michael Karibian

César Chavez Mexican-American labor activist and leader of the United Farm Workers DChris Colfer Actor, author and Clovis East graduate known for his role as Kurt Hummel on “Glee” Mike Connors Actor best known for playing detective Joe Mannix in “Mannix,” Fresno Photo: Jordan Dick Contino Strauss/Invision/AP Billed as the world’s best accordion player, appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” a record 48 times, Fresno Kevin Costner Actor, director and producer who once attended Visalia’s Mt. Whitney High School Sid and Jenny Craig Sid is a graduate of Fresno State. Together they are founders of the Jenny Craig weight loss system Ken Curtis Clovis actor best known for his role as Festus on “Gunsmoke”

Trent Dilfer Former Fresno State and NFL quarterback, Monday Night Football commentator Henry Ellard Former player for the LA Rams, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots, attended Hoover High School in Fresno Fashawn Hip-hop recording artist from Fresno, born Santiago Leyva Tom Flores Former NFL quarterback, coach and general manager, Sanger Christopher Gorham F Fresno-born actor known for his role as Auggie Anderson in “Covert Affairs.” Sid Haig Cult film hero and star in countless horror movies, Fresno Rafer Johnson Photo: Frank 1960 Olympic gold Ockenfels/USA Network medalist and actor, from Kingsburg. Instrumental in creating the California Special Olympics Charles Thomas Johnston Musician and Visalia native and founding member of The Doobie Brothers Avi Kaplan Musician, Visalia native and former member of Pentatonix, an American a cappella group that won the third season of “The Sing-Off.” Joanna Kerns Actor and one-time student at Fresno’s McLane High School, known for her role as Maggie Seaver on “Growing Pains” Richard Keil Actor best known for his role as Jaws in James Bond movies, Fresno Emily Kuroda Fresno-born actress best known for her role as Mrs. Kim on “Gilmore Girls” Steven Anthony Lawrence Fresno-born actor best known for his recurring role as Bernard “Beans” Aranguren on “Even Stevens” Philip Levine Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, 30-year teacher at Fresno State and first national poet laureate from the Valley

Bob Mathias Decathlete, two-time Olympic gold medalist, Marine Corps officer, actor and Congressman from Tulare Audra McDonald Celebrated singer, actor and six-time Tony-award winner, first performer to win Tonys in all four acting categories, from Fresno Ralph Moore Visalia-born horticulturist who introduced more than 500 new miniature rose breeds Lorenzo Neal A three-time Pro Bowl fullback in the NFL, born in Hanford Sam Peckinpah Fresno-born film director and screenwriter known for innovative, yet explicit depiction of action and violence. His nickname was “Bloody Sam.” Karen Pendleton Original member of the “Mickey Mouse Club,” Fresno Steve PerryF Lead singer for Journey from the 1970s to the 1990s. He was born in Hanford, grew up in Lemoore and attended Visalia’s College of the Sequoias. Slim Pickens Kingsburg-born actor Photo: Associated famous for his role as the Press bomb-riding cowboy in “Dr. Strangelove” Burt Rutan Dinuba-area aerospace engineer who won the Ansari X prize for space flight William Saroyan Fresno’s most famous son and Pulitizer Prize-winning author Juan Serrano World-famous flamenco guitarist who developed and headed the guitar program at Fresno State until his retirement. Matt Shively Hanford-born actor best known for playing Jimmy O’Neal on “The Real O’Neals” Tommy Smith As the 1968 Olympic gold medalist, he and fellow medalist John Carlos raised their fists to show solidarity with people fighting internationally for human rights, a moment now referred to as the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute. Billy Vukovich Fresno-born two-time Indy 500 winner Pamela Wallace Exeter-born Academy Award-winning author of “Witness” Ickey Woods Fresno-born football fullback who played his entire NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals. He is best remembered for his lumbering “Ickey Shuffle” end-zone dance, performed when he scored touchdowns.

Living Here | 2017 13

AFatima Cruz eats a taco at the Fresno Taco Festival. The fervor for tacos has grown astronomically in recent years, becoming the darling of the culinary world, and Fresno has served as ground zero for this worldwide phenomenon. To celebrate the elevated status of everyone’s favorite folded food, the third annual Central Valley Taco Festival took place on June 4 in Eaton Plaza. Vendors from all over the region served up their best, battling for the title Central Valley’s Best Taco.

14 2017 | Living Here

We’re a little — OK, A LOT — obsessed with tacos around these parts

Taco Town BY: Farin Montañez | PHOTOGRAPHY: Tomas Ovalle, Bee archives


Fresno is the taco capital of the United States. There, I said it. If you want to argue against that, you’ll have to go up against our local taco-touting army that’s thousands strong. It just makes sense. Fresno is home to the Taco Truck Throwdown, where 35,000 tacos — yes, 35 thousand — were sold last year in one day. It’s also home to the annual Central Valley Taco Festival and the monthly Tacos, Brews & Jams series that brings a couple of taco trucks together at Tioga-Sequoia Brewery in downtown Fresno. And — perhaps the most convincing argument — our minor league baseball team, the Fresno

Grizzlies, play as the Fresno Tacos on (you guessed it) Taco Tuesdays. Oh yeah, and the Fresno Tacos/Grizzlies also bought the taco emoji that you use on your smartphone. (Yes, sponsoring emojis is a thing.) How did Fresno rise to fame as the taco town in the first place? The impetus may have come with the launch of the Taco Truck Throwdown in 2011. Journalist Mike Oz and Fresno Grizzlies marketing director Sam Hansen came up with the idea based on rivalries they noticed around town. “Going to Fresno State, I noticed there’d be kids in class from Madera arguing with kids from Kingsburg about who had the better taco trucks,” Hansen says. Oz and Hansen came up with a way to find out

which taco trucks really do make the best tacos. The Taco Truck Throwdown during a Grizzlies game at Chukchansi Park was born, with seven trucks competing in the inaugural event. Attendees voted with their purchases for the people’s choice award, and a panel of judges performed a taste test for the judges’ pick. In the end, Fresno’s La Elegante swept the title, winning both categories. The event has grown each year, drawing thousands of people from all over the state, Oz says. “The goal is to create the idea that Fresno is the destination for tacos,” Oz says. “We want people to come from Kerman and Selma and Reedley or Oakland, LA, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, and spend the weekend here and eat from 30 different taco trucks. We want them to see that Fresno does tacos really well.” Fresno certainly does them differently, says Helen Chavez-Hansen, president of La Tapatia Tortilleria in Fresno. We’re yellow corn tortilla enthusiasts here, she says, while white corn tortillas reign supreme north of Merced and south of Delano. Sales of La Tapatia’s yellow cooked corn tortil-

las — the small 4½-inch and 5¼-inch size — have skyrocketed on the food service side, ChavezHansen says, so the company schedules their production so that food trucks can pick them up while they’re still hot and fresh. “They like that particular tortilla because it’s hearty and it doesn’t dissolve,” she explains. “If you put wet food in it, it will not fall apart. Many, many, many food trucks come here and pick it up for that reason. It’s fresh. It’s hours old. … It’s a nice niche for us.” Chavez-Hansen and La Tapatia’s social media marketing coordinator Yvette Cuellar have also seen a boom in restaurants and food trucks serving multicultural and gourmet tacos. “I would say five or six years ago we started realizing that tacos were starting to change,” Cuellar says, mentioning that may have been around the time #TacoTuesday went viral. “People weren’t using the normal ingredients. They were starting to come up with a twist on what a traditional taco was.” The taco transcends ethnic barriers, ChavezHansen adds. “There’s no boundaries on the taco,” she says. “It’s a phenomenon — there’s no doubt about it. It’s touched everyone. Tacos are an easy, fun way to feed a lot of people.” Call him a traditionalist, but Hansen thinks the key to the Taco Truck Throwdown’s triumph is its focus on the classic Central Valley, side-of-theroad taco truck. “Taco trucks are something so quintessentially Central California,” Hansen says. “I think why Taco Truck Throwdown has been such a successful event is we didn’t try to make it a hipster gourmet foodie roundup; we feature just good old-fashioned lunch-hour trucks.” The throwdown became such a huge event that it sold out in 2014 and people sold their tickets

ALuis Calderon eats a carne asada taco from Tacos El Jaliscience during the June 4 Central Valley Taco Festival in downtown Fresno.

Living Here | 2017 15

We love the Central Valley because of its growing food-truck trend

Taco trucks on every corner


A Crowds gather at the Taco Truck Throwdown 5 before the Grizzlies game against the Sacramento River Cats at Chukchansi Park in 2015. F Katie Perez and Isabel Aldana pose with a taco mascot at the Central Valley Taco Festival. FF Carne Asada tacos from El Taco Grande battled for the title Central Valley’s Best Taco at the Central Valley Taco Festival.

for double the price, Oz says. “It was that big of a deal.” And it only escalated from there. During the fifth Taco Truck Throwdown, Oz and Hansen started kicking around the idea that Fresno just might be the taco capital of the United States — and they needed a way to spread that news past the California border. A Fresno Tacos uniform was designed, and “we announced that we were going to change our name and play as the Fresno Tacos for the day,” Hansen says. The feedback? “It exploded,” Hansen says. “Every team in Minor League Baseball has done some form of alter ego now, and in Fresno we play as the Tacos every Tuesday.” The Grizzlies’ alter ego got national attention on SportsCenter in 2015 and boosted the minor league team’s merchandise sales nationwide, Oz says. “When the Grizzlies decided to play as the Fresno Tacos, it went from ‘we really like tacos’ to ‘this is going to be the rallying call for our community,’ ” Oz says. “That, to me, was when I thought, ‘this is something bigger than Taco

Truck Throwdown.’ ” This year’s Taco Truck Throwdown 7 might have catapulted Fresno into the worldwide taco spotlight. After 32 taco trucks competed last year, selling 35,000 tacos, organizers were prompted to turn the throwdown into a two-day event — and invite Major League Eating contenders to The Fresno Tacos World Taco-Eating Championship. At press time, the MLE was set to bring its top talent to the July 29 event, offering a prize purse of $4,000. When he’s not organizing Taco Truck Throwdown, Oz focuses on Tacos, Brews & Jams — a series he started in partnership with Tioga Sequoia Brewing Co. in January 2016 as an extension of the throwdown. The monthly event offers a small sampling of taco trucks, craft beer from Tioga Sequoia and live music from local bands. Through the series, Oz gets to build a relationship with taco truck owners and gauge the reaction from attendees to figure out which ones might attend the Taco Truck Throwdown in the summer. “People are hungrier for more than one big old taco party once a year,” he says. Yes. Yes, we are.

Taco trucks on every corner? Yes, please! Food trucks are a big thing in the Valley, and they offer way more than just tacos. Cuisines offered on wheels are incredibly diverse here, with many menus rivaling — or topping — those offered at typical restaurants. LoCAvoria 559: Flat Bottom Grills serves Sanger and the surrounding area, offering delicious, locally sourced ingredients on toasty flatbreads like tortillas, pitas, naan and focaccia. We can’t decide what we like better — the names of the food or the food itself. Another Bun Bites The Dust is a juicy burger with all the fixings on a toasted pita and homemade aioli, while Armenian Wrapsody is a pita stuffed with marinated chicken, olive hummus, feta cheese, curry yoghurt sauce and microgreens. LoCAvoria 559 makes its rounds, but you can find where the bright green truck will stop next by visiting The Chicken Shack is a Hanford gem, known for its AMiguel and Mikayla Reyes show chicken wings and three types of quesadillas they chicken fingers in offer at Quesadilla Gorilla in Visalia. a slew of flavorful Although it began as a food truck, Quesadilla Gorilla now has sauces. (Try the brick-and-mortar locations in Fresno habañero honey.) and Visalia. Pair them with comfort food sides, including fries, tots, baked beans, potato or macaroni salad, cole slaw or veggie sticks. The truck is at 913 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford. Details: Quesadilla Gorilla has four choices of meat and two choices of cheese. After that, things start getting crazy. Choose from 10 fillings and seven homemade salsas for a delectable creation all your own. Get double servings of everything in your tortilla by saying “Kong it!” Quesadilla Gorilla got its start in Visalia but has since opened a brick-and-mortar location in Fresno. The food truck still pops up at events all over the Valley. Find its next location at


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16 2017 | Living Here

Living Here | 2017 17

We love the Central Valley because every party is a pizza party

Me-n-Ed’s fans take pizza seriously


Me-n-Ed’s. Those three little words evoke a variety of feelings. It’s Friday nights after football games. Sundays after church. Family time. It’s what visiting family wants for dinner. It’s packing a whole pizza (or two) into a carry-on bag to take across the country. With more than 60 locations in Central California, chances are there’s a Me-n-Ed’s close to you. Me-n-Ed’s Pizzerias was established in 1958, and for more than five decades, Me-n-Ed’s has served fresh, high-quality food and grown a passionate sea of loyal fans. And yes, by passionate, we mean it. That line above about packing a pizza in a carry-on bag? Yeah. That really happened. Me-n-Ed’s dough is made fresh daily and baked in a brick oven. Then, the pizza is smothered with sauce from vine-ripened tomatoes and topped off with Me-n-Ed’s special blend of five cheeses and more than 20 choice toppings. Our faves: pepperoni and pineapple. And don’t forget the side of ranch dressing. Not into pizza? (Who are you?) That’s OK. Me-n-Ed’s also offers delicious, homemade deli sandwiches, salads, calzones, strombolis, focaccia bread, garlic

bread, garlic cheese bread and more. Me-n-Ed’s isn’t just about making great food, it’s also about giving back in the community it serves. For more than 50 years, Me-n-Ed’s’ commitment has led to hundreds of sponsorships and advocacy programs, and has allowed various nonprofit organizations to help those in need. Every year, Me-n-Ed’s and its customers give more than half-a-million dollars to help address community needs and overcome challenges. This do-good group is called the Me-n-Ed’s Do-Nation. And joining is simple — any time a dollar or more is given to an organization through Me-n-Ed’s, a new member is born. As part of its annual giving, the Me-n-Ed’s Do-Nation gives $50,000 to three Central San Joaquin Valley nonprofit organizations: Poverello House, Catholic Charities and Boys and Girls Clubs of Fresno County.


(559) 325-5200 •

18 2017 | Living Here

We love the Central Valley because its amazing food offers learning opportunities

Vintage Press Recipe Club celebrates flavor


What better way to learn how to prepare meals with seasonal produce from the Valley than to watch a cooking demonstration by a professional chef? Chef David Vartanian has been hosting The Vintage Press Recipe Club for more than 20 years. It’s a longstanding tradition at The Vintage Press, which Vartanian’s father opened more than 51 years ago in Visalia. Vartanian performs an interactive cooking demonstration of the lunch or dinner meal, including dessert, while guests ask questions and learn valuable cooking tips — and wine service is included, says restaurant spokeswoman Jessica Cavale. “The recipes are printed for each person that they get to take home with them,” she says. “It’s a really fun, interactive evening with amazing food and cooking tips

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along the way.” The menu changes monthly, featuring in-season, fresh produce. Lunch is priced at $50 and dinner costs $65. Capacity ranges from 20 to 90 people, with the fall pumpkin cooking session being the most popular, Cavale says. “It’s a great date-night event, especially for a first date, because it’s interactive and provides a topic of conversation. You’re also getting great food and great wine,” she says. Some couples celebrate their anniversaries at Recipe Club, and it’s also a great opportunity to gather a group of friends and have a night out, Cavale says. “You’re learning a few things, being boisterous and having a great time.” Details:


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Living Here | 2017 19

We love the Central Valley because we believe if big is good, giant is better

Burrito lives up to its (huge) reputation


There’s a burrito in Fresno County that’s internet-famous. It’s called the Anaconda — and with a name like that, it has a lot to live up to. Taqueria Yarelis’ 3-foot creation is monstrous (full disclosure: I’ve tried it and it owned me.), hitting the world wide web last December and racking up more than 31 million views and counting. In the viral video, the Fresno restaurant’s chef, Edwin Espinoza, loads five tortillas with beans, rice, meat, cheese, cabbage, red and green salsas, cilantro, onions, lime juice and guacamole. The hand-rolled behemoth is then cut in half before being grilled shut on all sides — the process allowing the yard-long creation to fit along the walk-up eatery’s flat grill. Taqueria Yarelis places the finished Anaconda in a container for hungry customers to take with them, including extra salsas, limes, radishes, grilled onions and peppers. Patrons can also order it in wet burrito-form, which is a saucy, oven-baked mammoth of goodness. It costs $23, plus tax — more than reasonable once split with a couple (or five) of your friends and family. The restaurant has a Wednesday-only special that includes an Anaconda burrito, two 2-liter sodas and 12 hot wings for a mere $35, plus tax. Challenge deliciously accepted. Insider’s tip: Place your order in advance or risk waiting in the lengthy line of customers eager to get their fill of the legendary entree. Details: (559) 489-0410,

AEdwin Espinoza prepares the Anaconda, a world-famous yard-long burrito from Taqueria Yarelis.

20 2017 | Living Here

We love the Central Valley’s sweet tooth

Old-fashioned candy store has every kind you can imagine


A “Hansel and Gretel”-type cottage awaits visitors to Three Rivers in the form of Reimer’s Candies and Gifts. The old-fashioned candy store offers a nostalgic experience, says owner Mary Anne Bretz. The 60-year-old shop is known for its house-made chocolates and ice cream, especially its Wild Blackberry ice cream. The Wild Blackberry starts with a vanilla base and features a ribbon of blackberry throughout. The blackberries come from the shores of the river flowing behind Reimer’s Three Rivers location. But don’t worry. The flavor isn’t just seasonal. It’s offered year-round at all three Reimer’s locations. Or, if you prefer, try the Peaches & Cream flavor made from locally grown peaches right from the owner’s backyard. If you can’t decide between the two, opt for a scoop of each. We won’t judge. Locally grown wild blackberries, peaches, nuts and fresh cream make Reimer’s ice creams and sherbets magical, Bretz says. Reimer’s has 24 flavors of ice cream. Former owner, Uwe Reimer, originally from Germany, created the unique gelato style in 1985, and it’s still popular with today’s customers. Bretz bought the candy store from Reimer, and has since added two locations: Avila Beach in 2008 and Oakhurst in 2013. Reimer’s features more than 80 varieties of sinfully smooth and rich chocolates made with fresh cream and select ingredients. It also features a large selection of candies, including licorice, chews, sours and its famous homemade peanut brittle. “We have every kind of candy you can imagine,” Bretz says. People come in looking for hard-to-find candies and the candies of their childhood. Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by the German cuckoo clock collection. See a novelty or cuckoo clock you just have to have? You’re in luck. The clocks are for sale. “The clocks are a nod to our German heritage,” Bretz says. So, grab a scoop of that Wild Blackberry ice cream and head out to the back deck of Reimer’s. Pull up an Adirondack chair and watch the river flow on by. Three Rivers: 42375 Sierra Drive, (559) 561-4576 Oakhurst: 41969 Highway 41, (559) 642-3232 Avila Beach: 324 Front St., (805) 627-0243 Details:

We love the Central Valley’s own NOLA

New Orleans meets Tulare County


When Keith Korsgaden and his brother, Troy, set out to build Crawdaddy’s Visalia in 2004, they had Lousiana’s New Orleans on the brain. “We both thought it would be cool to have a New Orleans-flair entertainment and dining experience in Visalia,” Korsgaden says. “The nightlife there is very fun.” In October 2006, Crawdaddy’s Visalia opened its doors, giving Central Valley guests a taste of Cajun-inspired spice, music and atmosphere that continues to set the Tulare County space apart from other area restaurants. The menu has been modified over the years, explains Korsgaden. Through the tried-and-true method of trial and error, the restaurant has ACrawdaddy’s learned to diversify its offerings seafood gumbo is a — hoping to satisfy not only highlight on the New those seeking authentic Orleans-inspired Louisiana-influenced cuisine, menu. but all types of palates. Everything from Crawdaddy’s pasta jambalaya and seafood gumbo to the clam chowder and freshly cut salmon and halibut offered each week, these are just a few featured items that have Central Valley fans flocking to Visalia’s Main Street. Chef Fernando Gonzales prepares menus for the restaurant’s second floor, which is designated as Crawdaddy’s fine-dining experience, and its more relaxed first floor. Sports enthusiasts regularly perch around the first floor’s bar to sip on a cold brew and watch a big game on the nearby TV screen, while diners hoping to take in a live musical performance with their meal snag a spot in the floor’s main seating area. Monday through Sunday’s evening lineup varies with easy-listening music on Mondays, Frank Sinatra-like standards on Tuesdays, classic country on Wednesdays, Motown on Thursdays, pop and Latin tunes on Fridays, classic Rock on Saturdays and performances by Cody Torres on Sundays. You can regularly find Korsgaden playing the guitar for Crawdaddy’s main band, the Crawdads. “I don’t think you can go anywhere in the Valley and find an experience like Crawdaddy’s,” he says. “You can have dinner and dance to a great band in a great atmosphere for no extra money.” Details:


Living Here | 2017 21

We love the Central Valley because it quenches our thirst

Crafting a community

A Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. serves a variety of beers, from smooth golden ales to thick and rich barrel-aged imperial stouts.

BY: Dani Villalobos | PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Drake


A sea of red balloons light up California’s coastline on the California Craft Brewers Association’s website — a beacon to craft beer zealots of where the goods are, and an illustration of a growing scene that’s now 750-plus strong. I mean, California is the birthplace of the American craft beer movement

22 2017 | Living Here

after all. (You’re welcome, everywhere else.) But compared to epicenters like San Diego and the Central Coast, the brewery district draw that has craft beer drinkers flocking to these densely packed areas remains just a dream to many Central Valley brewers — one that is steadily forming into a more-thanpossible reality as of late.

Between Kern and Stanislaus counties, the San Joaquin Valley is home to more than two dozen craft breweries that have cropped up to help fill the regional void, showing the potential it has to become a worthy player in California’s diverse, passionate community of breweries, brewpubs and fresh takes on locally made beer. For Michael Cruz, this realization has been a longtime in the making. The Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. president says the history of the Fresno-based company goes back to the start of its partnership with the local brewpub, Sequoia Brewing Company. It was a consumer test of sorts — a way to gauge the market before embarking on a solo project. Under the craftsmanship of awardwinning brewmaster, Kevin Cox, the collaboration yielded a series of suds with a unique mission tying the product to its regional roots: the Southern Sierra. Names like 99 Golden Ale, General Sherman IPA and Joaquin Murrieta Chile Beer pay homage to

the natural monuments and characters that helped shape the story of the Valley, while a portion of proceeds went toward groups that work to preserve the national parks found in our backyard. “There really was no production brewery, just a lot of brewpubs. We wanted to fill a need,” he explains. “Craft beer was starting to get on the rise in other areas in California, but there was no local brewery that the community could embrace and enjoy.” Fast forward to 2017. Not only did Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. find a devoted base of patrons, but it outgrew its outdoorsy and recreational brand — establishing a synergistic hub for Fresno organizations, businesses and locals to come together with its flagship brewery planted in downtown Fresno in 2010 and beer garden that opened three years later. Patrons were now able to experience

A The Tioga-Sequoia Summer Sweat event featured more than a dozen local bands and food trucks — and of course — beer.

Please see next page

Living Here | 2017 23

ARita and Teule Bell at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co.

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Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. on a nearly daily basis. The presence of the company (and its brews) at community-wide events became commonplace. And local palates used to the one-dimensional taste ascribed to macrobreweries began seeking more complex, unique flavors. “We’re not a specialized brewery; we offer everything,” Cruz says of its expansive cache of year-round and seasonal beers. “We have coined using adjuncts with local flavor — we’re the biggest, and do it in quite a few beers year-round.” The incorporation of fruit, coffee, vanilla beans and other local ingredients that put Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. on the map is a popular technique many other area

breweries have embraced to centralize their own products. Take Clovis’ 559 Local, Tactical Ops Brewing and Zone 9 Brewing, for instance — all utilize products such as Wawona Packing Company’s strawberries, orange blossom honey and area-grown peaches plucked straight from the Central Valley. It was craft beer’s rich, dimensional aromas that initially hooked Lemoore resident, Phil Wren. The brewmaster and president of Bird Street Brewing, Inc. came into the scene late in the game, developing a love for home brewing in 2010 when Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. and Visalia’s Brewbakers Brewing Company were some of the only craft breweries around. His hobby turned into more of an official side gig after friends encouraged Wren to get his beer into the hands of the public. With the help and support of his girlfriend, Rosalind Wong, he started the process of becoming fully licensed in 2014 and rented a cheap building in downtown Lemoore to set up shop. Bird Street Brewing Co.’s next move: opening a tasting room within the next few months. Feedback from attendees at local craft beer festivals and popular sellers at area grocers and stores that carry Wren’s brew continue to act as his barometer — helping to guide the company’s goal of creating beer people will enjoy as it adds more flavors, local ingredients and styles to its young brand. “I think they like the idea of good craft beer being made in their backyard,” he says. “When I tell them the beer they’re drinking was made with strawberries plucked down the street, they like the local connection.” Plus, there’s always the added insight of his Central Valley brew master-colleagues that seems customary of

the Central Valley’s craft brewing community. “There are a couple I see all of the time, go to their tasting rooms and bounce ideas off of them,” he explains. “They’re all willing to share their findings and knowledge with everyone else. At the end of the day, we want to make good beer. We want to make sure that everyone who is making beer here is living up to those expectations set by bigger cities.” From Madera’s Riley’s Brewing, Fresno’s The Mad Duck Craft Brewing Co. and Sanger’s House of Pendragon to Rocky Hill Brewing in Exeter and Tulare’s Kaweah Brewing Co., there’s a developing craft beer route making its way up and down the Valley. But a more visible representation akin to the districts found in California’s popular craft beer hotbeds is making its way to Fresno. Mayor Lee Brand announced the creation of an “Ale Trail” at his State of Downtown conference in March, paving the way for what is to be a network of six craft beer breweries — Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co., Full Circle Brewing Co., 411 Ales and Spirits, Border Hops Brewing Co., Zack’s Brewing Company and House of Pendragon/Pita Kabob — that, besides the already operating Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. and Full Circle Brewing Co., have openings scheduled throughout the rest of the year. The trail will hopefully pose as a potential test for Central Valley’s place in the state’s craft beer scene. “This goal is not ‘I want to steal your customers,’ but ‘we want to grow the craft beer community.’ We want to grow downtown, and attract more people in Fresno and outside of the Valley,” says Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co.’s Cruz. “When there’s a beer community somewhere, I want to go visit it.”

We love the Central Valley because of places like this


When Darren Schmall set out to create ApCal, he had a pretty grandiose vision in mind: introduce people to all that the Central Valley has to offer. His plan for the scenic venue — located in Madera’s rolling vineyards and conveniently off of Highway 99 and Avenue 7 — was to create a showcase of sorts, to feature everything from regional wines and gourmet foods to local meats, nuts, jams and honey. Its name? ApCal is a nod to the “appellation” required on wine labels that designates where at least 85 percent of the grapes in the bottle are grown. Guests can frequent the site’s renovated 1928 Spanish Colonial-style wine tasting room to sample ApCal’s assortment of more than 50 local wines by the glass or bottle. Or, for a more dynamic experience, enjoy that vino while attending one of

24 2017 | Living Here

the Madera County hot spot’s popular outdoor concerts. ApCal takes advantage of the area’s prime seasonal weather during the months of May through October, playing host to blues, R&B, classic rock and country bands every Friday and Saturday evening. For those who aren’t exactly wine lovers, the venue also pours a selection of suds produced by Madera’s own craft brewery, Riley’s Brewing. Reasonably priced grub cooked up by on-site caterers and food trucks help keep people’s bellies full as they spread out on lawn chairs and picnic blankets to take in the sounds of the night’s musical entertainment under the stars. ApCal’s parties are restricted to the 21-and-older crowd, but Fido and other friendly pets are more than welcome to accompany their of-age humans. Details:

AThe Bryan Vickers band plays a CD release show at ApCal. The band, well-known for playing cover tunes, sprinkles original music into its sets.


ApCal lifts a glass to the heart of California

Living Here | 2017 25

We love the Central Valley because we drink local

Reds,whites and blends


Fresno State is planted right in the heart of the largest grape-producing region in the country, so it makes sense that the university offers degrees in winemaking. In fact, the Fresno State Winery was the nation’s first bonded commercial winery to operate on a university campus. Students can choose from a bachelor’s degree program in viticulture (the study of grapes) and/or enology (the study of wines). Budding winemakers are trained on a 140-acre vineyard to learn all aspects of the vino business, starting with vineyard consultations to conducting wine-grape research. Then, under the supervision of Fresno State winemaker Matt Brain, students use state-of-the-art winemaking equipment to produce award-winning syrahs, petite sirahs, Barberas, pinot gris and more. Then they learn how to market those wines and run a successful business under the tutelage of Fresno State Winery sales and marketing guru Kevin Smith. Grab a bottle of homegrown Fresno State Tailgate Red or Tailgate White for the next Bulldogs football game? Don’t mind if we do ...

Sanger’s School House Restaurant & Tavern celebrates summer


For School House Restaurant & Tavern, summer is a reason to celebrate. The Sanger spot is housed in a 96-year-old schoolhouse, and its cocktail menu reflects that history. It also gives a firm nod to the Central Valley, embracing local flavors at every turn. Take the seasonal favorite, Summer Vacation. The lemon sour — a staple mix used to build most cocktails — is handcrafted in the kitchen, and brings a nice punch to the cocktail’s summer-inspired concoction of fresh watermelon, white rum and splash of Midori. School House Restaurant & Tavern’s other popular, school-themed sips, the Teacher’s Pet and Spring Fling, include a house-made strawberry purée made from area-sourced strawberries, its lemon sour and fresh basil plucked right from the back gardens. Brunch signatures include its Bloody Mary, which is made with its house-made mix using vegetable broth and juices in the restaurant’s kitchen. It also gives a tasty tribute to the late father of Michelle Jackson, the School House Restaurant & Tavern’s marketing and event sales manager and co-operational manager. The “Dennis” Fizz was his spin on the classic Ramos Gin Fizz, featuring fresh orange juice, cream, vanilla extract and club soda. “It’s basically an Orange Julius in a martini glass,” Jackson says. “When I work on Sundays, our service staff will tell the story behind it and I have seen people in their booths give a toast, ‘Let’s cheers to Dennis!’ It’s so sweet — it’s like my dad has a legacy without ever knowing it.” Details:

26 2017 | Living Here

Fresno,Madera host wine tours


It isn’t hard to fall in love with Fresno and Madera counties when family-owned wineries and vineyards are abundant. Sponsored by the Twin Rivers Vintners Association, the Fresno County Wine Journey features more than a dozen wineries in Fresno, Mendota, Sanger, Kingsburg and Kerman. It also consists of two tasting rooms: Simonian Farms and ApCal. The FCWJ hosts the Wine and Chocolate Lovers Weekend in February and the Fall Harvest Wine Journey in November. Participating are the Fresno State Winery, Cardella Winery, Yribarren Family Vineyards, Ziveli Winery, Moravia Wines, A. Nonini Winery, Old Fig Cellars, Marian Farms, Engelmann Cellars, LoMac Winery, Kings River Winery, Maréchal Vineyards, Ramos Torres Winery and Ubick Winery. The Madera Wine Trail, sponsored by the Madera Vintners Association, stretches through Madera, Oakhurst, Friant and O’Neals. It hosts three events: the Wine & Chocolate Weekend in February, the Spring Wine Trail in May and the Holiday Spirit Weekend in November. Wineries and vineyards include Birdstone Winery, Toca Madera Winery, Ficklin Vineyards, Papagni Wines, Quady Winery, San Joaquin Wine Company, Westbrook Wine Farm, Idle Hour Winery and Fäsi Estate Winery. Details: www.fresnocountywine, www.maderawine

We love the Central Valley because we like wine with everything

We love the Central Valley because it is the breadbasket of the world

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab gives us a new way to say ‘cheers’


If you’ve ever needed a break between here and the coast, there’s a pit stop that’s part restaurant, part gift shop and part place to let the kiddos out to play. Bravo Farms Kettleman City offers Tex-Mex, wine tasting, antiques and a playhouse. And, our favorite seaside pleasure, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab. Doc’s ice cream parlors are Valley favorites in Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and Orcutt. But what you might not know is that inside the center doors to Kings County’s Bravo Farms is a Doc Burnstein’s counter. And, as of June, it is also available in Fresno, at Chosen Frozen Yogurt. Classic flavors are served alongside some unique creations like the Elvis Special (bananas and peanut butter). But, what you just have to try is the Merlot-Raspberry Truffle, made with what Doc says is “just a little” real Central Coast wine. The pairing of the vanilla with the bite of merlot and the sweetness of the chocolate truffle bits is to die for. If you’re traveling to the coast to do a little wine tasting, consider this an appetizer that you can enjoy on the way without the need for a designated driver. As long as you’re there, try it with a scoop of Motor Oil, a custom-created rich chocolate ice cream created to celebrate the annual Pismo Beach Car Show. It is Doc Burnstein’s top-selling flavor. (And, here’s an insider’s fun fact: It has another local connection as well. Doc Bernstein’s dairy ingredients come from Top O’ the Morn Farms in Tulare.) Bravo Farms is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at Interstate 5 and Highway 41, 33341 Bernard Drive, Kettleman City. Details: (559) 386-9622 Chosen Frozen Yogurt is open from 11 a.m to 10 p.m. at 8967 N. Chestnut Ave., near Shepherd Avenue. Details: (559) 299-2595


There’s nothing quite like buying produce fresh from the people who grow it. Here’s a list of just a few of the local markets where produce is sold in our four-county area.

Year-round farmers markets The Vineyard Farmers Market, 7 a.m. to noon, Saturdays and 3 to 6 p.m., Wednesdays at Blackstone and Shaw avenues in Fresno. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, flowers, fresh-roasted coffee, jams and jellies, food trucks. Kaiser Permanente Fresno Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays at Kaiser Permanente, 7300 N. Fresno St., Fresno. Cheese, local honey, fresh and dried fruit and berries, food trucks. Manchester Center Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays at 1901 E. Shields Ave., Fresno. Fruits and vegetables, berries, flavored nuts, flowers, food trucks. Old Town Clovis Farmers Market, 8 to 11:30 a.m., Saturdays at Pollasky and Bullard avenues in Clovis. Fruits and vegetables, milk and food vendors. Clovis Commons Farmers Market, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sundays on the northeast corner of Herndon and Willow avenues in Clovis. Fresh produce, specialty products. Valley Fresh Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays at Valley Children’s Hospital, 9300 Valley Children’s Place, Madera. Fruits and vegetables, berries, nuts, food trucks. Visalia Farmers Market, 8 to 11:30 a.m., Saturdays in the Sears parking lot, Mooney Boulevard and Caldwell Avenue in Visalia. Fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, plants, meat, cheeses and nuts.

Seasonal markets Oakhurst Farmers Market, 4 to 7 p.m., Thursdays through October at the True Value Home Center, 40596 Westlake Drive, Oakhurst. The Market on Kern in Fresno, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays through Oct. 25 on Kern Street between M and N streets in Fresno. River Park Farmers Market, 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesdays through Oct. 24 in the River Park Shopping Center, Blackstone and Nees avenues in Fresno. Old Town Clovis Farmers Market, 5:30 to 9 p.m., Fridays through Sept. 29 on Pollasky Avenue between Third and Fifth streets in Old Town Clovis. Reedley Farmers Market, 4 to 8 p.m., Wednesdays through Aug. 30 on 11th Street in downtown Reedley. Sanger Chamber Farmers Market & Street Faire, Sundays in September at Seventh and N streets in Sanger. Sierra View Medical Center Market, 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays through Aug. 29 in front of City Hall on Main Street in downtown Porterville. Thursday Night Market Place, 5:30 to 9 p.m. through Sept. 28 at Irwin and Seventh streets in Hanford. Visalia Farmers Market, 5 to 8 p.m., Thursdays through Sept. 21 at Church and Main streets in Visalia.

Living Here | 2017 27

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Enduring health requires decades of service from your teeth. Through 30 years of research and experience with patients, Dr. Thomas Bramanti has discovered that an uneven bite is the underlying cause of deteriorating gums and weakening dentistry in later years. Its is no longer adequate to simply patch teeth with fillings, root canals and crowns without addressing the entire bite. Modern dentistry moves beyond weakened teeth by using dental implants as the foundation that brings an end to continuous dentistry. The longevity of your teeth is essential to your lifelong wellbeing.

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Dr. Bramanti is a world renown surgical specialist who was instrumental in establishing implant dentistry in Fresno in 1994. With well over 30 years of implant experience, Dr. Bramanti has successfully placed over 14,000 implants serving more than 6,000 satisfied Valley residents. Patients say the university-level knowledge and clinical excellence he brings to patient care is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. Wisdom and experience allow Dr. Bramanti to anticipate future health challenges and conditions patients may face later in life.

Dr. Bramanti’s clinical success provides implants you can rely on...for a lifetime. Call for an appointment today. And place your oral health on solid ground. THOMAS E. BRAMANTI D.D.S. PH.D., INC. IMPLANTS, PERIODONTICS AND TMD 5660 N. Fresno Street #110, Fresno, CA 93710

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AFive-month-old Athena Muong, tries corn on the cob with the help of Ricky Siv at the second annual Central Valley Taco Festival.

We love the Central Valley because it gets a little...

Corn crazy



30 2017 | Living Here

Fresno State corn is big (crazy big, but no judgment). In fact, this year, the long-awaited start of the sweet corn season produced a bumper crop of customers and sales on its first day, with a record 38,586 ears sold at the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market on campus. Corn sales rang up a record $15,834 on the registers, according to Bee reports. Most of the sales were yellow corn — 36,134 ears — and the remainder was white corn. That’s a record 77 bins of corn sold out in one day. But did you know this corn-crazy thing isn’t just Fresno specific? In fact, perhaps our South Valley friends have one-upped us. Drive-thru service is how the South Valley gets its ears. Porterville, Hanford and Visalia have roadside farm stands that sell out of their freshly picked corn daily during the short four- to nine-week season. Gisler Farms Sweet Corn, at the corner of Newcomb Street and Olive Avenue in Porterville, keeps you updated on Facebook at gislerfarms. Its yellow and white corn varieties are equal favorites among fans of the sweet veggie. First Fruits Sweet Corn is set up at the corner of Fargo and 12th avenues in Hanford and across the street from Mooney Grove Park in Visalia. The owners also take their corn to the Visalia Farmers Market on Saturdays, where it’s been a huge hit. Details:

We love the Central Valley because it is...

We love the Central Valley because farm-fresh means flavor

Berry delicious


When we think about blueberries, we imagine a guilt-free treat that provides a multitude of health benefits. “Blueberries are low in sugar … low in calories … high in fiber,” says Gayle Willems, the namesake behind Berry Lady Farms. In addition, blueberries are rich in antioxidants, folic acid, phytonutrients and Vitamin C. Along with her husband, Willems oversees 100 acres of land near the Kings River in Kingsburg. The Willems family started planting blueberries nearly 18 years ago. Today, they have grown into a full-fledged operation that includes growing 14 varieties of blueberries. As a member of the Fresno County Farm Trail, Berry Lady Farms partners with Top of the Hill to make jams and jellies in an assortment of flavors like spicy blackberry jam. The season for harvesting blueberries is mid-April through June. During that time, Willems manages a booth at the Visalia Farmers Market and the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Farmers Market. Details:

More than milk


Tulare County is the nation’s leading dairy producer, but we’ve learned our local milk farmers like flavor. Tulare’s Top O’ The Morn Farms, first established in 1962, reintroduced its cash-and-carry business to 21st-century consumers in 2012 — delivering pasteurized, homogenized and rBST-free milk to their front doors, glass-bottled and all. Along with the classic whole, 2 percent and skim milk varieties, Top O’ The Morn Farms offers customers fun, delicious flavors like Root Beer, Strawberry, Coffee, Orangesicle and Chocolate. The 64-year-old Rosa Brothers Milk Company isn’t afraid to think outside of the box with its goods, either. Orange Cream, Egg Nog, Root Beer Float, Banana and Vanilla milk are just a few selections from the family-owned and -operated company’s inventory. Details:,


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Living Here | 2017 31

AA fawn stops to graze on young green plants at the base of Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite.

We love the Central Valley because of its proximity to nature

Go to Yosemite, Sequoia 22 and Kings Canyon national parks

BY: Dani Villalobos | PHOTOGRAPHY: Carey Norton, Gary Kazanjian, Bee archive

Forget all of the man-made hotspots in the Central Valley for just a moment — it’s time to appreciate the protected natural landscape that surrounds us, and is literally a hop, skip and a shuttle or car ride away. That’s right, we’re talking about a few of the nation’s most beloved national parks, situated right in our own backyard: Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.

Yosemite National Park The 1,169 square miles of deep valleys, sprawling meadows, ancient giant sequoias and some of the country’s most iconic waterfalls and rock formations is located on Highway 41 — a mere 92 miles north of Fresno. The national park’s vast acreage is nearly

32 2017 | Living Here

ARising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon.

95 percent wilderness, with hundreds of wildlife species and thousands of plant species residing in the multi-county area. And with a place so diverse, there are various ways visitors can explore its natural habitat. Hiking, biking, backpacking and sightseeing? There are more than 750 miles of trails to travel along. In need of an arts and culture fix? The Yosemite Museum Gallery, Ansel Adams Gallery and range of photography walks, classes and workshops are just a few options people can take advantage of. Swimming, fishing and boating are also popular activities during California’s warmer seasons, with Merced River and Tenaya Lake being designated waters for rafts, boats and flotation devices. Anglers with a valid California fishing license can also search Yosemite National Park’s lakes and reservoirs for fresh catch all year long, as

well as its streams and rivers from April through Nov. 15. Horseback riding, tours and rock climbing are ways to take in the park’s stunning views — because when it comes to this place, the beauty of Yosemite is infinite. Admission costs $30 per car, and annual passes cost $60.

Insider tips t Take the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System. YARTS for short, the regularly scheduled public transit system is in operation in the Yosemite region, helping to transport park-goers in gateway communities for an economical rate. Ticket prices vary, but most round-trip fares cost $30 and include park admission. Catch the bus in Merced, Fresno, Oakhurst or stops along the way. Details are available at

AYosemite National Park is 92 miles north of Fresno, and 95 percent wilderness.

Please see next page

Living Here | 2017 33

SYosemite National Park is awash with color in the fall.

continued ...

t See one of the world’s tallest waterfalls. Yosemite Falls — technically made up of three falls — typically flows in the months of November through July, with peak viewing falling around May. Active visitors can even trek to the top of Yosemite Falls for an all-day, strenuous hike. t Stop for the ultimate selfie. Is there a more perfect place to take an epic photo than Tunnel View? We don’t think so. This popular viewpoint is at the end of Wawona Tunnel along Highway 41, capturing El Capitan — one of the world’s largest single granite rocks — Bridalveil Fall and Half Dome in one fell swoop. t Be aware of temporary closures. Parts of Yosemite National Park are in the midst of restoration — namely Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Its current project aims to restore the grove’s ecology and increase its resilience through a series of changes,

including a half-mile of new accessible trails and boardwalks. Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is scheduled to re-open to the public in the fall. Details:

Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks These side-by-side national parks are known for their varied habitats and are both recognized as International Biosphere Reserves “for their important role in conserving biodiversity,” according to the National Park Service’s website. In layman’s terms: There’s a lot for outdoor enthusiasts to see and do. Hikers and backpackers can experience these connected lands through its expanse of low-elevation foothills, scenic walks like The Big Trees Trail and Tokopah Falls — the former showcasing the Sequoia National Park’s mammoth sequoias, the latter highlighting the granite cliffs and Tokopah Canyon’s cascading waterfall — and, for the more daring, climb 300 feet to the summit of Moro Rock for an impressive view of the Great Western Divide. The National Park Service recommends

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travelers use a trail map while embarking on their journeys, which can be purchased at both parks’ visitor centers. Visitors can also take in some of the mountainous sights from the comfort of their vehicles, such as the hour-long, winding drive from the foothills to the sequoia groves along Generals Highway. Or, if you have some time, continue from its stop at Lodgepole to Grant Grove and then from Grant Grove to Kings Canyon and Cedar Grove for various overlook and viewing opportunities along the way. Horseback riders and river rats — we haven’t forgotten about you. Experienced kayakers are welcome to try some of the parks’ challenging runs when the water conditions permit, while Kings Canyon National Park patrons can experience the Central Valley summers with guided horseback riding tours available through Grant Grove Stables and Cedar Grove Pack Station. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are connected through Generals Highway. A vehicle pass costs $30, and is valid for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Hume Lake District of Sequoia National

Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Visit Sequoia Shuttle at www.sequoia for details.

Insider tips t Feel small. Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest grove is home to exceptionally large sequoias — including the world’s largest living tree, the General Sherman Tree. It stands at 275 feet tall, and is more than 36 feet in diameter at the base. t Go underground. There are 270 caves hidden throughout Sequoia National Park, but Crystal Cave is one of its most popular. The marble cavern can only be viewed during guided tours because of its fragile formations, and are scheduled from spring through fall. t Enjoy the snow. There are various snow play areas in both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks — why not trek through the icy goodness wearing chic attire? Ranger-guided snowshoe walks are a great way to explore the parks during the winter season, with opportunities in Grant Grove and the Giant Forest. Details:

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Living Here | 2017 35

We love the Central Valley because fun is ...

Just around the river bend


As far as rivers go, Kings River is just about perfect. The class three river sits soundly in the middle of the International Scale of River Difficulty, suitable for beginners new to the thrill of white river rafting and those who have more experience navigating its waters. The longtime family-owned and -operated company, King River Expeditions, has endured the ups and downs of the Kings River since its founding in 1972, with owner Justin Butchert stationed at the helm for the past 36 years. He trains his personable and talented team of river guides to understand the waters’ scarier and more tame features, so they can safely lead travelers down the 10-mile trip back to the company’s home base, Twin Pines Camp. Kings River Expeditions offers both one- and two-day trips for adventurers to choose from, and feature several amenities such as home-style prepared meals, beer, wine, ice cream sundaes and a place to crash under the stars for full-service experiences that are available at a higher rate. The most popular option is its special day trip for $99, which includes a barbecue lunch and full, 10-mile trip on the river. The season typically falls between April and August

We love the Central Valley because things aren’t always found on the surface

What lies beneath


The San Joaquin River Trail is steadily gaining in popularity as locals find out about the gorgeous hiking, running and mountain biking trail that can be accessed within a 25-minute drive from Fresno or Clovis. But even those who visit the trails every weekend might not know that they are trekking over a cave system. The Millerton Cave was formed by an underground stream that cuts through granite. During flooding, the cave system continually changes as the water — and the gravel it picks up — carves a path through the rock. The caves are inaccessible when the water level is high. Don’t try to go there alone; follow along with some trained spelunkers to explore the Millerton Cave system. Don’t know where to find a pro caver? There’s a group for that. Check out San Joaquin Valley Grotto at for the group’s next meeting.

36 2017 | Living Here

or whenever the water runs out. This year’s gigantic Sierra Nevada snowpack promised a longer season for Kings River Expeditions, with prime conditions expected for July to early August. Details:

We love the Central Valley because we’re reel experts

Catch a fish at Hensley Lake


Less than an hour’s drive northeast of Fresno in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada enroute to Yosemite National Park is Hensley Lake. Surrounded by the oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills just 17 miles northeast of Madera, the 1,500-acre lake was created by the construction of Hidden Dam on the Fresno River. The dam is 163 feet high, 5,730 feet long and has a capacity of 90,000 acre feet of water. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, irrigation, resource management and recreation, the lake attracts a growing number of park visitors each year for water skiing, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and camping. Numerous game fish abound in the waters of Hensley Lake. Species include largemouth black bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Rainbow trout are planted during the winter months. Some of the best fishing is found in the coves around the lake and anglers may keep two bass over 15 inches in length. The former Fresno River basin, which is now Hensley Lake, used to be home to the Miwok and Yokuts people. Their presence in the area is still evident, mostly in the form of milling areas, where they prepared food. Watch for the monument in the Buck Ridge Recreation Area erected to the memory of Major James D. Savage, who is credited with the discovery of Yosemite Valley on March 25, 1851, during the Mariposa Indian War.

Improving Ourselves And the Health of the South Valley At Sierra View Medical Center, we pride ourselves on getting better by continually improving our facilities and services and by providing lifelong learning to our medical professionals.

This improvement is evident in the recent openings of our Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Urgent Care Clinic as well as the recent re-accreditation from Joint Commission. Thanks to the many doctors, nurses, staff, and volunteers who help make Sierra View the terrific hospital it is today!

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We love the Central Valley because we can ...

We love the Central Valley because we can ...

Cool off at Shaver Lake

Giddy up!



When the summer heat gets you down, head up to Shaver Lake, about an hour northeast of Fresno. The mountain resort village rests at about 5,500 feet elevation, making the summers cool and the winters mild. The village of Shaver Lake gets its moniker from the High Sierra lake just a short walk away. The area offers a multitude of recreational opportunities including hiking, fishing, swimming and boating during the summer, and hunting, snow play and snow sports in the winter. Even though winters are mild in Shaver, the village gets its share of snow with 1 to 3 feet covering the ground throughout an average season. And if hitting the slopes is your idea of fun, China Peak Ski Resort is nearby offering seven chair lifts and miles of groomed trails for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. During warmer months, China Peak offers mountain bike trails with access via the chair lifts. For hikers, there are about 35 miles of multi-purpose trails on Edison land around Shaver Lake. Pick up a map with descriptions of the trails, sold at various business locations within Shaver Lake. For serious hikers, travel through Shaver Lake to get to trail heads like the John

What’s the best way to get a glimpse into Yosemite’s past, to see Yosemite as John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt did? By horseback, of course. Yosemite Trails Saddle & Sleigh Company owners Larry and Nishma Knapp take riders on adventures in the Sierra with three types of trail rides. The Big Creek one-hour loop is perfect for new riders. Riders are treated to spectacular views during the two-hour Vista Pass loop. And the unique Mariposa Grove loop takes riders past 2,000-year-old redwoods. Each ride, guided by pro cowboys, is a continuous loop, so riders won’t be seeing the same scenery twice. Riders get personalized instruction in the arena so they are comfortable on the horse before embarking on the trail. In the winter months, Yosemite Trails offers authentic horse-drawn sleigh rides pulled by Belgian Draft Horses complete with jingle bells. In 1934, Fred Wass and his wife, Beryl, opened the Fred Wass Pack Outfit. In October 1966, Mike and Sherry Knapp acquired the pack station and changed the name to Yosemite Trails Pack Station. Now, more than 50 years later it’s called Yosemite Trails Saddle & Sleigh Company, but very little else has changed. Larry and Nishma Knapp still bring their

Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. Shaver Lake is regularly stocked with pan-sized trout and fingerling kokanee. Large, trophy-sized trout are stocked by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project. If you didn’t have any luck catching your lunch or dinner, hungry visitors have a variety of options to choose from, including Shaver Lake Coffee & Deli, Blue Sky Cafe, Cressman’s General Store, Shaver Lake Pizza and Shaver Lake Pub ’N Grub. Details:

American Quarter Horses and Black Angus cattle to the mountains in the spring and gather them from the high country every autumn before the snow fall. The stock is then moved to winter pasture down at the Lazy K Ranch in the central San Joaquin Valley. This yearly migration has been handed down from one generation to the next. In fact, because the Knapps raise their own stock, their horses learn as youngsters how to travel in the Sierra and are more sure-footed than most horses. The Knapps’ horses have been selected for their kind, gentle personalities and are raised in the high Sierra, making them ideal trail horses. Details: (559) 683-7611,

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Living Here | 2017 39

We love the Central Valley’s big bloom

We love the Central Valley’s animal conservation efforts

Take a walk on the wild side


There are 11 subspecies of tigers that roam the northern, eastern, southern and southeastern parts of Asia. Tigers have also been spotted near Kings Canyon National Park. Or, to be exact, tigers — along with lions, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, bobcats and lynxes — have been seen at Project Survival’s Cat Haven in Dunlap. “Project Survival’s Cat Haven is an innovative park dedicated to the preservation of wild cats,” says general manager Jennifer Umland. The nonprofit organization was founded by Dale Anderson in 1998. His love and passion for wild cats started as a child when he met a mountain lion named Sam. As Anderson made the transition into adulthood, he didn’t forget about Sam. For 10 years, he was a pilot for United Express — traveling to zoological gardens around the world. With encouragement from Dr. Ronaldo Morato at the São Paulo Zoo, Anderson decided to specialize in conservation and preservation of wild cats. “Many cats are endangered and their loss in the wild would not only negatively affect the ecosystems, but losing them would be losing a piece of the beautiful natural world. It’s somewhat cliché, but extinction is

Blossom Trail paints the region with flowers

forever,” Umland says. Today, Project Survival’s Cat Haven boasts a wide variety of wild cats including jaguarundis, snow leopards and a Pallas’s cat. According to Umland, the most popular felines include Dianna, a white Bengal tiger, Yosemite Sam, a mountain lion, and Elsa and Ana, snow leopard sisters. There are two seasonal events on the agenda for the remainder of 2017: the Cool Cats Ice Cream Fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 26 and the Fall Twilight Tour on Saturday, Oct. 7. Guided 11⁄2-hour tours are available Wednesday through Monday during the summer (May to September) and Thursday through Monday during the winter (October to April). Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children under age 12. Details:



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The Central Valley is known for its agriculture, not just because the food grown here feeds the world, but because of the beauty it brings to

the land. And visitors can see the beauty of the land in all its glory on the Fresno County Blossom Trail. The Blossom Trail takes visitors through Sanger, Centerville, Minkler and Reedley. Opt for the Orange Blossom Trail and traverse through Orange Cove, too. Traditionally, the best time to see the Blossom Trail is from the end of February through the middle of March. This self-guided motor or bicycle tour is organized by the Fresno County Blossom Trail Committee, a partnership between the County of Fresno and the Chambers of Commerce in Sanger, Kingsburg, Reedley, Orange Cove, Selma and Fowler to celebrate and feature the beauty of Fresno County’s agriculture and a few historical points of interest. Panoramas of orchards full of fruit trees alive with fragrance and bursting with blossoms await you. What will visitors see along the Blossom Trail? t Almond blossoms have white petals. Two or more varieties may be planted in the same orchard for cross pollination by bees. Harvesting, usually done mechanically, runs from late August to early October. t Plum blossoms are white. At least two varieties will be planted in an orchard for cross pollination. More than 200 varieties are grown commercially. They are harvested in June to late September. t Apricot blossoms have pink petals. Fewer than 12 varieties are grown commercially. Harvest season lasts two to three weeks during mid to late May. t Peach and nectarine blossoms feature pink to red petals and bloom at the same time. Over 100 varieties are grown commercially. Harvest runs mid-May to October. t Apple blossoms have white petals. Up to six varieties are grown commercially in Fresno County. Harvesting is August to November. t Citrus blossoms are white with most aromatic fragrance. Navel and Valencia oranges and lemons are the most common citrus grown locally. Along with beautiful blossoms, the trail offers a variety of stops along the way, including farm stores such as Simonian Farms in Fresno, Garry’s Country Store in Del Rey, Circle K Ranch in Selma and Luke’s Almond Acres in Reedley. Getting thirsty? Stop at one of the Blossom Trail

wineries: Cedar View Winery and Kings River Winery in Sanger and Ramos Torres Winery in Kingsburg. Details: Have a car load of kids ready to get out of the car? Aspen Acres Tours in Sanger offers a petting farm. And don’t miss Hillcrest Farm & Wahtoke Railroad in Reedley. If you get hungry on the trail, dine at the Blossom Trail Café or School House Restaurant & Tavern in Sanger. Details:

Living Here | 2017 41

We love the Central Valley because learning is fun

Nursery hosts creative classes


For nearly a century, Gazebo Gardens Nursery has been providing products and advice for people who want their yards and gardens to look like a tropical oasis. But lately, the nursery has hosted workshops that combine education and entertainment. In the spring, Brian Guerrero-Buchheim hosted “Herbs and Beers,” “Succs and Suds” and “Bouquets and Beers.” Katie Flinn, owner of COIL Yoga, also hosted two sessions of “Yoga ‘N’ Hops.” You get the point, right? Workshops will continue throughout the year — so stay informed through Facebook. For three nights, Thursday through Saturday, the nursery hosts food trucks and live entertainment. Ampersand Ice Cream, Quesadilla Gorilla, Summertime Pies, Jay’s Speciality Ice Cream, The Gastro Grill, Sno Café, P&R Fusion and The Dog Wagon are staples at the nursery. Live entertainment includes artists like Eva Scow and Richard Giddens, and bands such as Cloudship, Celtic Alchemy, Acoustic Soul, The Tough Love and 3 Guys Playin’ the Blues. On the agenda: The Tough Love will play at 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 for “Under The Gazebo with The Tough Love.” The five-member rock band is influenced by the sounds of Al Green, Paul Simon, Justin Timberlake and the Beastie Boys. Details:

42 2017 | Living Here

We love the Central Valley because ...

Goats are just the cutest


Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Basilwood Farm knows the importance of nourishing your skin. The family-owned farm creates made-from-scratch soaps, sea salts and sugar scrubs, lotions and lip balms with goat’s milk. The Spruance family has lived on the 5-acre property for 24 years, overseeing 13 dairy goats — including eight does and five kids — of various breeds. “We have a blend of Alpine, Lamancha and Oberhasli dairy goats,” says Jill Spruance, the wife and mother behind Basilwood Farm. Goat’s milk is packed with vitamins A, B, D and E, which aid in reducing the presence of eczema and psoriasis. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acids — the key to healthier and smoother skin. The Spruance family uses all-natural oils and butters — including coconut oil and cocoa butter — and clays, botanicals and exfoliates with anti-aging properties. “Dairy goats are very hearty and entertaining,” Spruance adds. The two most popular fragrances are Pink Champagne, a combination of

scents including champagne and crisp apples, and Princess, a delightful blend of elderflower. For seasonal scents, Spruance says the two most popular fragrances are California Dreamin’ and

Pixie Dust. Basilwood Farm hosts field trips and workshops. From September to November, learn the process of making chèvre, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses during the Cheese, Please! Workshop. Spruance says their products are sold at the farm store — located at 15759 Morgan Canyon Road, Prather — and shops throughout California. Details:

We love the Central Valley’s paint-covered fingers

Art Hop celebrates creativity


It’s not unusual to find Fresno businesses opening their doors to visual artists, musicians and other local creatives — especially if it’s the first or third Thursday of the month. ArtHop has steadily become part of the community’s routine calendar, breaking out from the artistic underground and into mainstream circles as more people and places take part in the bi-monthly event. Fresno Arts Council proudly claims the free program as its most successful and active, with more than 50 museums, art galleries, studios and other businesses participating in downtown Fresno and the Tower District on the first Thursday of every month and greater metropolitan area on the third. The goal: expose people to the talented artists and artwork found right here in our Central Valley communities. What started as a way for visual artists to share ideas and information with one another, ArtHop has grown into a movement of sorts — its reach touching all branches of the arts, and garnering new customers for restaurant and store owners who’ve become official ArtHop venues. ArtHop events typically take place between 5 and 8 p.m., but formats vary at the venues’ discretion with some choosing to invite food trucks and other means of entertainment in addition to the evening’s featured artists. Check the Fresno Arts Council’s website and social media for an updated list of venues and locations each month. Details:

We love the Central Valley because of events like ...

Taste the Arts


Visalia’s annual Taste the Arts event is one not to miss. Set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, the event fills four blocks from Garden Street Plaza (on Garden Street) to the old lumber yard on Oak Street, with food, vendors and a whole lot of art. “We do our best to metaphorically have a taste of art for everyone,” says Ampelio Majia, project director for Visalia Arts Consortium, which hosts the event. “It’s four blocks of live music, food, art

activities, interactive art booths, art for sale, a food sculpture challenge, urban art demonstrations, a break dance competition and live mural painting,” he says. “Not only is it an answer to ‘what is there to do in the Central Valley?’ It also provides a lot of exposure for up-and-coming artists, it allows professional artists to show off their work and it gives the community an opportunity to create art.” Details: tastethearts

AArtist Jonathan Smith, right, talks with Efren Ruiz-Ortega, left, and Maria Ibarra, both of Sanger, inside his studio in Broadway Studios during ArtHop in downtown Fresno.

Find your crafty side


Paint and craft workshops have gained in popularity nationwide, revealing that anyone can find their artistic side. There’s no need to walk into a craft store where, if you’re like us, you’ll walk out after much damage to your bank account. Get Crafty With Me owner Syndi Bergersen braves the craft stores for you and hosts workshops to create everything from personalized porch signs to home decor. You can gather at least five of your friends and host a workshop at home, or attend one of Bergersen’s classes at Madera’s ApCal, Fresno’s Full Circle Brewery or Selma’s Spike & Rail. Either way, expect her to hand you some raw wood and a pizza box. “Inside the box are all the supplies they’re going to need to finish the item,” she says. She’ll teach you step-by-step how to create a stellar, professional-looking craft. Check out what she’s teaching next at Nola Love hosts similar classes with personalized and seasonal items at its Fresno studio and Cool Hand Luke’s in Clovis. Sign up for a class at

Make the abstract accessible


There’s a common misconception that abstract art has no rules — that anything really goes with this movement. But hang an abstract piece on the wall, and this malleable concept can completely fall apart if there are certain elements amiss. Lucky for us, Lemoore resident, Natasha Holland Hayes, is on it. The watercolor and acrylic artist offers an intro to abstract painting workshops each month, helping the most experienced and novice of artists compose works of art that can proudly be displayed in their own home. “The biggest thing is I want people to learn something, so they can tackle another painting on their own,” Hayes says. “I provide a checklist of the process and samples of compositions. I break it down so they can create a successful abstract painting.” She likes to keep classes small, capping them at eight or nine people. Hayes hosts classes once a month at Visalia’s Enjoy Makerie and Young Chefs Academy in Fresno. Details:

Living Here | 2017 43

We love the Central Valley because it is very entertaining

AGarth Brooks performs a three-night, four-show stop at the Save Mart Center.

The house of rock


AGwen Stefani is one of many artists to appear at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.

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Next to Fresno State stands a 430,000-square-foot multipurpose arena that has housed world-renowned musicians, entertainers, comedians and athletes. The Save Mart Center opened to the community on Nov. 5, 2003 — with Andrea Bocelli performing two days later. The exterior landmark is Larry A. Shehadey Clock Tower. It was named after Larry A. Shehadey, the founder of Producers Dairy Foods. The lengthy list of entertainers who have performed at the Save Mart Center include Paul McCartney, Neil Diamond, Garth Brooks, Elton John, Madonna, Paula Abdul, Shania

Twain, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Gwen Stefani. In addition to concerts, the Save Mart Center is home to Fresno State Athletics. The roaring cheers from thousands of fans can be heard at nearby hot spots like Dog House Grill and The Square at Campus Pointe, which is anchored by Maya Cinemas. The complex features restaurants like Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, The Mad Duck Craft Brewing Co. and Pieology Pizzeria. On the horizon at the Save Mart Center: Marc Anthony, Sept. 15; Janet Jackson, Sept. 24; Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Sept. 29; JAY-Z; Nov. 1; and Bruno Mars, Nov. 2. Details:

Explore Selma

Selma Chamber of Commerce

Selma Arts Center 1935 High Street, Selma Ca 93662 Box Office (559) 891-2238 AVAILABLE FOR RENTALS


2017/2018 Activities


CONCERTS IN THE PARK – August 2017 Join us at Lincoln Park for Concerts in the Park each Friday night in August. Each Friday night we will feature a variety of music for the community. Bring your lawn chairs and join us! Food will be available and this year we will have a Farmers Market.


PARKIN’ IN THE PARK/CAR SHOW – Sept. 16, 2017 Selma’s Car Show will be held Sept. 16, 2017 in the Selma Lincoln Park located in Downtown Selma. Come Join in the Fun.

Freshly Prepared


Dine In or Take Out




2905 McCall Ave.

2057 West Bullard Ave.

1420 Clovis Ave.




CRAB FEED & AUCTION – February 23, 2018 Each year the Selma Chamber of Commerce sponsors an “All You Can Eat” Crab Feed and Auction. The event is held at the Monsignor Daniel Lopez Hall on the fourth Friday in February. The Crab Feed kicks off a year of family-oriented events in Selma and promises a great time for everyone. For more information call the Chamber office at 891-2235.

SELMA RAISIN FESTIVAL – May 2 thru May 6, 2018


MAKE IT! A trusted, locally owned business in downtown Selma Since 1954


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Let’s celebrate Selma, “The Raisin Capital” of the World – A ton of good food… a Raisin Run and Loads of Fun with your Family & Friends. It starts with Selma’s Lincoln Park the first Wednesday of May and goes through the first full weekend of May, 2018. This will include a 5 day carnival, food of all kinds. The Chamber will line up a variety of musical talent throughout the Festival. On Saturday May 5, 2018 in the Senior Center you will find Art, Baking, Floriculture, Photography, and Poetry along with scheduled presentations and demonstrations on related topics. The crowning of the Raisin Royalty will take place May 4, 2018. All of these combined produces the 2018 Raisin Festival.

COMMUNITY INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION – July 3, 2018 Come celebrate our nation’s independence in Selma at Staley Stadium every July 3rd, sponsored by the City of Selma, Selma Chamber of Commerce, the Selma American Legion Post 12 and many other local businesses and individuals. The evening begins with great music by local musicians, delicious food and activities for the kids. The Selma skies are filled with red, green, yellow and blue as musically choreographed fireworks begin at dark. Come Home – Honor America in a Grand Way – Celebrate Selma on July 3, 2018.



Martin Jewelers


The Holiday season is kicked off by the arrival of Santa and the Christmas Parade starting at 5:30 pm on Saturday, December 2. There will also be craft and food booths along with music to enjoy.

2363 Whitson St., Selma




For more information, call

We love the Central Valley because it celebrates history and entertains right now

Reedley’s grand old opera


River City Theatre Company brings contemporary performances to one of the oldest buildings in Reedley. The Jansen Opera House — along with Reedley’s first bank, real estate and insurance offices — was built by Danish grain merchant Jesse Jansen in 1903 following a fire that destroyed two main blocks in the city’s downtown area. Today, the brick building serves as a multipurpose community center that holds the echoes of decades of traveling stage shows, operettas, community plays, political speeches, concerts, town meetings, graduations and church revivals in its walls. It’s been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1986. Everything from “West Side Story” to “Sweeney Todd” to “Little Shop of Horrors” has been performed in the theater in the past decade. River City Theatre Company just wrapped up “Young Frankenstein,” but you can catch upcoming show “Legends: One Hit Wonders” from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10. Join the performers for a journey through decades to celebrate such jams as “Achy Breaky Heart,” “Whip It” and “Ice Ice Baby.” Elvis impersonator Jeremy “Elvis” Pearce is set to close the season on Nov. 18 and 19. Details: www.reedleyriver

A tale of two ‘Foxes’


The large chain of opulent Fox Theatres of the late 1920s were built by Fox Film Corporation studio owner William Fox. In 1929, Fox merged with West Coast Theatres to form Fox West Coast Theatres. Theaters in those days featured vaudeville acts, which soon gave way to motion pictures. As television became popular, the movie houses fell into disrepair. But many of the theaters have since been reincarnated. Two of which are here in the Central Valley: the Historic Hanford Fox Theatre and the Visalia Fox Theatre.

Historic Hanford Fox Theatre In December 1929, the grand opening of the Fox Theatre in Hanford was front-page news. Built in 1929, and one of more than 900 across the United States, the Hanford Fox Theatre is designed as an atmospheric theater. This type of theater is designed to create the illusion of being located in a romantic far-off place, according to its website. The locale is a Spanish courtyard, complete with twinkling stars and crescent moon in a dark night sky. Tile-covered buildings feature lighted windows, balconies and turrets, silhouetted and backlit by the glow of a village beyond. A mural on the theater’s fire-proof screen depicts a Spanish village with church bell tower, cypress trees and terra cotta-roofed buildings. The building was purchased by historic preservationist J. Daniel Humason in 1979. Together with his family, they reopened the theater for movies in 1982, and soon after, hosted its first live concert since the old days. The stage continues to exhibit live entertainers. Silent films and movies are still shown during special times, benefits and film festivals. The restored 1929 Historic Hanford Fox Theatre, with its 889 seats downstairs, is the largest sloped-floor auditorium in Kings County. The balcony, originally with 350 seats, now

has 142 plush rocking chairs, and snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine are served. And don’t miss the vast collection of movie posters on display. Upcoming shows include: t “Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at 2 p.m., Aug. 19 t “Grease” at 7 p.m., Aug. 31 t Country singer Brian Davis at 8 p.m., Sept. 15 t Guitar player Dave Mason at 8 p.m., Sept. 22 t Marshal Tucker Band at 8 p.m., Oct. 12 t Pink Martini at 7 p.m., Dec. 1 For information on upcoming events, call (559) 584-7423. To speak to someone at the box office or to charge tickets by phone, call (559) 584-7823. The Historic Hanford Fox Theatre is at 326 N. Irwin St. in Hanford. Details:

Visalia Fox Theatre The Visalia Fox Theatre opened in 1930 and was a grand showplace for more than 40 years. Fox West Coast Theaters promised its grand new theater would be an all-talky movie house, so it contracted with Western Electric to provide the

highest quality sound and much of the projection equipment. Construction, which cost $225,000, included an elaborate foyer with an Oriental atmosphere. Inside the auditorium, the audience was surrounded by a garden court of an East Indian ruler with a blue sky and stars above and towering temples at either side of the stage. In the early days of the theater, live acts dominated the stage. Visalia residents recall watching singers, dancers, roller skaters, impressionists, magicians, hypnotists and both amateur and professional concerts. In 1976, the Fox was divided into three theaters, and that division brought the end of the era of Saturday afternoons at the theater watching a newsreel, a serial, a cartoon or two, plus a double feature. The Fox continued to show first-run movies for 20 more years, until November 1996 when the opening of a 12-plex at the Sequoia Mall brought the closing of the theater after 66 years, according to the Visalia Fox Theatre website. But immediately after the theater was closed, the Friends of the Fox was formed. Its goal was to acquire the building, restore it to its original glory and make it a performing arts venue. On Nov. 20, 1999, the Fox reopened, beautifully restored. Upcoming shows include: t Kansas at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 3 t Marlon Wayans at 8 p.m., Sept. 8 t Tulare County Symphony presents October is For Lovers at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 7. t Tulare County Symphony presents Behind the Czar: Protest and Praise at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 11 t Tulare County Symphony presents Holiday Madness at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 16 Tickets: Tulare County Symphony office at (559) 732-8600 or visit online at t Sons of the San Joaquin Presents A Traditional Christmas Celebration at 3 p.m., Dec. 23 Visalia Fox Theatre is at 308 W. Main St. in Visalia. Details: (559) 625-1369,


HOME! Living in the Central Valley has its perks. From the Pacific Ocean and giant redwoods, to locally grown fruits and vegetables that are second to none, Central California is filled with countless precious resources.

Yet you’ll soon discover that the Valley’s most valuable resource are the people within it.

Table Mountain Casino proudly celebrates 30 years of being a part of the Central Valley, and you’re invited to join in the celebration! Table Mountain loves locals to play and win — so come visit, and you’ll see why the locals love Table Mountain too.

8184 Table Mountain Road, Friant, CA 93626 559.822.7777 I Must be 18 years to game. Management reserves all rights.

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Living Here | 2017 47

We love the Central Valley because it makes us feel

Performances of gold


Oakhurst’s Golden Chain Theatre is the result of a passionate group of community members who put their own houses up as collateral in 1972 to purchase a bowling alley and convert it into a theater. The troupe had been performing historical theater and melodrama together since 1967 when they decided tourists heading up to Yosemite National Park needed a reason to stop and spend money in Oakhurst. Audiences outgrew the Oakhurst Community Center, and the Snowline Bowling Alley was then revamped into the theater it is today. Golden Chain Theatre, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a Golden Gala on Sept. 9, aims to bring plays and musicals that intrigue the public while staying true to its tradition of melodrama and traveling shows. You can still catch a performance of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, No

AJennifer Moore, a member of Teena Hageman’s Dance Fusion, performs an aerial routine during intermission at the Golden Chain Theatre.

Change,” a comedic musical that examines relationships. Next up will be “Dial M For Murder,” running

Sept. 15 to Oct. 1. Details:

We love the Central Valley’s gaming options

A gamble worth taking


The Central Valley’s casinos offer patrons top-notch dining, entertainment, recreational and relaxing experiences and gaming that would have anyone feeling lucky. After all, what’s fun without a little risk? Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Madera counties each claim a unique venue of their own — Table Mountain Casino, Eagle Mountain Casino, Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino and Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino, respectively — along with smaller casinos dotted throughout the four-county region. From slot machines, table games to poker and bingo, the industry’s latest and greatest can be found at any of these locations. And if the chance to win big isn’t enough of a draw, a slate of diverse performers like Sinbad, Scotty McCreery, Anjelah Johnson and Cheech and Chong are making stops in the Central Valley at the casinos’ various venues. Visit their websites to purchase tickets and see full appearance lineups. Both Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold

48 2017 | Living Here

and Lemoore’s Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino offer guests a comfortable place to relax, as well as some extra pampering with their special spa services and packages. Table Mountain Casino provides an added outdoor amenity for golfers in search of plush, 140-acres of rolling hills to play on: Eagle Springs Golf and Country Club. The 18-hole championship course is open to members and guests alike, including access to its breakfast and lunch menus served at the country club. Details:,,,

We love the Central Valley because it is inclusive

Films for everyone


The sixth oldest — and one of the largest — LGBTQ+ film festivals in the United States happens each September right here in the Valley. Nearly 10,000 people flock to Fresno’s Tower District during the five-day festival, which features 40 to 50 films in two venues. “It’s a big-city film festival with a small-town feel,” says Reel Pride vice president and communications director Augie Blancas. “We bring mainstream films, documentaries and short films that wouldn’t necessarily hit the mainstream movie theaters. We also look at what’s being made locally, or if there are any Fresno connections to a star or a director.” The festival will celebrate its 28th year during its run from Sept. 20 through 24. “It started at Fresno State and Peter Robertson, one of the founders, is still currently on our board,” Blancas says. Besides looking at mainstream movies, board members viewed about 100 submissions this year, ranging from short films to feature length movies from a wide variety of genres — drama, comedy, horror, documentaries and more. “Our mission has always been the same — to create the conversation, promote diversity, promote acceptance and understanding of the LGBT community, but we do it through the universal language of film,” Blancas says. “Everybody loves to come to a movie. Yes, we are an LGBT film festival, but there are films for everyone.” This year’s theme is Together, Blancas explains. “We also want to invite our allies, our friends, to enjoy a film with us.” Details:

We love the Central Valley because we love teams that ...

Take us out to the ball game


America’s pastime involves so much more than watching a baseball game. The entire experience — the feel of summer heat, the smell of beef franks and taste of Cracker Jack, the boom and dazzle of post-game fireworks — has become a family tradition for many in the Valley. Our area is home to two minor league baseball teams: the Fresno Grizzlies, the Triple-A Affiliate of the Houston Astros, and the Visalia Rawhide, the Class A Advanced Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Every home game follows a theme or promotion, from Dog Days at the Ballpark, when you get to bring your pup along for the game, to Star Wars Night to Lego Weekend. Some go to Fresno Grizzlies games almost entirely for the food. (Who can blame them? After all, the Grizzlies play as the Fresno Tacos on Tuesdays.) Besides the traditional fare like hot dogs and french fries, fans flock to the food vendors for unique cuisine creations like this year’s Taco Tots and The Chickle — that’s spicy chicken stuffed into a large dill pickle. But that’s certainly not to take away from the success and strength of the actual team. The Grizzlies won the Triple-A National Championship in 2015, claiming a franchise record 91 victories in the season. Kiddos have a special affinity for Grizzlies mascot Parker and Rawhide mascot Tipper, whose hilarious antics between innings keep those with short attention spans engaged. Plus, Visalia Rawhide offers Kids Club memberships to its youngest fans. For $5, they get 10 tickets, a T-shirt and the chance to get players’ autographs and run the bases at every Sunday home game. Details:,

We love the Central Valley because we can’t get enough of the Red Wave

Go ’Dogs!


Lucky for us, there isn’t a lack of sporting events in the Central Valley. In fact, the agricultural region is home to Fresno State Athletics. Fresno State — known as the Bulldogs — is recognized for producing world-class student-athletes like Derek Carr, NFL player for the the Oakland Raiders; Ryan Mathews, NFL player for the Philadelphia Eagles; Paul George, a NBA player for the Indiana Pacers; Laura Berg, three-time Olympic gold medalist; Trent Dilfer, former NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens; and Lane Kiffin, head coach for Florida Atlantic University.

In 2008, the baseball team of 27 student-athletes won the 2008 NCAA Division I College World Series Championship. Ten years prior, the softball team scored the prestigious title. In early 2016, the wrestling program was reinstated after a 10-year hiatus. With Troy Steiner at the helm, the wrestling program starts competition in winter 2017. Also making headlines: The women’s water polo program will debut for the first time in spring 2018. Details:

Living Here | 2017 49

We love the Central Valley because it keeps us humming

Music to our ears


The Central Valley is fortunate to have two professional symphony orchestras, delighting lovers of classical masterworks along with contemporary pieces. Both orchestras hold a couple of pops concerts per year, playing popular music, show tunes and film scores. Tulare County Symphony, under the direction of Bruce Kiesling, will enter its 58th season in October, following the theme of Gods and Heroes. But first, catch the symphony’s performance at Pops in the Park on Sept. 9. To kickoff a new season on Oct. 7, the symphony will focus on famous lovers from two of Shakespeare’s plays — “Romeo and Juliet” and “Don

Juan” — with pieces from Mendelssohn, Greig, Strauss and Prokofiev. The Fresno Philharmonic will enter its 64th season on Oct. 15 with a new musical director at the helm. Rei Hotoda was hired in June and is the first woman conductor in the symphony’s history. She aims to reach a wider audience and bring a more diverse community into Saroyan Theatre by performing a huge range of pieces. “I want to showcase and highlight these great pillars of orchestral repertoires while also showcasing new contemporary pieces that go along with them,” she says. Hotoda also values incorporating local musicians and composers as

Music and motors


Selma Concerts in the Park draw families to Lincoln Park every Friday night in August to enjoy dancing to live music and the chance to picnic at sunset. But the city’s main event is the Parkin’ In The Park Car Show, set for Saturday, Sept. 16. More than 150 cars will be on display at the show, which is in its 12th year, says Bob Allen, Selma Chamber of Commerce executive director. “It’s an open show, so there are a variety of different makes and models,” he says. “We don’t limit the years, so we’ll have new classic cars out there as well as older, vintage cars.” Attendees can enjoy a breakfast prepared by the Selma Lions club for $5, then spend the day strolling through food and craft vendor booths and aisles of pristine cars. “They have the opportunity to spend the day looking at absolutely magnificent vehicles,” Allen says. “These are people’s babies.”

50 2017 | Living Here

ATulare County Symphony musicians perform.

much as possible. “We really tried to reach out into the community and bring a collaborative environment into the philharmonic this season,” she says. Details: www.tularecounty,

Dinner and a show


Dinner and a show — a combination that is cliché by nature, but rightfully so. It just works. Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater founders Roger Rocka and Dan Pessano tapped into the concept in 1978, creating a space for Pessano’s theater troupe, Good Company Players, to regularly perform, and a unique live theater experience for Central Valley audiences. Good Company Players runs like a well-oiled machine nearly 40 years later, presenting six musical comedies each year that range from the well-known to the more obscure. The Tower District venue offers various performance options with formats that are straight-forward enough: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings include a dinner and/or show, while Sunday offers a buffet brunch and/or show experience for its matinee performance. But it’s the caliber of the productions, not the structure, that Rocka believes has helped establish Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater as a cornerstone of Fresno’s entertainment scene. From executive chef Eric DeGroot’s inspired menus that complement each show’s mood to the staff, performers and crew — it’s an entirely professional output. The remaining 2017 schedule includes performances of “Sister Act,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.” Tickets range in price from $32 to $60. Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater is at 1226 N. Wishon Ave. in Fresno. Details:

We love the Central Valley because it is a great place for families

Explore, play,learn BY: Janessa Tyler | PHOTOGRAPHY: Fresno Bee archives


In the Central Valley, there are several children’s museums that help shape the minds of children and teens through interactive displays and hands-on exhibits.

The Discovery Center The Discovery Center is a historical gem in southeast Fresno. Located on Winery Avenue, the 5-acre center is also home to the Roessler Winery — the oldest adobe building in Fresno. It also features the Miwok Bark Houses, built by local tribe members specifically for children to learn about Native American history. In addition to the Miwok Bark Houses, the Deutsch Cactus Garden is a collection — obtained by Fred and Perle Deutsch — of cacti from Southern California, Arizona and Mexico. It has been at The Discovery Center since 1995. Despite having to jump a number of obstacles (an electrical fire and two burglaries of several reptiles), The Discovery Center remains optimistic. When you wander inside The Discovery Center, there are interactive exhibits on topics such as geology, archeology, anatomy and botany. Take a look at reptiles like snakes, turtles and lizards, as well as learn about dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus. As a nonprofit organization, The Discovery Center doesn’t receive funding from the City of Fresno. It relies on the generosity of volunteers to keep the grounds in tip-top shape. The Discovery Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit: 937 N. Winery Ave., Fresno Details: (559) 251-5533,

The Children’s Museum of the Sierra Located in Oakhurst, the Children’s Museum of the Sierra is a wonderland of opportunities to discover, imagine and create. The 4,000-square-foot museum offers hands-on experiences for pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade children. It opened to the community in 1997 — thanks to a grant awarded by the United Way of Madera County. As a member of the Consortium of Southern Yose-

mite Museums, the Children’s Museum of the Sierra is located near Yosemite National Park. It operates under the Educational Enhancement Foundation, a private nonprofit organization. The stimulating exhibits allow children to explore occupations like a doctor, nurse, biologist, paleontologist, firefighter and police officer. Children can also identify letters, words and sentences; learn about shapes, sizes and colors; and learn ways to recycle at home. The Children’s Museum of the Sierra is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visit: 49269 Golden Oak Drive, Oakhurst Details: (559) 658-5656,

ADuring the summer, The Discovery Center hosts four short-term workshops that focus on an array of topics — such as chemistry, zoology, aerodynamics and paleontology — for children and tweens.

ImagineU Children’s Museum Founded by Angela Huerta in 2002, ImagineU Children’s Museum proves that science is interesting by providing a multitude of exhibits and activities for children and tweens in Visalia. Exhibits include “Grove Pick and Pack,” funded by Booth Ranches; “Ready, Set, Grow,” funded by First 5 of Tulare County; “Imagination Station,” funded by the Otis Booth Foundation and “Wonderful Water,” funded by California Water Services Company. Areas of activities include the Oak Tree Clubhouse, Christman Harmony Park, U-Fix-It Garage, Angela’s Castle and Imagination Playground. The After-School Enrichment Program runs Monday through Friday — giving children a chance to receive help on homework. ImagineU Children’s Museum offers a workshop during the summer. Each week focuses on a topic such as the performing arts, robotics and science, aquatics and zoology. Visit: 700 E. Main St., Visalia Details:

Living Here | 2017 51

We love the Central Valley’s wild side

Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s exhibits are top-notch family fun


Where can you observe a pride of lions in their natural habitat, touch a school of stingrays, feed a family of giraffes and watch as sea lions mingle with harbor seals? Answer: Fresno Chaffee Zoo. For more than eight decades, Fresno Chaffee Zoo has remained a family-friendly destination in the Central Valley. It houses more than 190 species including tigers, orangutans, ring-tailed lemurs, flamingos, wolves and giant anteaters. In addition to being a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Fresno Chaffee Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Today, Fresno Chaffee Zoo boasts award-winning exhibits like Sea Lion Cove. It opened on Aug. 27, 2012, after 11 months of construction. As a way to emulate the Central Coast, Sea Lion Cove features four vantage points, including Pacific Point View. It was honored with the AZA Top Honor Exhibit Award on Sept. 16, 2014. The newest exhibit is African Adventure, which resembles the plains and savannas of Africa. It houses a pride of lions, cheetahs, elephants, white rhinoceroses, zebras, wildebeests, ostriches and giraffes. It includes a restaurant called Kopje Lodge, which serves made-to-order meals and snacks. The 13-acre expansion has welcomed more than 1 million people since opening in October 2015. More attractions and more animals are on the way. Chaffee Zoo’s African Adventure will grow so it can host an animal that has been missing from the zoo for more than a decade. The project to bring a hippo back to the zoo will also add or improve quarters for several other animals and include a children’s water play area with shade for the Valley’s hot summer days. The projects are funded by Measure Z, and are expected to cost up to $60 million. The African River project will include a 150,000-gallon hippo pool, land for hippos AA cheetah is shown in his to roam and an exhibit at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. underwater viewing

area. It will also provide areas for Nile crocodiles, Guenon (an African primate), spotted-neck otters and African birds. The exhibit is expected to open in 2020, 15 years after hippos were last on display at the zoo. Designs for a new Asia exhibit are also under way. Tiger enclosures will be expanded, as will those for sloth bears and other species. These exhibits will be housed where the giraffes were, in the center of the zoo. Animals in that area — giraffes, zebras and AChisulo, Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s male lion, warthogs — will be watches over the African Adventure exhibit. or have been moved to the African Adventure area. Other improvements planned will allow the orangutans to have a slightly larger area, heating and air conditioning, part of a project that wasn’t completed because of a lack of money when the Sunda Forest opened 17 years ago. Another project that won’t necessarily be on display to guests is a nutritional center for the animals, to replace the antiquated food-prep area in use now, which was built 70 years ago. The zoo has outgrown that facility. The new center will have a walk-in refrigerator and freezer, dry storage, a large kitchen and laundry and break areas. It will also have a studio apartment for staff who must stay on grounds if an animal has overnight needs, such as an injury or birth. The zoo will be open during construction. Watch for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s seasonal events: Producers Ice Cream Zoofari, August; Valley PBS Kids Nite, September; Safari Night, September; ZooBoo, October; and ZooLights, November and December. Educational camps are held in the summer, fall and winter when school is released for the holidays. Details:

Living Here | 2017 53

We love the Central Valley because we believe in people

We love the Central Valley because it allows us to ...

Tumbling to break down barriers

Step back in time


The catalyst for Fresno’s Break the Barriers began with the bond between two local siblings: Deby Hergenrader and her late sister, Kathy Mullen. Hergenrader was a national gymnastics champion; Mullen, who was born with Down syndrome, was a four-time International Special Olympics Champion. And it is through their shared experience of athletics that Hergenrader hoped to create a space where people of all abilities could do the same. From founders Deby and Steve Hergenrader’s backyard in 1982 to a 32,000-square-foot facility, Break the Barriers has grown to feature a diverse, robust program that focuses on areas like aerial dance, gymnastics, swimming and aquatics to archery, music and sign language. The goal: foster awareness, understanding and acceptance for people of various abilities, while encouraging each student to reach their full potential. The nonprofit organization is also home to the performing ensemble, The International Barrier Breakers — utilizing the power of performance to showcase just how compelling all-inclusive programs can be all around the globe. It’s earned recognition by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Special Education as the “National Role Model for Inclusion.” Details:

54 2017 | Living Here


Tour a bit of Valley history in Pioneer Village, which sits on about 15 acres of Selma at 1880 Art Gonzales Parkway and includes buildings constructed in the 1880s. The late Art Gonzales, born in 1896 in the rural Selma area, collected agriculture artifacts and anything else that he thought would someday have historical value, says Selma director of recreation Mikal Kirchner. “It is because of his early interest in the preservation of the pioneer way of life, that so much of our heritage has been preserved,” Kirchner says. Visitors to Pioneer Village can walk through a Queen Anne Victorian home, St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church, the Unger Opera House, a railroad depot, a doctor’s office and Selma’s first schoolhouse. Housed in and around these buildings is a collection of agricultural equipment and tools, household furnishings, toys and antique medical and office equipment. Picnic areas and an expansive lawn serve as host to Selma’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween IT LIVES event and Mariachi Festival. The village can also be rented for special occasions. Details:

We love the Central Valley because our little ones can thrive

Valley Children’s gives top-quality care


Madera County is home to a slew of notable endeavors (ahem, wine trail). But probably one of its most significant: Valley Children’s Hospital. With 358 licensed beds and a medical staff of 550-plus physicians, Valley Children’s Healthcare is one of the nation’s largest pediatric healthcare networks, according to its website — treating “more inpatient cases than any pediatric hospital north of San Diego.” The state-of-the-art facility and nonprofit organization treats children facing common to more serious and chronic health conditions — its reach spanning the areas of pediatric cancer and blood diseases to heart disease, seizure disorders and chronic lung disease and asthma. Valley Children’s Hospital performs more than 12,000 pediatric surgeries annually, while still managing to retain some of the lowest mortality rates in the country when it comes to caring for its sickest pediatric and neonatal units’ residents. Last year, the hospital was ranked as one of the best in neonatology by the U.S. News & World Report, highlighting Valley Children’s Hospital’s Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and its advanced care for Central California’s most fragile patients. And the accolades keep on coming. The U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Children’s Hospital rankings listed the hospital in three pediatric specialties: Pediatric Orthopedics, Pediatric Diabetes & Endocrinology and Pediatric Gastroenterology & Gastrointestinal Surgery. The 11th annual rankings feature’s the U.S.’s top 50 pediatric facilities, and was established to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. Details:








LAREDO Lemoore




We love the Central Valley because we don’t need an ocean to ...

We love the Cetnral Valley because there is always something to do when we want to ...

Catch a wave



No, really. There’s actually a place in the Central Valley where locals can experience the rush of catching the perfect wave — all from the controlled, indoor environment at Lindsay’s McDermont Field House and Sports Center. The 172,000-square-foot Tulare County venue transformed from an abandoned fruit packinghouse into a state-of-the-art facility in 2008, quickly becoming a go-to destination for all things fun for regional families, groups, businesses and friends. McDermont Field House and Sports Center houses an eclectic variety of attractions and recreational amenities in its sprawling space, including the Eagle Mountain Rock Climbing Wall, Lightspace Dance Floor, arcade, soccer fields and an aquatics center. But its coolest gig during the warmer months? The Flowrider, of course. Guests bring their best swimwear and towels to lineup for the powered Flowrider experience, which simulates the dynamic current of the Pacific Ocean and can prove just as challenging to gain control over. Riders are supplied with boards to stay afloat on — some participants choosing to ride the waves on their bellies while others shred the waters from their (impressively) balanced feet. Attendants oversee the attraction at all times to help provide instruction and


ensure the safety of all riders. The complex’s Premium and Deluxe members have unlimited access to the Flowrider; all day passes for the McDermont Field House and Sports Center cost $20 per person, ages 14 and older. Guests must be 42 inches tall and sign a waiver to ride. Groups can also reserve the Flowrider for larger parties — up to 30 people — at a fee of $300 an hour. The ride operates from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Details:

Fresno Greek Fest, 4 p.m. to midnight, Aug. 4, 11 a.m. to midnight Aug. 5 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2219 N. Orchard St., Fresno. Considered California’s premier Greek Festival, this event features homemade Greek food, pastries, music, art and entertainment. Tickets cost $6 for adults. Seniors and children under age 12 are admitted free. Ticket discounts are available online. Details: (559) 233-0397,

September Central California Women’s Conference, 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19, Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center, 848 M St., Fresno. CCWC is a one-day conference serving women of all generations, ethnicities and backgrounds. The forum educates and facilitates idea-sharing about how to succeed personally and professionally in life while juggling the increasingly complex and diverse demands of family and community. CCWC also serves women who are struggling, as it has donated more than $900,000 to community organizations that serve women. Tickets cost $110 and sell out quickly. Student and bulk rate tickets are available. Details:

October We love the Central Valley because we’re all wet

Water parks offer sweet relief from Valley’s heat


It’s hot outside — a fact we’ve all come to accept living in the Central

Valley. And while the summer season can prove nearly unbearable at its height (we’re looking at you, July and August), Fresno County offers two spots that are a lot cooler than the norm. Clovis’ Wild Water Adventure Park and Island Waterpark in Fresno provide a fun reprieve with a collection of slides, inner tube and mat rides, pools and unique water park experiences that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Forty-three-year-old Wild Water

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Adventure Park is the oldest of the two; its trees helping to shade most of the destination’s acreage, which includes three lakes for anglers to fish from. The Blue Wave, a 30,000-squarefoot wave pool and the largest in the state, creates massive waves up to 4 feet high for guests to bob along throughout the day, and is one of Wild Water Adventure Park’s most popular attractions. Island Waterpark is home to a wave pool of its own with the Bondi Beach, but its Waimea “Lazy” River is one of the park’s most unique aspects. People can travel along the ride’s

gentle current — with or sans an inner tube — with different access points along its winding run. For more adventurous exploits, see Wild Water Adventure Park’s newest high-thrill rides, the Kaleidoslide and Drop Zone, and the Thrills of Mexico over at Island Waterpark for an extra dose of speed. Family raft rides at both parks — the Island Waterpark’s Singapore Tsunami and Wild Water Adventure Park’s Thunder Falls — are a great way to get the whole gang involved. Details:,

The Big Fresno Fair, daily from Oct. 4 to 15, 1121 S. Chance Ave., Fresno. The Big Fresno Fair is what county fairs are all about. From cows to corn dogs, art and cinnamon rolls, The Big Fresno Fair has it all. Big-name acts will entertain at the Table Mountain Concert Series at the Paul Paul Theater. Announced so far: Chris Young, Chicago, Granger Smith, Brian Wilson and Gabriel Iglesias. Adult fair admission costs $12. Concert ticket prices vary. Discounts for children, seniors and military are offered, as are special promotion days. Details:

November Visalia’s Candy Cane Lane Parade, 7 p.m. Nov. 27, a 1.5-mile route from Main Street from Liberty to Conyer Avenues. This annual community tradition is the official kick-off to the Christmas season and features bands and traditional parade floats celebrating the upcoming season. Details: (559) 713-4531

December Annual Trek to the Nation’s Christmas Tree, Dec. 10. Take a chartered bus ride to the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park. Buses leave at 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. from the Sanger Chamber of Commerce office, 1789 Jensen Ave., Suite B, Sanger. A continental breakfast included in the $55 ticket price for regular and lunch-bus ticket holders. A dinner ticket, which will include a meal at Grant Grove, costs $85. Ticket reservations need to be made by Nov. 27 and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and are expected to sell out. The General Grant Tree was declared the Nation’s Christmas Tree in 1926 by President Calvin

Coolidge. In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared this tree a National Shrine as a memory to honor those who have given their lives for their country. Details: (559) 875-4575,

January Resolution Run, 8 a.m. Jan. 1. Skip the New Year’s Eve merriment because at 8 a.m. you can run your way into the new year. The annual Resolution Run features a 4-mile run/walk, a 2-mile run/walk and fun runs for children. Ticket prices vary depending on the event you run and prices increase after Oct. 31. The event benefits the Sierra Challenge Express. Details:

February World Ag Expo 2018, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 13 to 14 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 15, International Agri-Center, 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare. In 2016, the world’s largest annual agricultural exposition celebrated its 50th year. It featured 1,480 exhibitors on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space at the International Agri-Center. The three-day show hosted 105,780 attendees representing 43 states and 71 countries. Tickets cost $15 for adults. Children under age 6 are admitted free. The event features displays of ag equipment, home and gardening demonstrations, food and more.

March Rogue Festival, March 1 to 10 in Fresno’s Tower District. The area’s most successful arts festival will feature performing arts in a wide variety of venues. Ticket-holders can feast on the variety of expression this festival presents. The festival, in its 17th year, is organized by volunteers. Details:

April Clovis Rodeo, April 26 to 29. Tickets to the annual Clovis Rodeo go on sale in January 2018. The rodeo itself features everything you would expect, PBR and PRCA rodeo performances, bronco bucking, roping and riding and country concerts. Add in an annual parade and the best-tasting tri-tip sandwiches in the area and this event should not be missed. Details:

May Kingsburg Swedish Festival, traditionally held the last weekend in May, the Kingsburg Swedish Festival celebrates everything Sweden. From raising of the May pole, cultural dancing, the crowning of the Swedish Queen and an art and craft fair, this event is an tradition that has lasted more than 50 years. Details:

June JugFest, traditionally held the first weekend in June, is a country-music fan’s go-to event for summer. In 2017, Randy Houser was the headliner. He was joined by five other acts on the cool grass at the Groppetti Automotive Festival Grounds at Mooney Grove Park, 27000 S. Mooney Blvd., in Tulare. The event is free, with reserve seating available for $30 or $50. Details:

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We love the Central Valley’s ...

Cultural bliss


It has been said that America is a melting pot. The United States is home to a wide variety of cultures, traditions and values. In the Central Valley, we do our part to embrace the cuisine, music and literature of various cultures through family-friendly events. The Fresno Greek Festival celebrates the cuisine of Greece. Each year, the festival attracts more than 30,000 people to taste their way through southeastern Europe (imagine Greek fries and phyllo-layered pastries). Mark your calendar for Friday, Aug. 25 through Sunday, Aug. 27 at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Details: The Fresno Scottish Society presents the Fresno Highland Gathering and Games on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Kearney Park. While listening to Scottish folk music, watch men and women test their strength during the Highland games. And, of course, there will be plenty of Scottish cuisine like haggis (a savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck), crumpets and Cullen skink (a soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions). Details: The Kingsburg Swedish Festival brings an array of flavor and entertainment to Fresno County. The festival, hosted by the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce, is held at the Kingsburg Swedish Village on the third weekend in May.

AMembers of the Kefi dancers cheer on dancers from the Kardoulamou Greek dancing group on the main stage during the 55th Annual Greek Festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Fresno. The three-day festival features a variety of Greek foods and pastries as well as imported drinks, dancing and music.

It pays tribute to the Swedish heritage of Kingsburg — located less than 30 miles from Fresno. The cuisine of Scandinavia includes the buffet-style meal known as a smörgåsbord. Popular dishes include Swedish pancakes, sausages and dumplings. Details:

We love the Central Valley’s love for all things fair-related

Fair enough


We’re all about county fairs in our ag-centric Valley. Whether you go for the livestock sales, the art shows, the rides, the concerts, or hey, just the giant hot dogs and cinnamon rolls, there’s a fair to flock to throughout the year.

ABryson Berna and Ashton Cavin walk down the midway at the Kings Fair in Hanford.

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Madera District Fair Sept. 7 to 10, 2017 Tulare County Fair Sept. 13 to 17, 2017 620 S. K St., Tulare The Big Fresno Fair Oct. 4 to 15, 2017 1121 S. Chance Ave., Fresno

Next year Chowchilla-Madera County Fair May 17 to 20 1000 S. Third St., Chowchilla Kings Fair June 14 to 17 810 S. 10th Ave., Hanford


We love the Central Valley because we value old stuff

Clovis is an antique-lover’s town


Old Town Clovis isn’t a stranger to antique and collectible shops. Each and every corner is filled with repurposed furniture, industrial décor, architectural salvage and handmade crafts. Starting at Clovis Avenue and Fifth Street, wander your way through Good Ol’ Days Antiques. The 6,000-square-foot building features dozens of vendors that sell furniture, kitchenware, sets of china, linens and jewelry. If you travel along Fifth Street toward Pollasky Avenue, you’ll find Master Rosenbery’s Misc. Merchandise and Clovis Antique Mall. The Foundry Collective is nestled on Fifth Street near Woodworth Avenue. It sells a mix of new and old items and home décor and furniture from Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines. The Original 4th Street Antique Mall, Suquie’s Treasures and 5th Street Antiques are rooted on Pollasky Avenue. And if wandering through Old Town Clovis isn’t your gig, the historic area is home the Antiques & Collectibles Fair and Glorious Junk Days. The Old Town Flea Market, hosted by The Foundry Collective, is also a hit in the spring. Details:

We love the Central Valley’s mountain arts

Sierra Art Trails


Based in Oakhurst, Sierra Art Trails connects the arts to the community. The nonprofit arts organization will host the 2017 Yosemite Foothills Open Studio Tour from Friday, Sept. 29 to Sunday, Oct. 1 at businesses, studios and galleries throughout Madera and Mariposa counties. It will feature more than 100 local artisans who work with a wide range of media including paint, wood, metal and glass. They will showcase pottery, quilts, photographs, paintings, sculptures and jewelry. Artists come from Oakhurst, Coarsegold, North Fork, Nipinnawasee and Yosemite Lakes in Madera County and Midpines and Ponderosa Basin in Mariposa County. Each year, the Yosemite Foothills Open Studio Tour attracts thousands of visitors — including appreciators and buyers. Visitors receive a full-color, spiral-bound catalog with a list of artists and examples of their work. The Sierra Art Trails Preview Exhibit will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Monday starting on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Stellar Gallery, 40982 Highway 41, Oakhurst. Sierra Art Trails offers workshops, demonstrations, lectures and exhibits for local artists to showcase their work to the community. It also presents awards to schools, organizations and businesses that support the arts. Details:

We love the Central Valley’s nights

Arte Américas makes summer evenings sing


diverse — ranging from tribute bands The summer wouldn’t be to soloists who celebrate legendary the same without “Nights in the Plaza” at Arte artists like Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. Américas – Casa de la Cultura. Located The outdoor venue is picturesque with a view of the moon and the stars. in the heart of downtown Fresno, the Vendors are available to sell treats and Latino cultural center started beverages. operations nearly 30 years ago. It Tip: Bring a blanket or lawn chair to includes educational, family-friendly exhibits that feature local and maximize your comfort. The remaining schedule includes El international artists. Mariachi Alegre, Aug. 18; Heavy With the mission “to make Central Weather: A Tribute to Carlos Santana, California a flourishing place for Aug. 25; Ruben Hurtado y su Descarga, Latino arts,” the sunset concert series is the perfect addition to the largest Sept. 1; Los Hijos de José, Sept. 8; 40 ASteve Alcala of Rumba 32 Watt Hype, Sept. 15; Baila Esta Latino Cumbia: A Tribute to Selena, Sept. 22; cultural center in the Central Valley. and Latin Connection, Sept. 29. Each Friday, June through September (with the exception of July), a local band or musician Tickets cost $12 for adults, $10 for members of Arte Américas and $5 for children under age 10. charms the crowd for two hours. Details: The selection of top-tier entertainment is 60 2017 | Living Here

We love the Central Valley because ...

We value our veterans


In the Valley, we really love our military veterans. First, the Fresno Veterans Day Parade is said to be the largest west of the Mississippi. Held every Nov. 11 since 1919, the parade begins at 11:11 a.m. and lasts more than three hours. It features more than 10,000 veterans and participants in veterans organizations; color guards; marching units; elementary, middle, high school and college bands; fraternities, equestrian groups, antique car clubs and more. If you’re not able to make the drive to downtown Fresno, you can watch the live broadcast of the parade locally and worldwide. Secondly, preserving history is also important to Valley residents. Local radio host and the voice of the Fresno State Bulldogs, Paul Loeffler, hosts the weekly “Hometown Heroes” radio show AMembers from the Fresno Veterans Center carry a larger-than-life American flag that features interviews with veterans, down Fresno Street during the 2016 Veterans Day Parade. primarily from the WWII generation. Fresno State journalism professor Gary Rice launched the Central Valley Oral Histories Project in 2010, and students have interviewed nearly 600 veterans. Their stories and artifacts are kept in the Henry Madden Library on campus. Wartime artifacts have also been preserved in the Veterans Memorial Museum in downtown Fresno, the Clovis Veterans Memorial District in Old Town Clovis and in several other memorial entities throughout the Valley. Finally, we love to honor living veterans by sending them to Washington, D.C., to see the monuments of the wars in which they fought. The 13th Central Valley Honor Flight took place in April, and the flights will continue, organizers say, as long as private donations continue to fund them.

We love the Central Valley’s passion to celebrate just about anything

Hairy,but not so scary


With October on the horizon, we recommend befriending tarantulas — natives to the rocky hillsides of the Sierra Nevada foothills — because they will be emerging from their burrows within two months. But don’t fret, tarantulas don’t want to hurt you — they want to mate. The eight-legged creatures are harmless. They also play a vital role in the local ecosystem by eating insects that can destroy crops.

To educate the community about the importance of tarantulas, the Tarantula Awareness Festival is returning to Coarsegold. The festival is held on the Saturday before Halloween, giving you a chance to engage in traditional (and free!) activities and contests. Of course, the hairy arachnids will make an appearance. Don’t miss the festival on Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Coarsegold Historic Village along Highway 41. Details:

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We love the Central Valley’s incredible desire to ...

We love the Central Valley’s ...

Go Rogue

Websites and blogs


Fresno’s annual Rogue Festival will hit the city’s Tower District March 1 through 10, marking its 17th year as a key purveyor of the quirky and daring in the regional arts community. But for a festival that celebrates work that sits comfortably in off-the-beaten-path territory, the fringe festival is decidedly well-known and one of the most respected of its kind in the United States. With 300 original theater, music, dance, spoken word, performance art, comedy, physical theater and magic act performances, more than 3,000 attendees are drawn to the festival each year — eager to take in one-of-a-kind experiences at eight different Tower District venues. Most shows cost $10 or less, with the Rogue Festival’s popular 10-show pass allowing the public to take in a series of the event’s rapidly rotating performance schedule for a discounted rate of $80. The purchase of a $3 Rogue wristband acts as attendees’ general ticket into the festival, and goes toward the support of its survival. There’s an unofficial disclaimer that goes with the Rogue Festival: anything can happen. And while the shows’ spontaneity is a plus for many attendees, the event’s program and website give a rating for each show that ranges from a kids-friendly G to adult-only performances that better help families assess their festival agendas. Rogue Festival also hosts special events before and during the festival, including the Rogue Festival Muse Reveal, Rogue Festival Teaser Show and Beatdown Poetry Slam. Details:

ABelly Dance Coalition of the San Joaquin Valley members, Lisa Schmidt, Lisa Gipson, Denise Canu, pose for a photo before performing a sneak preview of their show “East Into West” at the Rogue Festival Teaser Show in 2016 at the Tower Theatre in Fresno.

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There’s no way to list them all, but let’s just give it a start. Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties are filled with creative sorts who make our corner of the internet a pretty fun place to hang. Weird Fresno: If you’re looking for a ghost or want to know where one might go about finding the spirit of another world, this is a good first stop: Fresno Teens: With the decidedly uncool name, this blog has the lowdown on what the library is offering the teen and pre-teen set, from manga in ebook form to Harry Potter Saturdays. Hermione would be all over this one. The site also offers book recommendations, movie and music reviews and an events calendar. Dorktown Podcast: The Dorktown Podcast was started in June 2005, back when Adam Curry was the “Podfather” of podcasting and junk. The podcast takes a humorous look at Fresno, craft beer, “Star Wars,” podcasting and music. The dork threesome of Bells, Mikey and Producer Becky also plays games, attempt comedy bits and interviews local musicians, creatives and fellow podcasters. If you like the Dorktown Podcast, check out the craft beer podcast called The Perfect Pour,, (hosted by Nick and Mike) and the classic Fresno talk podcast Flowing With Famous,, (hosted by The Fresno Bee’s Joshua Tehee and Mikey). Mrs. Priss: The author of this blog, Mrs. Priss herself, loves avocados. And rainbow chip frosting. Like, a weird amount. Her blog covers everything from motherhood to crafts and life in the Valley. Craft DIYs abound, as do stories of Dollar-tree finds and rude lions. Vintage Romance Style: This is a DIY and women’s lifestyle blog where health and happiness collide. On this blog, you’ll find projects ranging from home decor to simple crafts, recipes, fitness, beauty and a look into blogger Teryn Yancy’s life as a mom and the wife of a Fresno fireman. A Field Trip Life: Claire Annette Noland is a self-described reader, writer, teacher and traveler. On her kid-lit focused blog, she writes about “ideas for adventures large and small and the books that inspire them.” Kroll’s Korner: Healthful recipes from Clovis-based nutritionist Tawnie Kroll. She frequently uses local, seasonal ingredients to create drool-worthy dishes. Fashion, Love and Martinis: Amanda Allison, a Latina blogger from Fresno, shares stories about plus-size fashion, shopping and beauty, with sprinkles of self-acceptance. My Sweet California Life: If you’re wanting to create yummy California cuisine from a health food enthusiast, personal chef, secret cupcake eater and culinary school graduate, this is the place to start. t For clickable links, visit livinghere2017.


Our First Families are Loving The Lodge District.

As more and more people move into Riverstone, they’re finding that family fun is right outside their front doors. Whether it’s action-packed parks, inviting hiking and biking trails or the new resort-style community clubhouse known as The Lodge, there’s plenty to Look Forward to Life at Riverstone. We’d love for you and your family to join us.

Riverstone Upon Completion 2,000-acre community with walkable neighborhoods 115 acres of parks & open space | Miles of hiking & biking trails Future on-site schools | Dog Park | Community Farm | Nearby San Joaquin River | Sustainable water supply

MODELS NOW SELLING NOW OPEN Join the Interest List at From Fresno, go north on Highway 41, turn left at Avenue 12 and follow the signs.

©2017 Riverstone Development, LLC. Obtain a copy of the Public Report as required by Federal law and/or the Public Report issued by the California Bureau of Real Estate and read them before signing any documents. No Federal or State agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This advertisement is not a solicitation to purchase or sell property in any state where prohibited by law. The stylized R logo is a service mark of Riverstone Development, LLC. Riverstone and Riverstone Development are trade names of Riverstone Development, LLC.The San Joaquin River and River Park are located approximately six miles from Riverstone.







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AMTRAKSANJOAQUINS.COM | 1-800-USA- RAIL This offer is valid for up to (5) five 50pct off companion rail fares with the purchase of (1) one regular full adult rail fare. This offer is vaild for sale between 01May17- 28Apr18 and valid for travel between 03May17- 30Apr18. Blackouts apply on the following dates: 26May17, 29May17, 01Sep17, 04Sep17, 09Oct17, 21-22Nov17, 25-27Nov17, 22-24Dec17, 29-31Dec17, 02Jan18, 16Feb18, 19Feb18, 30Mar18, 02Apr18. Advance reservations are required a minimum of 2 days prior to travel. This offer is valid for travel on the San Joaquins and associated thruways; except not valid on the 7000-8999 thruways. Offer is valid on thruways to/from merced, Ca and Fresno, Ca to Yosemite National Park. The companion(s) and full fare passenger must travel together on the same itinerary and have tickets issued together. The companion(s) is subject to the same restrictions and conditions as the full fare passenger. This offer is valid for coach seats only; no upgrades permitted. Once purchased tickets are non-refundable; exchanges are permitted prior to the original travel date. This offer is not combinable with any other discount offer. In addition to the discount restrictions; this offer is also subject to any restrictions, blackouts and refund rules that apply to the type of fare purchased. Once travel has begun; no changes to the itinerary are permitted. Fares, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. Seating is limited; seats may not be available on all days. Fares are subject to availability. This offer is valid for new sales only; existing reservations do not apply. This offer is exclusively available at www.Amtrak.Com/san-joaquin/home. Amtrak and San Joaquins are registered service marks of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

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