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The SHARP Home

Pour l’Amour du Vin and All Things Mediterranean



An Evening in Venezuela



Fresh Stuffed Tomato Salad August 2013


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24 HOME TOUR The Sharp Home



Letter from the Executive Editor

5th Annual Guest Chef Series

10 Business Cents: It’s All About Technology

An Evening in Venezuela

14 Local Adventure: I-Pick, U-Pick, We All Pick!

12 Word Play 18 Community: ImagineU Dreambuilder Bash 20 History: The Fabulous Fox – A Proud Symbol of Visalia



40 Literary Arts: John Spivey


48 Kudos: Food Fight Against Hunger Benefits Visalia Rescue Mission

You Say Tomato, I Say Summer

50 Fashion

Fresh Stuffed Tomato Salad

54 Chamber: Exeter

52 Chamber: Visalia 56 Chamber: Tulare 58 Happenings



Vietnam An Affordable Adventure


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EXTERIOR: Captivating and impressive, the front yard and entrance of the Sharp home presents to its guests the Mediterranean ambiance they can expect behind its heavy door.



DMI Agency Evolutions Fitness Center, Tulare Tazzaria Coffee & Tea Tulare County Library The Lifestyle Center Visalia Chamber of Commerce Visalia Convention Center COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS

210 Cafe Creekside Day Spa & Wellness Center Exeter Chamber of Commerce Exeter Golf Course Holiday Inn Kaweah Delta Hospital Red Carpet Car Wash Smiles by Sullivan Tiffany’s Luxury Medispa Tulare Chamber of Commerce V Medical Spa Velvet Sky Visalia Community Bank (Downtown) Visalia Eye Center Visalia Imaging & Open MRI Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Wildflower Cafe-Exeter Dr. Keith Williams Williams, Jordan, Brodersen & Pritchett, Attorneys at Law Windows Plus, Inc.

ADVERTISING SALES Advertising Director Bridget Elmore Account Executive BRYCE McDONALD SALES OFFICE 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • Fax 559.738.0909 E-mail: VIEW THE MAG ONLINE!

Visalia Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 13,000 homes in the upper-middle and high-income neighborhoods in Visalia and Exeter. An additional 2,000 copies are distributed at various distribution points around both communities. Views expressed in columns are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of DMI Agency or its advertisers.

Circulation of this issue: 15,000 © 2013 DMI Agency


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LEFT: Unique and prominent, the entryway of the Sharp home features their monogram etched in powdered marble. COVER: Perhaps the focal-point of the home, the 500-bottle wine cellar is more than just a conversation starter, but a treasure chest of the Sharps’ mad passion.


SMILE! Dr. Sullivan is the Past President of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the only AACD Accredited Member in the Central Valley. Call us today for a free smile consultation!


Photo by Becca Chavez | Hair and Make-up provided by Velvet Sky

The thought of traveling to another country without a reservation makes me queasy. The thought of going to the coast for a night without a reservation makes me queasy. My friends and family often tease me about my need to over pack and over plan my trips. For instance, a year ago we booked a trip to Maui and I immediately started thinking about what I’d wear, if I could manage with only carry-on luggage, and where and what we’d eat. Two months ago I made arrangements for a short trip to see a friend, and almost immediately started packing. I’m not sure if that’s anxiety or my excitement to actually be taking a vacation. I prefer to believe the latter. Growing up during a war era, today when I daydream of my next vacation, Vietnam generally isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Not so for the younger generation, as I recently learned when my niece, Kelly Therrien, planned her first real vacation. My first thoughts were – why not Paris, or Belize, or Italy? But for her, with its beautiful landscape and affordability, Vietnam seemed the logical choice. A few weeks later 20-somethings Kelly and her best friend, Brielle, landed with a suitcase, but no hotel reservation. Starting on page 42, Kelly recounts her experiences as she navigates through the busy streets, finding her way to a hotel, and also some of the finest dining in all of Vietnam. No doubt, visitors to our bountiful Valley go home and rave about their dining experiences during their stay here; and, rightly so. Fresh vegetables, citrus and other fruits can be found all year long, but it’s summer that produces the most delicious tomatoes. Recently when Lifestyle contributor, Chef Elaine Dakessian recommended an entire culinary feature using juicy tomatoes we all but raised our arms in the air and said YES! On page 34, you’ll find recipes for Fresh Stuffed Tomato Salad with homemade Poppy Seed Dressing and Gazpacho, perfect for a hot summer night. This issue is filled with culturally diverse dining experiences and “5th Annual Guest Chef Series: An Evening in Venezuela” on page 16 rounds out the theme. For its fifth annual event, this year Family Services of Tulare County brought the colors and aromas of Venezuela for guests to enjoy. A little Samba, a little wine, and a pork chop in an orange and honey sauce all came together in one delicious evening, raising thousands of dollars for the organization. Until next month, may your life be filled with family, food and friends.

Karen Tellalian, EXECUTIVE EDITOR For more information or to submit a story idea email or call (559) 739-1747 or fax (559) 738-0909.


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It’s All About Technology Text by Erik Anderson, Keller Williams Realty Tulare County


echnology is changing nearly all aspects of our lives. On an almost-daily basis we hear about some new app, website or piece of technology with which we can connect to the world and access information not previously available. Getting information on nearly any subject is only a mouse click away. Real estate is no different. Today’s homebuyers are more tech savvy than ever. They want as much information as they can get about the cities, neighborhoods, schools and homes that they are researching, and they’re perfectly content to do their own research. According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), 96 percent of buyers used the Internet during the process, a significant rise from 28 percent in 2000, and 62 percent in 2005. Internet Use Additionally, according to CAR, the majority of buyers (70 percent) primarily accessed the Internet from their smart phones, 15 percent from their tablets, 8 percent from a laptop and 7 percent from a desktop. In addition to accessing the Internet, buyers used their mobile devices to look for comparable home prices (78 percent), search for homes (47 percent), communicate (45 percent), and research neighborhoods and amenities (44 percent). Real estate sites such as and Zillow are extremely popular. More than half of all buyers (54 percent) found their homes on one of these sites. The use of social media in the buying process continued increasing this year, with three-quarters of buyers utilizing it, compared to 52 percent in 2011. What does this mean to you? It means that if you’re planning to sell your home, your home needs to be online – and easily found. Only having your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) isn’t enough to properly market your property. Buyer Timeline Another point of interest is that buyers are taking their time to weigh their options as they conduct their research. The median number of weeks that buyers spent looking for a home with their agent also increased from nine weeks last year to 9.8 weeks this year. Communication Communication is a key component of any business relationship and the agent/buyer relationship is no exception. While agents meet expectations for the most part in email and in-person communication, there is room for improvement in communication by telephone and text message. According to CAR, only 17 percent of buyers prefer to communicate with their agents by telephone, yet it reported that 51 percent of agents communicated by telephone. There is a similar gap in text message communication; 29 percent of buyers claimed they prefer this method of communication, but only 5 percent of agents communicated by text message. 10

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Buyer Optimism While the real estate market is in recovery mode, buyer optimism about the future direction of home prices is growing; with the majority of buyers (60 percent) believing prices will go up in five years and 36 percent believing prices will rise in one year. This buyer optimism is an improvement from 2009 when 35 percent of buyers believed that prices would rise in five years and only 8 percent believed prices would rise in one year. What It Means The Internet is an increasingly important tool for homebuyers; more are finding their agents and homes online. Mobile technology is growing in popularity as they use their smartphones to look for house prices, search for properties, take photos and create videos of homes and amenities, and research communities and real estate agents. As a home seller, your real estate professional must adapt to changing customer needs and have a strong web presence. Your agent must be tech savvy and able to communicate effectively and efficiently with homebuyers and their respective agents. The next time you consider selling a home or property, take a few moments to test the tech skills and web presence of the agents you are considering hiring. Can you easily find them on the Internet with a Google search? How is their overall web presence? When you call, email or text them, how quickly do they respond? Make sure your agent is doing all they can to market your home or property online and offline.




hile we are waiting for a relief from the heat we might want to sit back and read a cool mystery from a hot new author. Retired lawyer David Lyons’ debut novel, Ice Fire (Simon & Schuster, 2012), tells the story of Jock Boucher, who is no sooner appointed to fill a vacancy as a federal judge than he discovers a major cover-up involving his predecessor and an energy company that is seeking a new form of fuel, even if they have to sink a mini-sub or dissolve a pesky judge in the process. Like Lyons, Marcia Clark (of O.J. Simpson fame) has made a career of the law – and so do her characters in Guilt by Association (Little, Brown and Company, 2011). In Clark’s debut novel, Rachel Knight uses her position as an assistant district attorney to investigate a sleazy crime her co-worker has been accused of, while simultaneously working on one of his former cases, despite warnings that she is stepping way out of line and clashing with the FBI. Since this debut, Clark has put her heroine in peril four more times, including her latest just out this June, Killer Ambition. Valley Writers Terrance V. McArthur of Sanger has a story in Mormons and Monsters (Peculiar Pages, 2011). In “The Blues Devils” a Mormon musician goes the time-honored route of making a deal with the devil. McArthur also contributes to the online magazine Kings River Life. Irene Morse is another Valley writer who contributes to Kings River Life. Gerald and Janice Haslam’s book, In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S.I. Hayakawa (University of Nebraska Press, 2011) has received the 2013 Award of Merit from the Leadership in History awards committee of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). The AASLH Leadership in History Awards is the nation’s most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state and local history. The book explores the character of the senator, college president, scholar, writer, poet and teacher all wrapped up in one flamboyant and controversial man. Festivals The Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle from August 31 to September 2 features a huge number of artists in fields from music to writing to visual to comedy to theater. Included in the line-up is the writing staff of NBC’s Parks and Recreation such as Alan Yang, David King and Megan Amram. Details for “Words & Ideas” at: PostSecret Four years ago the Visalia Library encouraged teens to take part in the project started by Frank Warren. Warren began his project by passing out postcards and asking people to return them to him anonymously with a secret on them. This developed into several books and a website. Secrets continue to be posted on the website.


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The postcards include various types of original art to illustrate the secret. Writers’ Conferences The Central Coast Writers’ Conference will be presented by the Cuesta College Community Programs on September 20–21. The keynote speaker will be Rebecca Rasmussen, the author of The Bird Sisters. Enrollment is limited. Details at: The Writer’s Digest Conference in Los Angeles will be held September 27–29. Keynote speaker will be Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gates – on Stranger Tides. Other presenters include Kitty Pilgrim who will discuss Telling Extraordinary Stories with Fact-Based Fiction and agent Susan Finesman who is seeking memoirs, historical fiction and non-fiction from expert authors. Registration: $599. Details at: Writing Contests Entries for The Greensboro Review’s Robert Watson Literary Prizes will be accepted until September 15. Prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded for poetry and fiction. Fiction entries limited to 25 pages and the poetry limit is 10 pages. Electronic submissions must be sent through Submittable. Fee: $14 per entry. Details at: The Carpe Articulum Literary Review holds multiple contests throughout the year. The deadline for the next Short Fiction and Poetry contests is September 30. Entries may have been previously published if the publication did not exceed 2,000 copies. First prize for short story is $1,250, for poetry, $400. Reading Fees: $20. Details at: Top 100 Since some books on Amazon’s rankings come in as number two million or lower, it has to be great for an author to see his book in the top 100 – even if it is number 100. A recent book in the number 100 spot was Summer Bridge Activities, Grades 1–2. This is a book of activities to keep children learning over the summer. The Summer Bridge series also includes books for higher grades. The Walking Dead, Vol. 18 by Robert Kirkman is another book that made it to number 100. This is a zombie tale in graphic novel format. The Last Word “If you violate Nature’s laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury and hangman.” — Luther Burbank (1849–1926)

010, 2011, 2009, 2 201 , 8 0 2 0 2




i-Pick, U-Pick We All Pick!



he time is here when fruit and veggies are just ripe enough to eat off of the vine, and now is your chance to pick your own. In the Central Valley our farms are famous for growing all sorts of agricultural products, from citrus to vegetables and everything in between. So why not take full advantage of our local surroundings and pick our own healthy eats? Start your own family tradition and spend a few hours getting your hands dirty by picking your afternoon snack with the family. Here are a few places that offer the U-pick option to the public: Rancho Notso-Grande, Hanford. Follow Highway 198 right on down to 12th St. and Excelsior in Hanford for this local adventure. Blackberries, Iris Pods and Raspberries are in full bloom during the August and September months at this particular U-pick farm.

Murray Family Farms, Bakersfield. Up in the hills of Bakersfield stands a big red barn that is hard to miss. Murray Family Farms is known for its fresh fruit provided daily in their indoor farmer’s market, as well as all kinds of yummy treats. They offer the U-pick option for fruits that are in season. Right now, those fruits are Blueberries, Blackberries, Nectarines, Pluots, Plums and Pears. SLO Creek Farms, San Luis Obispo. If you’re ever at the coast, make a pit stop at the SLO Creek Farms, where you can pick your very own apples. Grab one of their baskets and pick while you walk through large orchards with apples galore. Enjoy the luxury of having the local farms in the Central Valley at close reach and take a local adventure to one of the U-Pick farms. Picking your own produce is an inexpensive activity that is healthy and fun that gets you out of the house.

A FEW TIPS 1. Dress for the occasion: Wearing sunscreen and a hat (and maybe even some bug repellant) are essential when picking fresh produce. Closed-toed shoes are always recommended. Protecting yourself from Mother Nature can absolutely shape your family’s experience. 2. Stay hydrated: Water, ice tea, lemonade, pick your poison, but don’t leave your thirst quencher at home. Pack an ice chest with a few beverages in it, and leave room to take home your pickings. It will keep them cool and fresh on the drive home.

3. Do your research: Always call ahead to make sure the U-pick farm of your choice is in the correct location, offering U-pick produce during that season, and if their fruits or veggies are ripe for the picking. Making the drive out to the farm is well worth it, but only if you ask the right questions ahead of time. 4. Documentation: Memories can last a lifetime, especially if you bring your camera. Take a few snapshots of you or your family picking right from the tree and remember this outdoor experience. Make it a tradition, and take a new picture every year.



he 5th Annual Guest Chef Series benefitting Family Services of Tulare County brought the sights, sounds, colors and culinary creations of South America’s Venezuela to our South Valley. More than 170 guests were welcomed through brightly colored

doors into the Roseland Estate in Woodlake where they were transported to the beaches of Venezuela both visually and audibly. Guests were greeted by Los Angeles Samba Dancers (Passistas), dressed in the most stunning sequined bead-and-gemstone costumes adorned with tropical-colored feathers, and by the sounds of Flamenco guitarists Joseph Ochoa and Sal Madrigal of Lindsay High School’s Flamenco Guitar Club.

Venezue Text by Kyndal Kennedy | Photos by Aimee Sa

An Evening in


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From there, Event Chair Theresa LoBue ensured each guest had an array of Central Coast wines and beers to enjoy during social hour. The outdoor bar was fully stocked with reds and whites, allowing guests to sip on their favorite varietal and enjoy the company of those who attended the event. Guests happily socialized while Family Services Board President George Betancur proudly shared with almost each person what great works Family Services does for those in need in our community. Family Services is a non-profit agency in Tulare County, founded in 1983 to open a shelter for battered women and their children. From that humble beginning, the agency has grown, expanding its services in the process. Some of the programs implemented include Domestic Violence Services, Mental Health Services for adults and children, Sexual Assault Services, Supervised Visitation and Exchange, Violence and Abuse Intervention, and Parenting Resources and Support, along with an ever-expanding Supportive Housing program. Family Services serves over 3,000 Tulare County residents by the mission of “helping children, adults, and families throughout Tulare County heal from violence and thrive in healthy relationships,” explained Executive Director Caity Meader. Events such as the Guest Chef Series help to provide funding for these various programs. Thanks to the sponsors, donors and guests of this event, $30,000 was raised to benefit Family Services. Specifically, the funds from the night will go to support the Mental Health Services Department. Family Services’ Counseling Center has offered individual, marriage and family counseling to the Tulare County community for over 20 years. And while many persons are unable to obtain counseling for economic, special needs, or other accessibility reasons, Family Services is committed to providing quality therapeutic services to this population. “We help individuals and families make choices and changes to best adapt to their specific situations and maximize their emotional health and safety,” said Meader.

“For example, in May, our counseling team provided nearly 600 individual sessions of therapy and 50 group sessions at 10 different locations throughout the region. The funds raised at this event will go to continue this important work.” But it’s not all work and no play at Family Services as Meader and the rest of her staff proved with the success of this year’s Guest Chef Series – it was nearly all play come that late June evening. Play … wine and food: three words that could easily sum up the evening. With two acclaimed chefs on hand, it’s no wonder that the Guest Chef Series is one of the most anticipated events in Tulare County. Complementing the enthusiastic Passistas (Samba dancers) and flow of wine, the highlight of the evening was definitely the culinary creations. Venezuelan Chef Irlanda Ramirez just happened to be a friend of the host, who is a native Venezuelan herself, and was thrilled to contribute to the evening. Chef Ramirez did a wonderful job of executing the demonstrations of her dishes. Guests were eager to try the tastings that were passed around along with the suggested wine pairing. Chef Ramirez prepared ceviche, oven sweet plantains filled with mozzarella cheese, cachapas and pork chops in an orange and honey sauce – and that was only the tasting menu! For dinner, Chef David Vartanian flexed his culinary skills and provided guests with a Venezuelaninspired dinner and dessert menu that left them fully satisfied. Of course, the evening would not have been as successful without the generous donations from those who sponsored the event. Meader, Betancur and everyone at Family Services made sure to acknowledge these people, especially the event’s title sponsors: Clarence and Janet Hill, Gillespie Ag Service, Leffingwell Ag Sales, and Western Milling. “Our greatest appreciation goes to our corporate and table sponsors, all who attended, and those who donated their time and talents to make this another successful year,” said Meader. Given all the flair, food, wine and fun, it’s certain no one is soon to forget the evening they spent in Venezuela.

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A World of Wonder Awaits

Valley Children Text by Lisa McEwen | Photos by Tim Hewitt


ike a child reaching one exciting milestone after another, ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum is marking several firsts this summer. In late June, organizers of the inaugural “A Groundbreaking Celebration: A Dreambuilders’ Bash” successfully raised more than $72,000 for the museum and laid a strong foundation for future fundraisers.

The evening “had a very high energy. It was whimsical and fun with lots of balloon sculptures and color. Everyone had a great time and for our first time, we really pulled it off,” ImagineU Board President Cheryl Christman said of the event held at the Visalia Country Club on June 29. Not only did the evening feature a delicious dinner, cocktails and a variety of auctions, guests watched an animated video of another first for the organization: a brand new ImagineU Museum, which is set to break ground this month at the intersection of Oak Street and Tipton Avenue.



COMMUNITY C “The community got a better idea of what we’re planning,” Christman said. “They got a feeling of how large and expansive it is going to be.” And perhaps even more importantly, the event helped members of the community understand the significance of this new venue for the San Joaquin Valley. Last year, Christman said the museum served more than 14,000 children at its current home on East Main Street. In anticipation of the new museum, the organization expects to serve approximately 60,000 children in 2014–2015. Children get to ImagineU – the only children’s museum in the San Joaquin Valley – in a variety of ways, whether in the form of a school-sponsored field trip, on a day excursion with their family, or as tourists stopping in Visalia on their way to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, said Executive Director Virginia Strawser. Once inside, children leave behind a world built for adults and learn in an environment that is specifically made for them. “When kids use their imaginations, they learn without knowing it,” Strawser said. “Play is their work. We are adding innovative, fun and exciting exhibits because we’ve simply outgrown our space. Families have no problem spending all day here.” One of the new interior exhibits is the Grove Pick ’n Pack Gallery, where children can learn about the Valley’s citrus industry by running a packinghouse, turning on a wind machine and sorting fruit by color. Little ones can also try their hand at repairing an electric car at U Fix-It Garage, one of the many exhibits featuring an environmental conservation theme. Organizers foresee the museum’s new location, a block from the City Transit Center, as an anchor between the city’s downtown core and planned eastward expansion. At 13,000 square feet, the facility will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and feature hands-on exhibits focusing on water, ecosystems, flora, fauna and fuel. Outdoors, visitors will find an interpretive nature walk and habitat area. An outdoor space, an “amphimeadow,” will create an expanse unmatched in downtown. Complementing the amphitheater will be a planned three-acre city park that will incorporate Mill Creek’s natural waterway. City of Visalia Parks and Recreation Director Vince Elizondo said the park is contingent upon Oak Street being built through. The park is part of the city’s East Civic Center Master Plan. “The creek and the park will create the perfect synergy for our new museum,” Strawser said. “We couldn’t have hoped for a better location.”

Funding for the majority of the museum is coming from a grant amounting to $5,469,063 from the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s allotment of Proposition 84 funds. The bond was passed in 2006. June’s fundraiser is helping to cover the expenses of an additional 2,000 square feet of banquet and meeting room facilities, complete with a catering kitchen. This space will be available for fundraisers and parties. Christman, who has served on the ImagineU board of directors for nine years, is a mother of five grown children. A visit several years ago to a children’s museum with her daughter sparked an interest in such museums and she decided to donate time to ImagineU as a board member. “Children’s museums expose the children to things they may otherwise never see,” she explained. “This helps them ask questions, have new experiences and dreams. It opens new pathways for them.” She has been through the six-year planning process for the new museum and is anxious to see it come to fruition. With groundbreaking imminent, Christman said, “I am really looking forward to, from the bottom of my heart, a community place for kids and families to come together to learn while playing, and the opportunity to bring a lot of nonprofits together at our facilities. I am looking forward to witnessing the impact of the education we’ll be offering. It will take a while to measure, but I know it’s just going to be amazing.”

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H history

The Fabulous Fox A Proud Symbol of Visalia Text by Terry L. Ommen



ome has the coliseum, New York City has the Empire State Building, and Visalia has the Fox Theatre. Exactly how icons are formed is not totally clear, but certainly architecture and the history of the structure play an important part. In the late 1920s William Fox and his movie company decided to build a new ultra-modern “talkie” theater in Visalia. Ground was broken in April 1929 on the northwest corner of Encina and Main streets. The design was created by well-known Los Angeles architects Clifford Balch and Floyd Stanbery, but it was Howard Sheehan, vice president of Fox West Coast Theatres, who called the shots. He was known for his keen eye for “the new, the better and the beautiful.”

LEFT: President of the Fox Board of Directors Sue Tharp and current General Manager Paul Fry hold the Fox near and dear to their heart. PICTURED: Fox under construction, 1929.


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history H

of Main Street

As the big building took shape, the town of about 7,000 watched anxiously. Construction took about nine months and February 27, 1930, was the date set for the grand opening. As the big day drew near, the town became more excited and decorations filled the streets. The impressive Spanish-style building with its tall clock tower had captured the imagination of the community. The tower was the most dominant feature of the $225,000 structure. Emphasizing the point, the local newspaper said it rose high into the air “like a lighthouse above a seaport.” It had three clock faces, each ringed with neon lights and each measuring over six feet in diameter. At 6:30 p.m. on grand opening day, with Klieg lights illuminating skyward, the theater doors opened. As the sold-out crowd filed in they were welcomed with music from the new $20,000 organ. The opening night audience enjoyed a variety of motion pictures including The Lone Star Ranger starring George O’Brien and Sue Carol; Movietone News, a Mickey Mouse cartoon; and Night Owls, a Laurel and Hardy comedy. Without question, the grand opening was a big hit. Visalia Mayor Edward Lambert spoke for the community when he said, “We are very fortunate in a city the size of Visalia to be given a beautiful theater under the management of Fox West Coast Theatres.” For theatergoers the beauty of the magnificent Fox went far beyond the images projected on the big screen. Spanish style on the outside, the interior broke from tradition and was completely different but equally dramatic. Visitors experienced the decor representing the garden courtyard of an Indian ruler with blue sky, stars, trees and shrubs. The serene setting allowed them to “drift in mind from the streets of Visalia to the mystic shrines of the gods,” complete with scores of elephants prominently displayed on walls. Guests found the best in sound amplification. The most advanced Western Electric audio equipment was installed and to help acoustically, major interior walls were

rounded. Walls were not painted, but rather colored plaster was used, lessening the chance of sound reverberation. Almost hidden in the back of the balcony was the projection room. It was the “most superbly equipped booth in the state.” Early movie film was highly flammable so the most noteworthy feature of the room was its use of fire prevention and control technology. In case of a fire, the projector “port holes” would slam closed, automatic sprinklers would come on, a fire alarm would sound at the fire station and the house lights would illuminate the theater to allow for an orderly evacuation. For the last 83 years Visalia’s fabulous Fox has been a dominant feature of Downtown. For much of its life the landmark building has been coddled and appreciated, however, there were times when it was neglected and even abused. In 1976 the operator of the beleaguered old theater brought in drywall and other construction material and converted the movie house into a triplex ... an obvious attempt to make the aging entertainment venue economically viable. During the conversion, little or no care was taken to protect important elements inside. While the work was being done, much needed infrastructure fixes and upgrades were ignored. For the next 20 years, the triplex gallantly tried to operate in a highly competitive market. In November 1996 the theater closed its doors, the victim of hard times. Shortly thereafter the owners put the tired old theater up for sale. Sensing a threat to the survival of the building, a “Friends of the Fox” non-profit group formed. In a surprise move in 1997, the owners donated it to the “Friends,” a move dubbed “Miracle on Main Street.” Fundraising began and by 1999 enough money had been raised to complete many major projects and to handle cosmetic needs. The Fox “Grand Re-Opening” celebration was held on November 20, 1999. Since its rebirth, the Fox has hosted dozens of shows, productions and events. The community loves its magnificent Fox Theatre

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H history

TOP: Interior of the Fox Theater and it’s audience in 1953. BOTTOM: Main Street looking east, circa 1950.


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and takes every opportunity to show it off. As a result, images of the building are frequently used to represent Downtown and even Visalia. Currently, Paul Fry is the theater’s general manager and has been since February 2007. During his tenure, the Lyles-Porter family made a large donation and thanks to their generosity a number of theater projects were able to be completed including the remodel of the upstairs bathrooms. Paul has a love for the old theater and especially likes what the venue provides to the community. “Residents of Tulare County do not have to drive to Fresno to see top-named stars,” he said. Paul is especially proud that during his time as manager, the grand old movie house was nominated for placement on the National and State Register of Historic Places. That formal designation will happen very soon. Although optimistic about its future, he sees challenges ahead. “When the Fox was re-opened in 1999,” he said, “the community presumed that all the work to restore the Fox was done.” Sadly he added, that was not the case. Much work remains. The Friends of the Fox organization is fortunate to have an active Board of Directors made up of community leaders led by Sue Tharp as president. Sue has been an active supporter of the Fox for years and just recently took over the top job on the Board. She believes in the Fox and said, “In this age of iPhones and technology, it is still vital that we have a theater where Visalians can go to be entertained and interact with the performers. We need to continually improve the theater and attract first-class entertainment. The Fox is an icon and plays a pivotal role in Downtown Visalia. The Fox depends on Downtown and Downtown depends on us.”


the SHARP home

LIVING ROOM: The living room of the Sharp home is impressive with dark tones and lines created from the ceiling beams, multiple-paneled windows, tile and dĂŠcor.


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Text by Jordan Venema | Photos by Taylor Johnson

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t has been more than 10 years since Don first knocked on Linda’s door with a bottle of wine in hand, but he can still name the vintage of wine like they drank it yesterday: “a Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé,” Don recalled, articulating the words with perfect French pronunciation. It was one of the first bottles they ever shared together, but they have shared many more since: the Sharps recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary this past Fourth of July. Like any couple, Don and Linda have their common interests, but they had already fostered those interests individually. “Before we got together,” explained Linda, “we already had a passion for jazz, wine, and sprint car racing.” One of those passions seems to take precedence over the others; their “mad passion” for wine, as Linda calls it. Their love for wine is only exceeded perhaps by their love for each other. They drink it while they cook together, and their passion has influenced the way they live. The passion determined where they wed and honeymooned (Paris, then Lyon, then down the Rhone where they

visited famous vineyards and chateaus), and it determined the very design of their home. Don and Linda display that passion whenever they eloquently describe a wine with detailed descriptors, whereas most people use only two – “white” or “red.” That passion is literally written on the wall of their home in letters that curve like the tendrils of a grapevine, Pour L’Amour du Vin – for the love of wine – like a loosened predicate for any subject and their raison d’ être. To some, wine is nothing more than a mind-numbing, sourtasting, cloth-staining drink. So why this passion for the Sharps? Simply put, “Wine makes good food better,” explained Linda. Like a pinch of salt, a sip of wine accentuates and heightens the palate. But you wouldn’t take salt on its own. And while wine is rich with flavor, it is even richer with history and culture, with the diversity of the grape itself and the regions in which it is grown and produced. Wine can be found in the cup of the poorest beggar and at the table of a king; it is found at the center of religious ceremonies and at the center of the common toast. MASTER ENSUITE: The bathtub of the master ensuite calls for attention as it is found directly before the entryway of the sprawling room. MASTER BEDROOM: Intricately tiled, the fireplace provides a focal point for the Sharp’s bedroom with much of Linda’s antique furniture as details in the room.


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Linda’s passion was not so much acquired as it was inherited. “Well, I am Italian,” she explained, “and I grew up with my Italian relatives drinking jug wine in glass tumblers, and all the kids had it. Wine was water,” she continued, “and I drank that red stuff and loved it.” Don’s love for wine, however, was an acquired taste. While in college, he took a part-time job working in the laboratory for Christian Brothers Winery. There he met Brother Timothy, “the Robert Mondavi of his time,” as Don described him. When they first met, Brother Timothy asked Don if he liked wine. “Oh god, no,” replied Don, who had only ever tasted Thunderbird, “it doesn’t taste good.” Brother Timothy was not offended, he only said, “you stick with me and I’ll teach you about wine.” For three years, Don worked with Brother Timothy who, said Don, “taught me everything about the nuances of wine. It began a love affair that I still have today.” Consciously or not, that love affair with wine – the Sharps’ mad passion – has infused the very essence of their home. “We have always had a passion for Mediterranean things, wine and architecture,” said Don, which shows in the very structure of their Old World Mediterranean home – its stone facade and tiled roof; its peaked, round tower. There is something almost medieval about the home, stolid and rustic, like it has been cut out of stone. As it rises ever-so-slightly on an incline above the street, their home only seems to want its own vineyard. Before Don and Linda moved into the home in July 2012, they repainted the interior light earth tones and used an artistic European finish, similar to a Venetian plaster, to give the walls texture. The finish is an artistic imitation of a medieval nuisance: the smudge stains left from the smoke of candles. Heavy chandeliers hang from recessed ceilings painted with custom modellos, symmetrical and curving patterns accentuated with gold leaf. Alcoves recede into the walls of the home; one here with gold leaf trimming, another there with a painted modello of an “S” with delicately curving ivy. A slender, high-ceilinged and arched hallway divides the home, the entryway and dining room from the kitchen and living room. “This is one of the views in the home that I like best,” said Don, as he stood in the doorway of the master bedroom, looking down the hallway. “It’s unbelievable.” From the view of their bedroom, the hallway dead-ends to an arched alcove that separates the two doorways of two


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GUEST BEDROOMS: Both guest bedrooms in the Sharp home have their own unique style and décor, each equally charming and elegant.

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BACKYARD: With added details both big and small, the Sharps made the exterior of their home their own little Mediterranean villa.

guest bedrooms. There is something about the color of this hall, its dark exposed wood celling beams, and the way the sunlight falls on the floor under the arches that suggests the corridor of a castle or the passageway of a cloister. “When I get up in the morning,” said Don, “I always say to myself, ‘Ah, look at that.’” To heighten the home’s existing Old World Mediterranean feel, the Sharps complemented its design with smaller details, oil paintings of French vineyards and chateaus. But at the heart of their home, under Pour L’Amour du Vin, is the arched entrance to a 500-bottle wine cellar. “There’s a method to my madness,” said Don, describing how he organizes the bottles that fill the all-heart-redwood racks: “whites, rosé, then into the pinots, then into Bordeaux blends, then cabernets, then the Rhone varietal section, and finally Zinfandels – they come all the way around.” The custom rack reaches from the floor to the ceiling, except at the far end of the cellar, where a picture of a vineyard hangs in the center of an alcove that recedes into the wall. The Sharps may not have their vineyard, but they have neatly stored away the very fruit of its vines. The Sharps’ love for all things Mediterranean also extended to their landscaping. Their renovation was so extensive that “the neighbors were totally baffled and thought we were going to put a pool in the front yard,” said Linda. The front lawn declines to a stone ledge and then inclines, like Tuscan terracing, nearer the home. Olive trees and dry shrubbery complement the terracing, and the spires of decorative cypress trees twist like corkscrews beside the front door. 30

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Their backyard is like a collection of little yards, built upon each other, rising and culminating with an arbor by a curved pool. In ancient cities there are different quarters and neighborhoods that have been built over the course of its history, distinct with age and material but similar in style because of its common culture. Similarly, the Sharps’ backyard has a consistency through its contrast. Large paving stones give way to smaller stones, and the arches of the patio yield to the yucca flowers and Mexican birds of paradise and other organic growing vegetation. Like the front yard, the backyard seems to terrace upward, where some steps lead to a fire pit and others to a lone olive tree enclosed by a stone planter. A two wall fountain spouts water from the mouth of a lion into a basin of vividly blue patterned tile. Here, the Sharps spend their evenings in the pool, or in the morning, reading the paper and drinking a cup of coffee. “It’s like a dream,” said Linda about their home, “a dream come true.”




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H HOME TOUR Don agreed. “This place was meant to be for us. I still pinch myself when I get home.” Linda had said “wine makes good food better,” but it is also just as likely that the Mediterranean atmosphere of their home makes good wine better. There’s something complementary about their passion for the Mediterranean drink and the style and design of their home. “I guess it is synergistic,” said Don. “I love wine, I love the surroundings, and it makes each one a little better.” Because

sitting in their backyard, while sitting in the shadow of an olive tree and sipping a Rhone varietal, it would be difficult not to think you were sitting near the very vineyards from where the vintage had been picked and pressed. Sure, says Don, that perception “may be artificial, but if you’re in a surrounding that’s like the area where it came from, I think you’ll enjoy the wine more. I think it’s up here,” he said, pointing to his head, “but it’s also here too,” he added, touching his heart.

KITCHEN: The kitchen of the Sharp home completes the wine theme with various wine-related gadgets and décor.







You Say Tomato,

Recipes By Elaine Dakessian | Photos By Taylor Johnson


his month, Chef Elaine Dakessian suggested an ingredientthemed culinary feature fit for the summer months. What else other than the juicy fruit that is the tomato would be enough to inspire not one but three delicious recipes? Head to the farmers

market and load up on this month’s culinary star while they are still in season and plentiful here in our valley to get a head start on these dishes.







Flatbread Ingredients 1 ¼ C warm water (105°F to 115°F) 1 tsp. active dry yeast 1 tsp. sugar 3 C all-purpose flour 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt 2 T extra-virgin olive oil Directions In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together water, yeast, and sugar until dissolved, about 5 seconds. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to yeast mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add oil and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Switch to dough hook and mix on medium speed until dough is elastic and pulls away from sides, about 8 minutes. (Dough should feel firm and moist, but not sticky.) Lightly oil large bowl. Gently shape dough into ball and transfer to bowl. Turn over several times to coat lightly with oil, then cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place (80°F to 85°F) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. While dough is rising, position rack near bottom of oven and top with pizza stone or heavy baking sheet. Preheat oven to 450°F for 1 hour. Set smooth rollers of pasta machine on widest setting. Divide dough into 6 equal parts. Cover 5 parts with plastic wrap. Shape remaining piece into rough rectangle and feed through rollers once to flatten into roughly 12-by 4-inch rectangle, approximately 1/8-inch thick. Transfer flatbread to large baking sheet, dust with flour, and top with sheet of parchment paper. Roll out remaining flatbreads in same manner, stacking between layers of parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to bake. Transfer 1 or more flatbreads to preheated pizza stone and bake in batches until slightly puffed but still pale, about 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Leave oven on.


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Flatbread Topping For 4 flatbreads

Ingredients 2 pints red and yellow tomatoes mixed or heirloom minis – cut the smaller ones in half and quarter the larger ones 3 cloves garlic ½ C Kalamata olives, cut in halves and sliced ½ C toasted pine nuts (place on baking sheet and slightly brown in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes – they burn quickly) 3-4 balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced Shredded mozzarella 2 T red pepper flakes 1 bunch basil, chiffonade (tear off individual leaves, stack them, roll them like a cigar, slice thinly) Extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt Pepper

Directions In a medium bowl place the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and the place on a baking sheet. Place in a 300°F oven for about 30 minutes. You want the tomatoes to be soft but not be mushy. Once the flatbreads are prepared, I rub olive oil over the crust and salt it. Place the sliced mozzarella around; add a little shredded, covering the flatbread. Add the tomatoes, Kalamata olives and pine nuts. Bake in a 450°F oven for approximately 10 minutes if convection, more for traditional baking. You want the crust golden brown and the cheese melted. Finish by sprinkling with red pepper flakes and top with basil. Drizzle with good quality olive oil.


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Gazpacho Servers 6-8

Ingredients 1 C chopped red onion 1 C chopped pasilla peppers (seeds removed) 1 C chopped English cucumber 1 C chopped peeled tomatoes ½ tsp. red pepper flakes ⅓ C tomato paste 3 cups tomato juice 2 tsp. garlic 1 T balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper to taste Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle Thyme for garnish Directions Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight. Blend half the ingredients in a blender, reserving the rest for later. After blending, place in a sieve or mesh strainer and push through with the back of a spoon for a smooth consistency. Place smooth soup in a bowl. Spoon the chunky reserves into the middle of the bowl so that it stands above the smooth soup. Drizzle olive oil around the soup and place thyme sprig on top.


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Fresh Stuffed Tomato Salad Ingredients 4 large beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, peeled and cored Spring mix of your choice (I used spring mix, spinach, arugula) 2 heads endive Chives or pea shoots 2 T dried cranberries 2 T sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds Directions To blanch tomatoes, score an “X” on the bottom of each tomato and place in a large pan of boiling water. Blanch for 15 seconds. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of ice water to loosen their skin. Peel the tomatoes; the skins will come of easily. To assemble, cut off a thin slice from the bottom of each tomato to make them level. Then cut off enough of the top so you can scoop out the pulp. Place onto a serving plate. Arrange your greens and endive in a decorative manner, much like arranging flowers. Drizzle with dressing and serve. You can use whatever dressing you like. I used a poppy seed dressing.

Poppy Seed Dressing Ingredients ⅓ C sugar ½ C white wine vinegar 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. dry mustard 1 tsp. grated onion 1 C canola oil or vegetable oil 1 T poppy seeds Directions Mix all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.

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John Spivey

Healing the Mind in the Mountains


ohn Spivey grew up in the shadow of the Sierra foothills, but it took a hike to the top of Moro Rock in his forties to really sense the enormity of what those mountains can mean to a human soul. “When I was standing up there it was just like a light switch went on,” he said. “I was looking out across the back country and saw the peaks of the Great Western Divide. I just knew I had to do something with that because they seemed so alive to me.” The next year he came back from his home in Santa Barbara for a solo backpacking trip deep into the canyons and peaks of the Kaweah watershed and the divide. That became the subject of his book, The Great Western Divide: A History with Crow, Coyote, Chaos and God. The book explores his family history, the settling of the area and his memories of growing up. Family tales of loss, Christian myth, Zen/Taoist stories and the Yokut Indians all are interlinked. He also uses the environment around him to go into deeper philosophical questions. He ties the restoration of the landscape with the healing of the mind and the self. The book caught the attention of Dr. Charles Raison, a native of Dinuba, who is the Barry and Janet Lang Associate Professor of Integrative Mental Health at 40

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the University of Arizona and the mental health expert for CNN. His research focuses on how the mind and body work together to find a way to achieve more health and happiness.

“He told me that what he’d read had so altered his life and his perception of himself,” Spivey wrote in his blog, “that he was going to create a conference for healing professionals based on where the book’s thoughts had taken him.” Spivey was to be the keynote speaker at

the conference, which, as it turned out, did not take place, but he and Raison have carried on an email correspondence ever since, discussing ways to promote Spivey’s writing and bring some of his ideas to a wider audience. Spivey said Raison told him that he had put into words all the things Raison felt about this area of study. Matthew Rangel also had praise for Spivey’s work. He is an artist of lithographs of the back country, who was a professor of art at the College of the Sequoias and is now at the University of New Mexico. He also is the founder of the Kaweah Land & Arts Festival along with Spivey. “He said I put into words all these feelings he had about the back country,” Spivey said. The family history that led to this book began with Spivey’s great-grandfather, Dutch Bill Mehrten, who came from Germany to the United States in the 1850s with his mother and siblings. The Mehrtens first settled near Lodi then moved to Exeter and the Yokohl Valley. Yokohl is named after the Yokodo band of Foothill Yokuts and contains more than 30 documented sites of their habitation. It is also home to oak and sycamore woodlands, grasslands, chaparral, vernal pools and arrays of wildflowers. Dutch Bill’s son, Harry, eventually moved into Exeter with his wife, Myrtle. Their daughter, Marie, married F.


Norwood Spivey. Their son, John, grew up on a grape ranch and began his education at Locust Grove, a traditional red brick school house outside Exeter. After two years at Exeter High School, he transferred to Mt. Whitney in Visalia. From there he majored in mathematics at the University of Redlands. He describes his work career as “kind of checkered.” He taught math in the Mt. Diablo schools for a few years. After that, he became interested in woodworking and began a new career in carpentry for wineries and fancy homes in the Napa area. “Then I went to my twenty-fifth high school reunion and happened to meet one of my old classmates and I ended up moving to Santa Barbara where she lived,” he said. He and his wife, Barbara, have been together for 24 years now. During that time he taught mathematics in a private school. His academic career also included a way to put his love of nature to use when he was an outdoor education instructor teaching middle school students mountain cycling, backpacking and cross-country skiing, as well as the martial art of Aikido. His final turn in his career – so far – has gained him some fame as a creator of custom furniture. His clients stretch from Los Angeles to San Francisco and

his work has been featured in the store at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. His interest began in wood shop at Wilson Junior High with his favorite teacher, Mr. Allison. However, he was almost 30 when he first came back to it as a substitute wood shop teacher. “I would just go back in the wood room and smell the walnut and run my hands over it,” he said. “The colors and smells still stay with me. I’m just excited every time a new batch of wood comes in.” Spivey was also one of the subjects in a project that grew out of the Arts Festival. A crew from Reedley College was doing a video of the festival and wanted to go into greater depth with some of the participants. That turned out to be Rangel, Spivey, artist Paul Buxman of Kingsburg and poet John Dofflemyer. They were each featured against a backdrop of the Sierra in Artists of the Great Western Divide. “A lot of it was us talking about our connection to that landscape,” Spivey said. “All of us have a deep spiritual connection to that landscape that makes it very hard for us to be away from it. We find a great deal of illumination just being there.” Spivey is currently completing a book of fiction with the working title of The Crying Dance. The story spins off of the Wood’s Party Massacre. Wood was an early settler

on the south bank of the Kaweah River. He and around a dozen other settlers were killed by the Kaweah. Spivey’s story spans a time frame from 1820 to the present and features a chief of the Kaweah, a Chinese immigrant and a cowboy. He calls it a “work of magical realism.” The modernday cowboy who is an Iraq war veteran with PTSD meets up with these other characters from the 1800s. Spivey was invited to spend about a month at the Stone House residency at Miramonte to work on the book. The Stonehouse Residency for the Contemporary Arts is located on what was once a 173-acre ranch. The stone house at the top of a knoll with views of the Sierra and the San Joaquin was built in the 1960s by a couple planning for their retirement. Artists and writers are invited, based on their work, to attend sessions held throughout the year, with writers encouraged to attend in winter. The patrons and the advisory board of the residency determine who may attend. Information on the residency can be found at Spivey’s book is self-published through CrowsCry Press – A Voice for the Unseen and Unheard. His novel should be out later this year.

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Vietnam: AN AFFORDABLE ADVENTURE Text by Kelly Therrien | Photos by Kelly Therrien and Brielle Nikaido

ABOVE LEFT: The city of Hoi An, full of bright decor and lights to celebrate a full moon festival taking place. ABOVE RIGHT: Halong Bay in the north. Those are the limestone islands that are found throughout the area.


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Text by Marsha Roberts


ith little travel experience and less money, my closest girlfriend, Brielle, and I turned to friends and coworkers for vacation destination advice. To our surprise, Vietnam was at the top of many of their lists. We trusted their advice and soon after booked plane tickets for our adventure. We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in south Vietnam where we were quickly met with intense heat and an infinite number of people zipping by us on motorbikes. Entire families would pile onto single tiny motorbikes as if it were the family van. The city’s pace was exciting … and overwhelming. Learning to cross the street was a major feat. There are a few street lights to direct traffic, but for the most part, it’s a free-for-

all. A local told us to confidently but slowly walk across the street, explaining consistent strides made it easy for the bikers to simply maneuver around you. I shrieked the first few times and did everything to keep myself from running. Calmly walking through a sea of buzzing motorbikes went against everything in my nature. We survived, and soon were on our way to visit the smaller city of Hoi An. By bus, it’s an hour south of the larger city Danang. Hoi An is an older city untouched by the war that has successfully kept its Old World charm. Small streets and ancient bridges can be found throughout. We arrived – in the pouring rain – with our silly rolling suitcases and no prior hotel arrangements. Left to roll our suitcases from hotel to hotel looking for vacancies, we were fortunate enough L I F E S T Y L E | AU G U S T 2 013



TOP: A rice paddie field and worker on the way to the beach. BOTTOM: Motorists fill the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.


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to encounter one vendor who finally stopped us and insisted we purchase and wear neon ponchos. “Great,” I thought to myself sarcastically, “we are wet, neon, homeless tourists.” Eventually we made our way to a charming and hospitable hotel, where the staff was attentive, friendly and even spoke English. The rain continued for a few days, but rather than hide in the hotel room, we donned our neon ponchos and explored the city. With a stroke of good luck, we arrived during a full moon festival. The city center was lit up with lanterns and the river was spotted with candles. We gathered at an outdoor theatre where we enjoyed various live performances. Once the weather cleared up, we decided a bicycle ride to the nearby beach was a must. For one US dollar, a bicycle could be rented for the entire day. With beach bags and map in hand, we headed east. Along the way we saw water buffalo roaming the rice paddies, and I’ll never forget the sight of Brielle hugging the side of the road to allow buses and motorbikes to whiz by. We took the extended scenic route (oops!), and made it to An Bang Beach – a pleasantly unexpected serene setting where we enjoyed Banyan Bar and Grill, owned and operated by a Frenchman and his wife. Just above the sand line were outdoor pool tables and hammocks to relax in. We could have easily spent the entire day there, but it was time to shop! Vietnam is famous for tailoring so Brielle and I decided we needed new dresses. A few locals told us where we could find the best tailor in Hoi An, Yaly. We chose designs and fabric from walls lined in different fabrics – it was not an easy task. Our measurements were quickly jotted down and we returned the next day for Yaly to do her magic and we were soon on our way, with our perfectly fitted dresses.


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TOP: An Bang Beach. MIDDLE: Brielle and Kelly. BOTTOM: Some of the food prepared at the Green Bamboo Cooking School.


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Food is, of course, a compelling feature of any vacation. And while we may have only visited five Vietnamese cities, I can say unequivocally that Hoi An had some of the most delectable food I’ve ever eaten. We were fortunate to have eaten very well there as Brielle’s family friend and his Vietnamese wife run a fantastic restaurant, Ms. Ly’s. They graciously fed us the most deliciously authentic food of the entire trip. To ensure we returned to the States with the ability to replicate some of our favorite new dishes, we signed up for a local cooking class. Brielle and I were picked up by Van, the owner and instructor of the Green Bamboo Cooking School, and her driver. We were joined by a few other couples and one of Brielle’s friends from the States. Our first stop of the morning was at a neighborhood market to purchase fresh produce and seafood for our recipes. This is absolutely nothing like the supermarkets or farmer’s markets in the States. The variety of fruits and vegetables was astounding. The vendors were predominately women and were kind enough to let us sample many of the tropical fruits we had never seen before. All the while, we were all clad in the traditional Vietnamese conical hats so Van could easily spot her cooking crew. Needless to say, we stood out like a bunch of tourists and were approached by locals for photo opportunities and a few laughs, at our expense. After a morning of shopping and experiencing the local fare, we arrived at Van’s family home; a lightfilled, beautiful space where our cooking stations around the kitchen island were ready for us. First things first; we were told to wash our hands and then offered cold beer; not a bad way to begin a lesson. Every person had picked a dish earlier in the day and had specifically shopped for ingredients to make enough food for everyone else in the class. We were invited to deep fry the spring rolls, prepare the freshly caught shrimp, and ladle the seafood pancake batter into pans. Every dish was plated and served in the dining room where we enjoyed a very filling meal with our newly made friends. I returned to the States with a radically different idea of the country from when I had first booked my plane ticket, and a treasure chest of culinary and cultural delights to cherish forever. Vietnam may only be known to some as the war-torn locale of the 1960s and ’70s, but much has changed. While the country’s government is a socialist republic, there is a cultural freedom that is very apparent. If the opportunity arises for you to visit this beautiful country, hop on one of those motorbikes and enjoy the ride.


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Food Fight against Hunger Benefits

Visalia Rescue Mission Text by Kyndal Kennedy | Photos by Nicole Renteria

Chef David Vartanian



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ith a near sell-out crowd, the California Restaurant Association, Central Valley Chapter, hosted its Fifth Annual Food Fight Against Hunger that brought drama, fun, food and hunger awareness to Visalians. Benefiting from the fundraiser, The Visalia Rescue Mission is a non-profit organization serving the local community in a number of ways. One particular way it serves the underserved community is by providing three meals a day, 365 days a year to our areas underserved. Currently, the Mission is serving approximately 515 meals each day and over 183,000 meals in 2012, making this fundraiser more important than ever. Sixteen teams of local celebrities and people actively involved in our community competed for Top Chef honors. The teams were broken up into eight, with one team focused on shrimp and the other on steak. Each team had 30 minutes to prepare their dish in a fully stocked kitchen. Judges, who were randomly selected from the audience, determined the winner. The six judges voted on the presentation, taste, creativity and originality of each dish and rated it on a 10-point scale. The individual ratings were then added together and the highest ranking won the honor. This event goes to show how our business community comes together to help our nonprofits and the needy in Visalia. In addition to the supportive Board of Directors of the California Restaurant Association, Sysco was also an event partner as they donated all of the food for the competition as well as $15,000 worth of food to the Visalia Rescue Mission. Ruiz Foods made a generous donation of 17,000 pounds of food to the Rescue Mission for this event. Chef David Vartanian entertained the crowd with a cooking demonstration where eight lucky winners were able to enjoy his three-course meal. “We feel so blessed to be the beneficiaries of such a great event that highlights the issue of hunger in our community and allows people the opportunity to give back! The California Restaurant Association has been amazing to work with and we love to see the heart they have for the needs here in the Central Valley,� said Molly Schengel, Director of Community Involvement at the Rescue Mission. All in all, the many individuals who worked together to prepare this event had one thing in common: support the Visalia Rescue Mission and their mission to provide food, shelter and hope to those suffering in our community.


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Text by Sharon Mosley




ime to run for cover and check out the latest swimwear cover-ups that are getting rave reviews on and off the beach. Designers have packed up the tents and pulled up stakes on the cover-ups of the past, launching a whole new way to step out of the pool and join the party. So if you’re not into hanging out in that bikini all day, here are some of the best ways to wrap up for fun in the sun this summer (and not worry about the lumps and bumps most of us encounter along the way). Start with a dress. Yes, swimwear designers have taken a cue from casual clothing favorites and given us all a way to mix it up this year. That little V-neck knit dress you bought at Gap last year can now be found snuggled between the bathing suits at your local department store. Loaded with color, these little dresses are the hit of summer, and they are as easy to throw on over a swimsuit, as they are to wear on their own. Snatch these up in several colors. You can wear them with leggings this fall. Then go long. The maxi dress is another winner of a cover-up this summer. Celebrities are big followers of this trend going with the flow in stripes, ikat prints and geometric designs. Long skirts paired with swimwear tops are another stylish way to layer on a little modesty in mixed company. Add details. Cover-ups have come a long way since the days of the muumuu, and it shows. Beads, crochet and lace are just some of the ways that cover-ups take on a more glamorous look this summer. Yes, you can wear these tops over your swimsuit or

on their own. That’s why you always need to check out the swimwear department now. You may be surprised to see what you find. I found a wonderful beaded top to wear to a summer wedding last year right beside an itsy bitsy teensy weensy yellow polka dot bikini ... and I passed on the bikini. Punch it up with ponchos. There are so many variations on this theme. And you do have to think about just how much you want to cover up to make these work. Sheer tunics that are longer are often a better alternative. However, breezy caftans and kimono styles are also fun to mix and match with swimwear, shorts and short or long skirts. Don’t forget scarves. Think sarongs and pareos are perfect for the beach. Try to find large scarves in soft cotton – the batiks from Indonesia are great, but you can also find the decorative scarves in areas that cater to tourists. There are lots of ways to wear these sarongs, but the easiest is to tie them around your waist. Or you can tie it above your bust. Or just wear it over your shoulders to dinner over your maxi dress. Have a pajama party. What could be more comfortable than wearing your pajamas to the beach? Some of the best ways to cover-up while soaking up the sun this summer are roomy knit pants – just like your pjs. For even more fun, try a pair of harem pants. Just pull them up over swimwear and lounge like a lizard. The relaxed-fit pants are a welcome change from clingy leggings and capris. Then you can layer with tunics or swimsuit tops. And then you can really let the party begin. L I F E S T Y L E | AU G U S T 2 013



in the


The mission of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce is to preserve, model and advance business vitality and prosperity for our members and the community.

Photos submitted by Visalia Chamber of Commerce






AT THE CENTRAL VALLEY BUSINESS FORMS event 1. CVBF.COM staff members. 2. Kimberly Palermo and Laura Florez-McCusker, Kaweah Delta Marketing Department. 3. Deanna Saldana, Habitat for Humanity and Armondo Apadaca, Holiday Inn.


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4. Ms. Derington, Sue Sae, Sue Sae’s Creative Catering and Assemblyman Bill Maze. 5. Linda Patino Tulare County Office of Education and with her husband Ray Patino. 6. Gary Amon and his wife, Donna.



August, 31 2013 For More Information Contact: Nicola Wissler, Visalia YEA! Program Manager or 559-734-5876

Pick up an application today at the Chamber Office 220 N. Santa Fe Street and Launch you dream!

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in the


Our mission is to promote, support, and enable Exeter to prosper.

Photos submitted by Exeter Chamber of Commerce 1






AT RECENT RIBBON CUTTINGS AND MIXER 1. Linda Dorrough of Mirror Image Ministries Inc. sharing with others at the Mirror Image Ministries ribbon cutting.

5. Owners, Leslie Rivas, Stephanie Lusk and Tracey Stearns at their ribbon cutting for the new TCBY Yosistrz in Exeter.

2. Former Exeter Community Service Guild President, Millie Brugetti, taking a drink out of the new drinking fountains at the Exeter Community Services ribbon cutting.

6. Guests at the TCBY Yosistrz ribbon cutting, piling on the toppings.

3. Larry Stoneburner from KTIP Radio enjoying the misters under the arbor at Historical Seven Sycamores Ranch. 4. Mirror Image board Directors Dana and Dave Berner at the Mirror Image Ministries Ribbon Cutting.


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7. Owner, Bob McKellar telling the history of the Historical Seven Sycamores Ranch and Family Farm Fresh at the joint mixer with the Porterville Chamber of Commerce.



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in the


The Tulare Chamber of Commerce, Inc. exists to serve its members and the citizens of the Tulare area and surrounding rural areas of Tulare County.

Photos submitted by Tulare Chamber of Commerce





1. First row, left to right – Diana Hernandez, Veronica Lopez, Bernice Jimenez, Gladys Rojas, Bobbie Bates, and Judy Perry. Second row, left to right – Pat Shuklian, Stephanie Hoover, John Thomas, Lynee Shahan, and Regina Lira at Bank of Sierra Celebration. 2. Steve Presant (Masonic Center), Teresa Menezes and Crystalyn Lessley chat during Relay for Life event.


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3. Relay for Life Tulare, Business After Hours Event. 4. Back row, left to right – Lori Riezebos, Karen Smith, and Brenda Schott. Front row, left to right – Angela Bisel, Anna Oliveira, Crystalyn Lessley, Tabitha Jack, Cheryl Higdon, Michele Matheny, Darcy Phillips, and Sharon Allison-Crook.

CHAMBER C your central valley family resource

The Central Valley’s only magazine designed for parents of children ages pre-K through high school

To advertise your business in RAISE call 559.739.1747


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h happenings

Central Valley Colors Main Gallery artists Lonni Flowers, watercolorist and Jeri Burzin, photographer, will display their artwork at Sue Sa’s Clubhouse. Bring the summer to a close while enjoying fine art from your local artists. When: September 6 – Oct. 30; Reception: September 6, 6-8p Where: 699 W. Center St., Visalia Contact: Sue Sa’s Clubhouse, 733-2582

Theater & Performances

AUG 21 SEP 5



Chris Botti

Plan a night to enjoy the jazz sounds of trumpeter and composer, Chris Botti. In 2013, Botti won the Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category. In 2007, Botti was nominated for two Grammy Awards including Best Pop Instrumental Album. When: Aug. 21; 7:30p Where: Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369 or visit

Los Lonely Boys

Bringing their ever-expanding musical vision to the central valley, The Los Lonely Boys will be performing at the Madera Fair. They play a style of music they call “Texican Rock n’ Roll,” combining elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown eyed soul and country. Tickets are priced at $15. When: Sept. 5; 7:30p Where: Madera Fair; 1850 W. Cleveland Ave., Madera Contact: 674-8511 or visit

Scotty McCreery

Winner of Season 10 American Idol and a Country Music Award, plus 2012 Best New Artist, Scotty McCreery is coming to the Madera Fair to sing some of his hits. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the fair and listen to this amazing country star. Tickets are priced at $25. When: Sept. 6; 8p Where: Madera Fair; 1850 W. Cleveland Ave., Madera Contact: 674-8511 or visit

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SEP 28


Mainstream, Billboard Music topping band Lifehouse will be taking the stage featuring new music from their 2012 album, Almeria. Come out to the Madera Fair and enjoy some fair food and live music. Tickets are priced at $20. When: Sept. 7; 8p Where: Madera Fair; 1850 W. Cleveland Ave., Madera Contact: 674-8511 or visit

Concert on the Grass

Drive out to scenic Three Rivers and enjoy multiple performances on a stage for local and emerging talented individuals. This out-door performance is open to all, free of charge. Spend a Saturday afternoon basking in in the greatness of performing arts. When: Sept. 28; 1:30p Where: 44879 Dinely Dr., Three Rivers Contact: 561-1100 or visit

Art Exhibits Summer 2013 Exhibitions

Visit the Bakersfield Museum of Art and explore the multiple different exhibits that will be on display. A few of them being: California Impressionism, a collection of California’s majestic landscapes with vivid colors and intense sunshine; Garden of Eden, featuring Andrzej Maciejewski and 24 of his color still-life photographs; and the Visual Arts Festival will be taking place, where artists were asked to submit artwork of any medium pertaining to the theme, “Lost But Not Forgotten.” When: Jun. 27– Sept. 1; Closed Monday’s Where: Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R St., Bakersfield Contact: (661) 323-7219 or visit

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Diversions & Excursions

“The Urban Sketch Experiment”

Embark on an unforgettable adventure, exploring masterfully composed oil pastels as well as luster-glazed earthenware engineered by Professor Richard Flores. Flores’s creates forms that imply contemporary machinery harmonizing with the iridescence of the luster glaze. The College of the Sequoias will be hosting the reception Thursday, Aug. 29th from 5-7p. When: Aug. 27 – Sept. 20 Where: COS Art Gallery - Room 214, 915 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia Contact: 737-4861


First Saturday

Food, fun and fabulous art. Every first Saturday of the month, the artists, restaurants and merchants of Three Rivers open their doors and invite you to join in a town-wide celebration. You can pick up a map and schedule at Anne Lang’s Emporium or the Historical Museum – art to see, locations and times for special events. When: Sept. 7; 11a-5p Where: Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact: Nadi Spencer, 561-4373 or

AUG 16

Jim Brown NFL Great

TCOE’s CHOICES Prevention Program is pleased to welcome Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and Cleveland Browns star Jim Brown to the Visalia Fox Theater. He will be delivering a message for educators working with at-risk youth. For the past 25 years, Jim Brown has worked with youth in urban settings and in prison through his Amer-I-Can program, which is used extensively with ganginvolved youth to improve the quality of the participants’ lives through self-management skills. Tickets are $20 per person, and groups of 10 for $100. When: Aug. 16; 9a-12p Where: Visalia Fox Theater, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: Adam Valencia 651-0155. Tickets: visit or 625-1369

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h happenings

Wedding Style Bridal Show Come and connect with the wedding professionals you need to help you create your perfect day. This bridal show gives you an opportunity to meet dozens of great wedding vendors, see (and taste!) their work, sign up for great prizes and discounts, and enjoy a bridal salon fashion show. When: September 8, 12-4p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 635-0874

53rd Annual Greek Fest

Once again, the Fresno Greek Fest is offering a staggering array of Family Friendly Activities to help all aspiring Greeks to better enjoy the Festival! For those not into competitive games, they are offering such time-honored activities such as: water slides, gold panning, cooking demonstrations, art tours, Greek wine tasting and much, much more! $5; Sat. and Sun. from 11a-6p, free entrance with a canned food donation; Free for seniors and children under 12. When: Aug. 23 – 25th Where: St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2219 N. Orchard, Fresno Contact: 233-0397 or visit

AUG 24



From Debate to Dialogue

Presented by Justice for All, in partnership with Voices for Life, this seminar seeks to reshape the conversations that are being held between pro-life and pro-choice people. Those who attend will learn to listen well, ask quality questions, and share their views in a convincing way. Registration closes Aug. 17th. When: Aug. 24; 8:30a-5p Where: First Christian Church Visalia, 1023 N. Chinowth St., Visalia Contact: 732-5000 or email

Blues, Brews and BBQ

Enjoy great blues, brews (or soft drinks) and BBQ in a comfortable and safe environment without having to pay for gas and traveling out of town. Every Blues, Brews & BBQ’s concert is FREE! Bring money only if you want to enjoy savory BBQ’d meals and thirst-quenching drinks (it does get HOT in California’s Central Valley, in case you didn’t know!) Featuring 3 Guys Playin’ the Blues. When: Sept. 6; 6-10p Where: Garden Street Plaza, Visalia Contact: 732-7737

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Head out to the 39th annual ClovisFest to experience multi-cultural food, great live entertainment and music, a family carnival and more. Head out early enough to catch the Hot Air Balloon’s float over head at the festival kick off. Arts and crafts as well as food vendors will be out on Pollasky Ave. in Old Town Clovis. When: Sept. 21 & 22; 8a-5p. (Hot Air Balloons start approx. 7a) Where: Old Town Clovis, 433 Pollasky Ave., Clovis Contact: 298-5774 or visit

Visalia Home EXPO

The South Valley’s largest fall home show has experts in remodeling, decorating and technology. It’s the largest home show in the South Valley, so come check out all the new styles in home décor this fall, and much more! When: Sept. 21 & 22; 10a-6p & 10a-5p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 713-4000

The Market Downtown: Tulare

Every Tuesday night, downtown Tulare will be having live music, a beer garden and weekly themes while featuring a variety of products, food, and cold drinks. This street fair/ farmers market is a chance to get some week-day entertainment after a long work day! When: Aug. 20– Sept. 24; 6-9p Where: K Street, Downtown Tulare Contact: Call 685-2350 or visit

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Charitable Events

AUG 17 AUG 24

Summer Luau Dinner & Dance

Support the Young Adult Rome Pilgrimage and enjoy a nice luau dinner including a Huli Huli entree, rice, veggies and dessert. Music by DJ Tony & Tim. When: Aug. 17, 7-11p Where: St. Mary’s Parish Hall, 506 N. Garden St., Visalia Contact: Mary Jane Wilfong, 731-8788 


Light the Sky


Saint Rita’s Last Days of Summer Fundraise Dinner-Dance

Summer Jubilee

The Roaring 20s come alive at Tulare Hospital Foundation’s fundraiser featuring food and beverage sampling, followed by casino gaming and dancing. Tickets: $50. Sponsor and vendor opportunities available, call now and sign up. When: Aug. 24; 7-11p Where: 1028 N. Oaks Ave., Tulare Contact: 685-3448 or

Make your wish and launch a lantern into the sky with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California. Bring your own wine glass, lawn chairs & blankets, as food and wine will be available for purchase. Live music performed by the classic rock band, 51 Aces. Admission is free and all lanterns are $20 each. Proceeds benefit your local chapter of Make-A-Wish. When: Sept. 6, 7-10p Where: Engelmann Cellars, 3275 N. Rolinda Ave., Fresno Contact: 221-9474 or visit

Celebrate the last days of summer with the new church Saint Rita’s in Tulare. Dinner and dancing will be in full swing, along with a live auction, trick tray gifts, and ice cream dessert provided by Cold Stone Ice Cream. All proceeds go to Saint Rita’s. Tickets are $50. When: Sept. 9; 7p Where: Tulare International Agriculture Center, 4450 W. Laspina St., Tulare Contact: Manuel Ortiz 972-0909 or Kathi Hernandez 802-7370

ATTENTION TULARE COUNTY PHOTOGRAPHERS Raise Magazine is looking for cover photo submissions

What kind of photos? Vertical format Children (ages 5-15), or children with pet No group photos Email photos to

Please submit high-quality, electronic files only. Photos are free to submit, but submission does not guarantee placement.

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h happenings

Tulare County Fair It’s that time of year again! Come down to the fair and enjoy food, fun, games, music and farm animal exhibits. When: September 11– 15 Where: Tulare County Fairgrounds, 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Tulare Contact: 686-4707 or visit

SEP 14

4th Annual VOSPCA Wines & Wags Gala

Join the Valley Oak SPCA for this spectacular evening of wine and food tasting, live and silent auction and entertainment under the stars. All proceeds from this event support Valley Oak SPCA’s efforts to raise funds for the new Adoption and Education Center. Tickets are $50/person. When: Sept. 14; 6:30p Where: Private Residence; call for more information. Contact: 713-4694 or visit

Chariot’s Race to the Forum

TCCOV’s Motorcycle Ride and Bazaar will benefit the Young Adult Ministry 2014 Pilgrimage to Rome. Ride in the motorcycle race and receive lunch, ticket drawings, prizes and lots more. Then stop by the Bazaar and Craft Faire where many local vendors will be out with things to purchase. Rain or shine, come join out for fun and fellowship. When: Sept. 14, Race: Registration starts at 8a, Ride at 10a. Bazarr: 9a-3p Where: St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 5049 W. Caldwell Ave., Visalia Contact: Mary Jane Wilfong, 731-8788


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Visalia Relay For Life

Get outside and help find a cure for cancer at this 24-hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. When: Sept. 21-22; 9a Where: Recreation Park, 300 N. Giddings St. Visalia (Rawhide Stadium) Contact: 713-4365 or 287-8050

SEP 28

Bounty of the County

Enjoy local food, wine, beer and music while you support local farmers, restaurants, wineries, and families. When: Sept. 28; 5-8p Where: Historic Seven Sycamores Ranch, 32985 Road 164, Ivanhoe Contact: Tulare County Farm Bureau, 732-8301 or

Event Listings If you would like to have your event considered for a free listing in our “Happenings” section, please email your submission to or fax to 738-0909, Attention Happenings. Please note, we do not guarantee listing of any submission. Submission are due six weeks prior to publication.



All Treatments by Licensed Registered Nurses with Advanced Certifications in Aesthetics Treatments.

August 2013  

Style, Art, Culture and Events of the South Valley.

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