18th Annual Coarsegold Tarantula Awareness Festival

Coarsegold’s Annual Tarantula Awareness Festival will be held on Saturday, October 24th at the Coarsegold Historic Village! All activities are free! It begins at 10am and will end at 6pm. It’s a wonderful event for kids, families & tarantula-loving individuals alike!

For more information, videos, news reports or a clearer idea of what to expect, visit the links below!

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Child holding tarantula

Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau event page

Fresno Bee video from last year’s 17th Annual Tarantula Awareness Fest

ABC30 news report & video


Dry Creek Trailhead

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Dry Creek Trailhead is located at the Southwest corner of the Sunnyside/Shepherd Intersection. Between the drought-resistant layout and amenities, it’s clear that the City of Clovis had the community in mind during planning and construction. Nowadays, when it comes to building a new community recreation area, water conservation plays a large role considering the current and intense drought. This trailhead was specifically constructed with the drought in mind, and in turn there is no grass or water-loving plants there. It is supposed to be quite water-efficient and according to Clovis’ Director of Planning and Development, Dwight Kroll, “It’s going to use about 10 percent of the water that you would normally have in a parks space of this size”.

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The appropriately-deemed trailhead (not a park) is equipped with four restrooms, several water fountains, two picnic areas with tables, and two bike repair/pump stations.

To aid in safety, the installation of police surveillance cameras and lighting were added throughout the trailhead. The Dry Creek Trailhead acts as a hub for fitness-friendly families, walkers/joggers/runners, the ever-increasing amount of cycle enthusiasts or even just people looking for a transportation alternative. This trailhead is a focal point for anyone using trails like Dry Creek, Enterprise and/or Fresno Sugar Pine, not to mention the two proposed/future trails.

Other future additions to the Clovis trails network include a possible suspension bridge at the 168 & Temperance along with extended and new trails.

For a map of Clovis trails, parks, landmarks & more click here.


Forestiere Underground Gardens

"Take a subterranean journey to the Mediterranean--in the middle of California !"

“Take a subterranean journey to the Mediterranean–in the middle of California !”

Forestiere Underground Gardens was originally built as a home by Sicilian visionary and self-taught artist/builderBaldassare Forestiere and is considered “a spectacular and unconventional example of vernacular architecture.” The Underground Gardens consist of a network of hand-built underground rooms, courtyards, passageways, grottoes, skylights, arches and stonewalls which are quite reminiscent of ancient catacombs because of Baldassare’s interest in ancient Roman architecture.

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Within the gardens there are very unique fruit producing trees, shrubs, and vines growing all through out the gardens above and underground, some of these plants are even over 90 years old! A majority of these plants are ingeniously protected from frost during our harsh winters due to their placement underground. Many trees in the garden have been grafted in order to bear more than one type of fruit, so a large variety of fruit -ranging from common to exotic- are found throughout the gardens. Another unconventional yet clever addition are the trees and vines that are planted near/on surface openings like skylights, often forming canopies that act as insulation; protecting the gardens from weather and elements.

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While in the gardens you can experience the underground micro-climates where temperature variations can range from 10 to 30 degrees less than above ground temperatures! Baldassare was likely thinking the underground gardens would be the perfect escape from Fresno’s infamous summer heat while he was spending numerous hours excavating our equally as infamous valley hardpan. A majority of the excavated dirt was utilized to fill holes and planters, create stones and to level uneven ground. Interestingly enough, the passageways and rooms were built with varying widths to aid airflow by generating pressure and keeping air flowing as it moves through more narrow sections. In addition, cone-shaped skylights allow hot air to be easily pushed up and out while leaving the cool air down below.

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So, as you can tell, Forestiere Underground Gardens is a very unique and peculiar place, filled with distinctive creations like unconventional handmade architecture and  noteworthy planting and construction techniques. Forestiere Underground Gardens is a place anyone in the world -let alone the valley- can explore, enjoy and appreciate.


 

Fresno Art Museum

FAM

“The Fresno Art Museum offers a dynamic experience for appreciating art. The museum welcomes, inspires, and educates a diverse regional audience through significant exhibitions, thought-provoking programs, and meaningful interactions with artists and the creative process.” -Fresno Art Museum Mission Statement

Museum History as is from the Fresno Art Museum Website (with added pictures)

In the late 1940’s, a group of local artists formed the Fresno Art League to provide a forum to exhibit and critique each other’s work and to share their enthusiasm for art. The League gathered support for their organization from the community and in 1949, the Fresno Arts Center was incorporated. In 1960, after years of planning, the Fresno Arts Center building in Radio Park was dedicated.

Le Monde Créole Exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum
Le Monde Créole Exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum

The Fresno Arts Center became an active venue for art exhibitions and educational programs including artist talks, workshops, and art classes for children and adults. A mission statement, goals, and objectives were developed. The Arts Center was granted accreditation by the American Association of Museums in 1973, after an extensive study of the Center’s organization, finances, staff expertise, programs, care and storage of the permanent collection, and physical facilities. It has maintained its accreditation continuously since then.

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Donated and purchased works of art have increased the size and strength of the Fresno Art Museum’s permanent collection over the years. The scope of the collection, which had once included a mummified pigeon from ancient Egypt as well as the work of local artists, was refined over time. It currently has a focus on modern and contemporary works by American artists (painting, sculpture, prints, photographs, and other media). Pre-Columbian works from Mesoamerica and the Andes comprise a significant part of the collection, as do both modern works and folk art of Mexican origin.

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A section of the Fresno Art Museum’s Pre-Columbian Collection

In recognition of the growing extent of the permanent collection, the Board of Trustees in 1985 changed the Center’s name to the Fresno Arts Center and Museum. The name was changed to the Fresno Art Museum in 1988, following a suggestion from the American Association of Museums that was made during the reaccreditation process.

Photography of Jason DeBord
Photo of the Fresno Art Museum by Jason DeBord

The Museum’s exhibitions have included a wide range of visual arts media (painting, sculpture, graphics, photography, and fine crafts such as fiber arts, ceramics, jewelry, glass) by local as well as nationally and internationally known artists. While the Museum is best known for showing modern and contemporary art, exhibitions that reflect the visual arts traditions of the ethnic groups that contribute to the rich diversity of the Central Valley have been part of the exhibition schedule from the early years. Cultural and issue-related exhibitions in a variety of artistic media have been given increased prominence in recent years.


 

Fresno County Fruit Trail

The Fresno County Fruit Trail is just a quick trip away from Old Town Clovis. Plan your day trip!

As of May, Peaches, apricots, cherries, strawberries, blueberries and more are available on the Fruit Trail. The ongoing drought, unseasonable warm winter and early spring have had a big impact on the Fresno Country crops so many fruits, including apricots and cherries, may be in shorter supply this year. Fruit Trail farmers are working hard to help keep on-farm prices lower than traditional outlets, however prices this year may fluctuate, reflecting increased production costs, such as water and energy.

The self-guided tour through California’s agriculture heartland was created through a partnership between the elected and civic leaders and the farmers in Eastern Fresno County. The Fruit Trail celebrates the beauty, flavor and culture of this region. You can enjoy orchards full of ripe fruit literally bursting with flavor, all from the number one agricultural area in the world!

Fruit Trail organizers include Fresno County and the Cities and Chambers of Commerce of Clovis, Fowler, Kingsburg, Reedley, Sanger, and Selma. You can check out their web site directly at gofruittrail.com.

Fresno County 2014 Fruit Trail Map


Fresno County Blossom Trail

We have noticed that many of the visitors to the Old Town Clovis website are from outside Fresno County, outside of California and some even outside the United States! Welcome! Old Town Clovis is a premier end destination, with many wonderful things to offer in – and out of – Old Town.

High up on our list of things to see would be the Fresno County Blossom Trail. The Trail is organized by the Fresno County Blossom Trail Committee to celebrate and feature the beauty of Fresno County’s agriculture (plus a few historical points of interest). Awaiting you are orchards full of fruit trees bursting with blossoms and alive with fragrance.

Spring is the PERFECT time to take a drive, or bicycle ride, through the Blossom Trail. The blossom season begins in February and runs through March, but don’t forget to come back in the summertime to sample the fruit! The most recent update from the Fresno County Blossom Trail website states: “February 24, 2014 – The blossoms have arrived! Expected to have good blossom viewing for the next 2-3 weeks.” They expect the blooms to last through early March, but be sure to check their website for more updates.

The Blossom Trail runs through Sanger, Reedley, Orange Cove, Selma, Clovis, Kingsburg, Fowler, and Kings River. Simonian Farms is the official start of the Blossom Trail tour. While you’re enjoying the views you might notice the thin black hoses stretching across the orchard from tree to tree. These are drip irrigation systems put in place by Fresno growers in an effort to conserve precious water supplies. On your drive you will see many varieties of petals. Almond, Plum and Apple blossoms are all white, as are Citrus – which has the most aromatic fragrance. Apricot blossoms have pink petals and Peach and Nectarine blossoms feature pink to red petals.

Whether Old Town Clovis is your end destination or a stopping point to another one of California’s treasures, we hope you will enjoy your stay!

Fresno County Blossom Trail Clovis trip ideas


Yosemite National Park
yosemite far view pic

From conventional tent camping to luxurious resort style accommodations, Yosemite has a way to stay overnight for just about anyone. Our near-and-dear Yosemite is a world renown natural icon, and only less than two hours away from our beloved Old Town Clovis- how truly lucky we are! When someone says Yosemite, the next thought that comes to mind is usually Half Dome or El Capitan, and although these are absolutely awe-inspiring sights, there is so much more to enjoy in Yosemite National Park than just that. Some things to do in Yosemite include; biking, camping, backpacking, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing, water rafting, picnicking, photography, bird watching and more! People travel from all over the world to visit Yosemite, a place for those of us in the valley, is merely a couple hours away! Yosemite National Park is a place that anyone will love and value. This type of nature experience is a part of our primitive core as humans (and as inhabitants of Central California), and exploring Yosemite is the essence of what it means to get back to those primitive roots; so why not? Now is the time to explore, travel, breathe and experience Yosemite.
Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park yosemite lake pic


 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

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If you’re looking to explore a national park with a lot of biodiversity, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park might just be the place for you. From gigantic trees, to cavernous canyons, to sky-high mountain peaks; these two national parks are certainly a sight for sore eyes. These parks are mentioned together because their history and future is intricately intertwined due to their close proximity to one another and the fact that Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks began to be jointly administered in 1943.

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Together, these two adjoining parks are 66 miles long and 36 miles wide at their farthest extent. Within this vast amount of space there are many awesome sights to be seen, one of which is Mount Whitney, standing at 14,494 feet high, it is one of the highest mountain peaks in the U.S. and the west slope of this mountain just so happens to reside in our very own Sequoia National Park.
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Perhaps Mount Whitney a little too high of an altitude for your liking? Fret not, Sequoia National Park has something below in store for you; if you’d rather explore a cave instead of hike a mountain, the Crystal Cave of Sequoia National Park is the place to be! Take a tour through a cave filled with some of nature’s jewels like marble, stalactites and stalagmites!
crystal cave
If you happen to find yourself drawn towards what Kings Canyon National Park has to offer, you will not be disappointed- especially if you head over to Cedar Grove. Cedar Grove is home to absolutely incredible waterfalls such as Roaring River Falls, Mist Falls and Grizzly Falls. And not only does Cedar Grove house amazing waterfalls, but also South Fork Canyon, the deepest canyon in the United States at a depth of about 8,200 feet! Last but definitely not least of what Cedar Grove has to offer is Zumwalt Meadows which had a scenic 1.5 mile self-guided gentle trail that encircles the great views of tall granite walls, lush meadows and the ever-flowing Kings River.

grizzly falls

So, if you find yourself yearning for nature’s beauty, take a trip to Sequoia and/or Kings Canyon National Park where you can; drive, camp, hike, explore caves, go rock climbing, horseback ride, enjoy the rivers or even just stand in awe surrounded by the world-renown giant sequoias.

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Millerton Lake:
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Millerton is 15-20 miles North of Clovis, about a ½ hour drive. Millerton provides the opportunity to swim, fish, boat, participate in water sports such as water skiing, and even hike in the nearby foothills. Millerton Rentals offers kayak and other watersports rentals.

Pine Flat Lake:
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Pine Flat is 35-40 miles East of Clovis, about a 1-hour drive. Pine Flat offers great fishing where you can catch a variety of fish such as wild trout, large & smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and planted trout. Besides the usual lake activities, Pine Flat is also a popular house-boating spot.

Shaver Lake:
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Shaver Lake is about 40 miles Northeast of Clovis, barely a 1-hour drive. It is quite common to see an array of ongoing activities at Shaver Lake, including but not limited to, water skiing, tubing, jet skiing, fishing and kayaking. Shaver is stocked regularly with pan-sized Trout and fingerling Kokanee, and The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project routinely stocks large, trophy-sized Trout. Shaver Lake Watersports offers all sorts of watersport rentals like: jet skis, canoes, Malibu ski boats, fishing boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddle boats. During winter time, snow activities play a huge role in Shaver Lake, especially considering not far from the lake itself is China Peak Mountain Resort; a wonderful place for beginners and pros alike to ski or snowboard as they please.

Hidden Lake (Hensley Lake):
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Hensley Lake is about 35-40 miles Northwest of Clovis, less than a 1-hour drive. Not many people know that Hensley Lake has definite historic value since it was once home to the Miwok and Yokut Native American Tribes. Despite people’s lack of historic knowledge on Hensley Lake, they still seem to enjoy themselves on the ancient land! Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, water skiing and other watersports. Lake fishing is known to be particularly good in the coves found along the lake’s shoreline, where you can find largemouth black bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. On another side of the lake, there’s a beach for swimming, hiking & mountain biking trails, equestrian trails, and even a disc golf course!

Huntington Lake:
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Huntington Lake is 65 miles Northeast of Clovis, about 1 ½ hours drive. Huntington Lake is home to the Lakeshore Resort which offers cabin rentals, an RV park, a restaurant/saloon, a general store and a marina. Huntington Lake is a very active watersport lake, offering plenty watersport rentals like kayaks and as of recently, paddleboards! Huntington Lake is also a very popular sailing lake, often having a Sailboat event each year.

Bass Lake:
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Bass Lake is 55 miles North of Clovis, a little over a 1-hour drive. Bass Lake was voted one of the West’s Best Lakes by Sunset magazine! It is known as a “warm water” lake; ideal for swimming, boating, fishing and other water activities. Bass Lake Boat Rentals offers rentals such as patio/pontoon boats, wakeboard/ski boats, jet skis, fishing boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes!