Debbie Croft: Foothills full of activities through Father’s Day

06/06/2014 5:27 PM

06/06/2014 5:29 PM

Visitors will find so much to do in the foothills this month. Sierra communities offer music, theater, fine art, local literature, plus a lot more. Cool off by taking a drive to one of our towns and enjoy a slower pace for a day or two.

Cousin Jack’s Mariposa Evenings annual concert series started this weekend. On most Friday and Saturday nights through the summer, California bands perform at the Art Park on the south end of town.

The Green Machine will play reggae tonight at 7. Next weekend, the Soul Galaxy Quintet, featuring the Hagar brothers, will perform on Friday night, with their electric blues and rock tunes. Next Saturday night a Bay Area original rock group, Snail, takes the stage.

The concerts are free, but donations are suggested. Concertgoers should bring a blanket or lawn chair for seating. Visit www.mariposaartscouncil.org for a complete lineup, or call (800 903-9936.

The historic Pioneer Wagon Train makes its annual trek next week from Goat Meadow Campground in Fish Camp to the Mariposa County Fairgrounds. Following old stage coach roads, travelers cover 32 miles in three days. Each night they camp at designated spots along the trail, ending on Saturday evening with a Western dinner and dance at the Van Ness Ranch.

The wagon train includes participants on horseback, those driving a wagon and team, and those walking along, pioneer-style. Many will be dressed in period costumes.

This is the 39th year for the event. Preregistration is closed, but the public is welcome to attend evening meals and festivities. More information is available at www.mariposawagontrain.org.

“Pump Boys and Dinettes” is now showing on Sierra Repertory Theatre’s East Sonora stage. The story takes place in the South and features country-Western music. The entire cast is multitalented, both musically and theatrically.

This popular production returns to Sonora for the fourth time, giving director Brian Swasey reason to expect another record-breaking run. “Pump Boys” will be on stage through July 27. For details, visit www.sierrarep.org.

Marylin Martin of Tuolumne County, author of the book “Common Thread – Uncommon Women,” will be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Sonora Writers Groupfrom 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. next Saturday.

Her novel is “an absorbing historical saga based on four generations of women in Martin’s family,” said Blanche Abrams, chairwoman of the Tuolumne Writers Retreat.

At the meeting, Martin will answer questions, and her book will be available for purchase.

The group meets every second Saturday to support writers of poetry and prose, through constructive criticism, book readings and literary events. For more information, contact Abrams at (209) 288-9950 or blanche@sonorawriters.org.

Columbia Airport’s annual Father’s Day Fly-In takes place next Saturday and June 15. Admission is only $5. A pancake breakfast, airplane rides, live music, demonstrations and displays fill the weekend. Call (209) 533-5685 for details.

Also on Father’s Day, the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park regular excursion trains will run. Special treats for dads are included in the price. Trains depart every hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Shade trees and a grassy lawn provide perfect picnic spots.

Behind-the-Scenes shop tours take place every Tuesday at 10 a.m. The park is located in Jamestown at 18115 Fifth Avenue. Call (209) 984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org for more information.

The annual Art, Wine and Wheels Festival showcases some of the Sierra’s best wines, artwork and cars, while raising funds for Mariposa community outreach. This benefit event is sponsored by the Mariposa Rotary Club

The festival will be held at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds on June 14 from noon to 6 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Wine tasting tickets will be available for purchase, and small pieces of original artwork will be raffled. Food vendors will also be on site. Visit www.mariposarotary.org for details, or call (209) 742-7241.

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