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Debbie Croft: November brings plenty to do in foothills

It’s hard to believe November is already here and 2014 is coming to a close. But there’s still a lot going on in the foothills. This list of upcoming events will help you plan late-autumn excursions, holiday celebrations and more:

▪ In Hornitos, the annual Day of the Dead candle-lighting ceremony takes place at sundown on Sunday, All Souls Day. A crowd of a few hundred gathers to walk up the hill to St. Catherine’s Catholic Church.

This tradition gives individuals and families the opportunity to remember loved ones who have died.

Participants should meet in the plaza by 5:30 p.m. The procession will begin around 6 p.m.

▪ The Sierra Foothill Conservancy offers great activities for outdoor lovers on preserve lands.

A trail ride on McKenzie Preserve for SFC members will be held on Nov. 8 beginning at 9 a.m. The 7- to 8-mile ride is on mostly flat terrain and will follow the Discover Trail to the historic San Joaquin and Eastern rail bed.

Later this month, a guided hike will take place, also on the McKenzie Preserve.

This is a great way to learn about the history, wildlife, flora and fauna of the area. For details, visit www.sierrafoothill.org.

▪ The Mountain Top Christmas Craft Boutique is a new annual event held at Mariposa’s First Baptist Church. The boutique will be in the fellowship hall of the church at 5005 Frank Wilson Road, off Highway 49. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 7-8.

Shoppers will find beautiful holiday decorations, hand-knitted and crocheted items, home décor, fashion accessories, gifts for adults and children and a variety of baked goods. A flannel bear quilt made by church quilters will be raffled off.

Admission and parking are free. Call (209) 966-5780.

▪ Support Mariposa 4-H activities by joining the kids and their leaders for a rigatoni dinner on Nov. 8. A dessert silent auction will also be held. Dinner will be served from 5-8 p.m. at the Senior Center, 5246 Spriggs Lane.

The cost is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors 62 and older and children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the Mariposa 4-H office, from 4-H members and leaders or at the door. The office is at 5009 Fairgrounds Road.

▪ A Native American art exhibit will be on display Nov. 8-29. “Celebrating the Me-Wuk Cultures of Tuolumne County” is sponsored by the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance.

The gallery is at 251 Barretta St. near historic downtown Sonora. Call (209) 532-2787.

▪ If you’re 55 or older, the Mariposa County Arts Council is continuing its free photography program.

A series of four classes will be held at various locations in Mariposa and Greeley Hill during November, December and January.

Whether you’ve never used digital photography or want to refine your skills, these classes will benefit beginning- and intermediate-level photographers.

Focused on the artistic elements, students will learn composition, lighting, creative expression and, of course, how to become more comfortable with digital technology.

The arts council will provide all necessary equipment. Visit www.mariposaartscouncil.org, call (209) 966-3155 or email friedland@mariposaartscouncil.org to register.

▪ On National Parks Free Admission Day, visitors don’t pay entrance fees to Yosemite or any of our federally protected lands. Nov. 11, Veterans Day, will be the last fee-free day this year.

Until the snow falls, Tioga Road and Pass will remain open, allowing access to the high country and eastern side of the Sierra. Visit www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm for Yosemite road conditions and weather forecast.

Then pack a lunch (and plenty of water), grab your hiking boots, your binoculars and camera and take a drive to one of America’s most picturesque spots.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. Follow her on Twitter @ghostowngal or email her at composed@tds.net.

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