Mariposa Life

Early autumn events plentiful in foothills

In honor of National Public Lands Day, Yosemite Facelift will be held later this month. This extensive cleanup will occur on Wednesday through Sunday, Sept. 21-25.
In honor of National Public Lands Day, Yosemite Facelift will be held later this month. This extensive cleanup will occur on Wednesday through Sunday, Sept. 21-25. Sierra Star file

Birding in the high country, art appreciation, outdoor competition, music and so much more take place this month in some of our foothills communities. Won’t you come for a drive and stay awhile?

In the historic state park of Columbia, the 44th annual Art Show will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. More than 50 local artists will sell their jewelry, paintings, pottery and fine art. Call 209-536-1329 for details.

Also in Columbia the annual Poison Oak Show takes place Sept. 24 during the Fiddle and Bango Contest. (Yes, I’ve been told they spell it “bango”; more on this to follow.)

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce says, “Gardeners and eccentrics with a sense of humor can enter their ‘floral arts’ featuring poison oak. Categories include: Biggest branch, biggest leaf, best edible, best arrangement, best rash, best photo and most potent looking leaf.”

Entries will be accepted from 10 a.m. to noon, judging will take place from noon to 4 p.m., and prizes will be awarded at 5 p.m. Call 209-288-2258 for more information.

Columbia’s 34th Fiddle & Bango Contest will be held at the park’s gazebo. Over 40 musicians compete in the following categories: fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, vocal, original song and miscellaneous. Cash prizes will be awarded in each category. The grand prize winner takes home a gold nugget.

The entry fee is $15 per category. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The public is invited to attend at no cost. Bring your own seating, hats and sunscreen.

A chili cook-off is scheduled at lunchtime. This event begins at 10:30 a.m., and judging takes place around 4 p.m. Call 209-536-1329 for details.

In honor of National Public Lands Day, Yosemite Facelift will be held later this month. This extensive cleanup event will take place Wednesday through Sunday, Sept. 21-25.

In conjunction with Yosemite Climbing Association, the park invites everyone to come and help pick up trash and debris from around the park.

In a total of 9,692 hours last year, more than 1,400 Yosemite Facelift volunteers collected 14,762 pounds of trash.

“Facelift is an important event that brings our community together,” said Don Neubacher, superintendent of Yosemite National Park. “We are proud and grateful to the dedicated volunteers who donate their time and help clean up Yosemite after a busy summer season.”

Entrance fees will be waived on Saturday, Sept. 24. All camping and amenity fees will still be in effect.

Volunteers must register to participate. Crew leaders will organize work groups and provide supplies. For a complete event schedule and detailed information, visit the Yosemite Climbing Association website at or its Facebook page at

The Yosemite Area Audubon Society is hosting a field trip to Mono Lake on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25. Participants will meet at 8 a.m. at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, north of Lee Vining.

Bird watchers will look for migrating waterfowl as well as beautiful local species. Participants are encouraged to dress in layers and to be prepared for wet weather.

For details or to RSVP call 559-760-6327, or email or

Also in Mono County, the Ambush at the Lake Fishing Derby started Sept. 5 at Convict Lake. This event continues through Nov. 15. Prizes total $6,000, and the Morrison’s Bonus Derby Weekend follows on Oct. 28-30 with $2,200 in cash prizes.

For more information on what to do in the eastern Sierra, visit the calendar of events at For a free Eastern Sierra Fall Color Map and Guide with additional info on this season’s events, contact or call 800-845-7922.

Once again, Calaveras artists will invite the public into their homes and studios for the Calaveras Artists Studio Tour. On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25, those who create art and those who appreciate art can meet in these personal and creative spaces.

The free “passport” guides visitors through Gold Rush communities of Calaveras County. Passports are available at the Calaveras County Arts Council, 22 N. Main St., San Andreas, as well as at local studios and libraries.

The tour is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Call 209-754-1774 or visit for more information.

There’s so much to enjoy in our neck of the woods – we hope to see you soon!

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