Mariposa Life

Debbie Croft: Dancing, rummaging, jamming and more in the foothills

Debbie Croft

Reasons to visit the foothills this season include many fun events already on community calendars. Maybe one of the following items will be of interest:

• An

Elegant Dress Closet Tea and Fashion Show

will be held by the Mariposa Soroptimists on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Mariposa County High School girls will model dresses available to rent for the prom. Tea, sandwiches and cookies are on the menu.

This event will take place at the Senior Center, 5246 Spriggs Lane in Mariposa. Tickets are $12 each and may be purchased from any Mariposa Soroptimist member, at Happy Burger Diner, the Rental Network or by calling (209) 742-7780.

• Dori’s Tea Cottage in Groveland is hosting a

book launch party featuring two local authors

. Nadine Pedron, author of “Lily’s Own,” and Sidney Avey, author of “The Sheep Walker’s Daughter,” will give readings and autographs. Avey’s book earned an honorable mention in a literature contest with the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Reno. Visit Dori’s from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday at 18744 State Highway 120 for this event, and enjoy refreshments and giveaways. Call (209) 962-5300 for details.

• At least 400 California middle school and high school students will attend

Columbia College’s Big Band Jazz Festival

next weekend, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The two days will be packed with music clinics, workshops and concerts.

Guest artists such as Mic Gillette from Tower of Power and Jim Anderson of the Pointer Sisters will instruct the students as well as perform. Other artists on the program include Mike Rocha, a Los Angeles session player; Ken Taylor, director of the Merced College Jazz Band; Bob Secor, composer and arranger; Clint Day with Berkeley College; Mario Flores, a Latin jazz recording artist; and Paul Contos of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

The public is invited to the school’s Dogwood Theater for daytime performances by students, and admission is free. The Friday schedule begins at 11:40 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. On Saturday, school groups play from 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m.

The grand finale concert is Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. Tickets are still available at $22 each. Call (209) 588-5126 for information and ticket reservations. To view the festival schedule visit

• The

annual rummage sale of the Ladies Guild with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

is scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The sale will be held in the parish hall from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. The church is at 4985 Bullion St. in Mariposa. Call Sheelah Gehring at (209) 966-7682 for details.

• In Coulterville, a

Boots and Bling Gala

will celebrate the reopening of the Northern Mariposa County History Center next month. New exhibits will be featured from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 8. As musicians stroll through the museum, visitors will be treated to refreshments and a rare look at Gold Country history. Silent and live auctions will be held. Admission is $15 each. Call (209)878-3015 for more information.

• Also in Coulterville, the annual

Sweetheart Ball

has honored firefighters for over 35 years. This year’s benefit event will take place 6 p.m. Feb. 8. The location will be the Lake Don Pedro Hacienda, 5182 Fuentes de Flores, in La Grange.

A grilled tri-tip dinner is planned, along with dancing and music by Keith Gibson until midnight. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the evening. Tickets are $18 each, and all proceeds support Mariposa County firefighters. For information about purchasing tickets, call (209) 852-9007 or (209) 852-9009.

• Flying machines of all kinds will be on display April 26 at the

Mariposa Air Fair and Family Adventure Day

. Children of ages 8 to17 can enjoy a free airplane ride, courtesy of local pilots. This event promotes Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program, which introduces young people to the world of aviation. Vendors interested in securing a spot at the fair may do so by going to

. More event details will be available in the near future.