Debbie Croft: Spring events in the foothills

For day trips or weekend getaways, one of the following activities scheduled for the central Sierra is a great option sure to be of interest this month:

• Mariposa’s Relay for Life will take place this weekend. Beginning Saturday at 9 a.m., the 24-hour event will be held at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.

The American Cancer Society sponsors this annual fundraiser in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries around the world. Cancer survivors, their loved ones and volunteers join together to honor those who have lost their lives and to fight back against the disease. For more information, call (209) 769-7992, (209) 742-3472 or go to www.RelayforLife.org/MariposaCA.

• The Young Master Composers Celebration is currently open. This competition, sponsored by the Mariposa County Arts Council, invites Mariposa County students ages 8 to 18 to submit an original piece of classical music. Winning compositions will be orchestrated and performed at the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra’s July 5 concert. The winners will receive a $50 cash prize and a recording of their music.

Submissions must be received by MCAC by June 6 at 4 p.m. Go to the website www.mariposaartscouncil.org/young-masters-composer-celebration/ for more information and to download rules and the entry form. Or stop by MCAC, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 5009 CA State Highway 140, located above Chocolate Soup on the south end of town.

• In 1969 the world underwent changes affecting Americans at every level – even in the kitchen of a Minnesota Lutheran church. But the ladies doing the cooking have their own opinions about life, love, religion, world affairs and whatever else happens to be going on in their Midwest community. The story is told with poignancy, humor and a whole lot of spice.

“A Second Helping: The Church Basement Ladies Sequel” is now playing through June 8 at Fallon House Theatre in Columbia. For details go to www.sierrarep.org or call (209) 532-3120.

• The grand opening of the new visitor center at Calaveras Big Trees State Park is scheduled for May 24. This event also commemorates the 150th anniversary of California’s first state park. The big trees are part of Stanislaus National Forest.

The dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Special activities are planned throughout the day. In the evening, visitors may enjoy campfire and astronomy programs with the possibility of seeing a meteor shower.

A free shuttle will run from Meadowmont Shopping Center in Arnold, which includes free park admission. The vehicle entrance fee is $12 and food will be available for purchase. For details, call (209) 795-1196.

• The Railtown 1897 State Historic Park celebrates Memorial Day with excursion train rides and tours all weekend. Visitors can also watch demonstrations and tour the roundhouse.

Trains depart on the hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular prices apply.

Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the lawn. Go to the websites www.railtown1897.org or www.parks.ca.gov/Events/EventDetail.aspx?id=5207 for details, or call (209) 984-3953.

• Tenaya Lodge is offering exciting spring and summer packages this year. For those seeking adventure, try ziplining, Yosemite hiking, fly-fishing or mountain biking while staying at the Four Diamond resort. Or if relaxation is the intent, enjoy a spa experience, stargazing, swimming, archery or a poolside barbecue.

At an elevation of more than 5,000 feet, Tenaya Lodge sits near Yosemite’s south entrance. Check www.TenayaLodge.com or call (559) 692-8913 for details and reservations.