Nevada City Summer Nights may well be the ultimate street soiree |

Nevada City Summer Nights may well be the ultimate street soiree

Pamerla Biery
Submitted to Prospector
Nevada City’s Summer Nights for 2019 continues a great tradition with a family-friendly street soiree featuring free live entertainment, face-painting, vintage cars, belly dancers and many vendors.
Submitted photo

Know & Go

What: Nevada City Summer Nights

Whwn: 6-9:30 p.m. July 17, 24 and 31

Where: Downtown Nevada City

Cost: Free

If you stay around the Sierra Nevada Foothills long enough, you realize that there is bound to be a certain amount of blending between fact and fiction — after all, there was a reason Mark Twain and Bret Harte loved this place.

So when I asked how Nevada City’s Summer Nights got started in 1991, it was sort of expected that there would be a bit of legend along with the tale. So far, however, most people who were there chose to stay mum and let what goes on in Nevada City, stay in Nevada City.

The event, which lights up the town each July for three sequential Wednesday nights — this year July 17, 24 and 31 — has its roots in day-dreaming about those “hot summer nights” in Mexico, where people come out after siesta and enjoy a pleasant evening with music, socializing, street food and often dancing. So it was that Pat Dyer (Utopian Stone Jeweler), Greg Cook (Friar Tuck restaurant founder) and Cathy Whittlesey (Chamber of Commerce executive director) decided it was time to take these “South of the Border” concepts and combine them with the successful Victorian Christmas style event—but with a focus on family-friendly summer fun and entertainment, rather than shopping. Summer Nights was an immediate success, and for many, is their favorite Nevada City tradition. Streets close, bands sprinkled throughout town play, and together with great food and craft vendors create an unmistakable, pure summer atmosphere. Add some vintage cars, a face painter, belly dancers and well, you’ve got quite a mix…

This year will be another music-filled street soiree. So if you haven’t ever been, it’s time to check it out. If you are a regular attendee, then you know this is an event not to be missed.

This Wednesday, July 17, the music will be provided by Running ‘4 Cover, Cousin Cricket, Troupe Al Ama, David Ayala, Gary & Eva, Ludi Hinrichs Jazz and John Girton.

The Summer Nights celebration is sponsored by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. For information, call (530) 265-2692 or (800) 655-NJOY.

Take the shuttle to downtown

Drop your group off in town and then park your car and catch the shuttle from the Nevada County Government Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City. The shuttle costs $5 for adults and children 15 and over. Children under 15 ride free. Return journeys are free for all. Dogs are allowed on the shuttle, on a leash or in your lap. Shuttle hours are 5:30-10 p.m. each Wednesday.

Pamela Biery is a long-time Nevada County resident, writer, and observer of local culture and history. She can be reached at

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