Wedding Fair returns Sunday to Nevada County Fairgrounds after 30 years |

Wedding Fair returns Sunday to Nevada County Fairgrounds after 30 years

Donna Nice Hoekstra
Special to Prospector

Marie Johnson of Foothill Flowers recalls our “first” Grass Valley Wedding Fair was held at The Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Jay Cooper, original owner of KNCO Radio, said they created and produced the show throughout most of the ‘80s, along with The Union as their sponsor.

Cooper recalls the fair being “a fun, good event for locals.”

A special memory he has of the fair was greeting each bride and her mother as they entered the show.

Cooper said he would personally welcome brides and then say, “Would you like to have a kiss?”

After a few giggles, he would offer each bride a Hershey’s Kiss and tell her mother, “I also give kisses to moms.”

Cooper, head of sales and promotions for KNCO for 17 years, doesn’t recall why they stopped producing the show, but said they held it for five good shows and everyone had a lot of fun.

After a few years without a local wedding fair, Louise Ivy of Ivy Photographer picked up the reins and held her first wedding show at the Miners Foundry (Cultural Center in Nevada City).

Her show would continue throughout the ‘90s. It was sponsored by The Union and was held annually until 2006.

Ivy recalls the wedding fair was an essential part of planning a wedding in the ‘90s and that it wasn’t uncommon for a couple to hire all their vendors during the fair.

Ivy had a strong sense of “buying local” before the term was even coined.

Like Cooper, she felt that wedding fairs were a type of community service for both the bride and groom and the community.

Ivy had a policy of doing her best to sell her booths to local vendors — something that is carried on to this day.

During her years of producing the fair, Ivy’s daughter Alicia worked alongside her mom as both a photographer’s assistant and a co-fair producer.

Ivy retired in 2008 and Alicia now is sole owner of Ivy Photographer, which specializes in portrait photography.

The Miners Foundry continued hosting the fair as a fundraiser for the nonprofit.

In 2009, I was asked to produce my first wedding fair for Miners Foundry.

I designed and produced “A Wedding Affair For All Seasons” for the Foundry until 2012.

In 2013, I made the move to produce my own fall shows,

The “His & Hers Wedded Affair” was held at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Auditorium and then The Foothills Event Center in Grass Valley in 2014.

The Foundry continued hosting the spring show until 2015.

A few additional wedding shows have been held in Grass Valley the past few years, but all have been discontinued.

This year, the Grass Valley Wedding Fair is once again being held at its original location, The Nevada County Fairgrounds.

There have been a lot of changes in 30 years, but the community spirit of the event has been a theme that has stood the test of time.

The Grass Valley Wedding Fair, “A Wedding Affair For All Seasons,” will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley.

We have over 50 vendors participating. Highlights of the fair include FREE admission,

All vendors will be offering show discounts,

Swag bags will be available for all brides. Also on hand will be style booths, light bites, sparkling beverages, live music, vintage rentals and bridal toss giveaways every hour.

More than $5,000 in door orizes will be given away to brides and grooms.

For more information including a list of vendors and Door Prizes visit

Donna Nice Hoekstra is owner of Joy of Life Events and organizer of the Grass Valley Wedding Fair.

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