Summer Magic: The Children’s Festival in Nevada City |

Summer Magic: The Children’s Festival in Nevada City

Evening revelers stroll beneath the medieval banners made for The Children’s Festival by local artisans.
Submitted Photo to Prospector |


WHAT: The Children’s Festival

WHEN: Friday, July 21, 2017; 9 a.m. until noon and 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

WHERE: Pioneer Park, Nevada City; take the Broad St. off-ramp and follow the signs to the park.

WHO: This event is put on by local volunteers, is made possible through the generous donations of many local businesses and is sponsored by Nevada City Rotary Club. The Children’s Festival is also supported by The Center for the Arts.

TICKETS: $3 per person for each session

INFO: Email the Festival Director, Karen Nelson, at



On Friday, July 21, The Children’s Festival will return to Pioneer Park in Nevada City for the 15th year. The park will be transformed into a lively Renaissance Faire for children.

The Children’s Festival has become one of the premiere summer events for children, with over 2000 children and adults attending. Children are able to make their own costumes, swords, shields, crowns, chainmail bracelets, macaroni and wood plaque necklaces, butterfly rings and magic wands. They are able to engage in wood block construction, soapstone carving, Renaissance rubbings, solar art, clay modeling and castle painting — and this year’s Dragon Castle will have a secret door. The Audubon Society will also be returning with their painted wooden birds and bird masks.

There will be strolling minstrels, jugglers, face-painters, a bridge-guarding troll, a bevy of faeries, a wizard, Pepper the Witch, medieval fencing, sword dancing, catapults, spinning demonstrations, Queen Elizabeth and her court, and Claude, the life-sized mechanical dragon. The Pirates of Sacramento “Pyrate Skool” will be returning with their interactive “edutainment” program including nautical history, “pirate-speak”, and the opportunity to shoot stuffed monkeys from cannons — an activity that has been wildly popular with the kids each year.

There is an entertainment stage with performances throughout the morning and evening. The Harvest Home Revelers Sword Dancers, Penney the Clown, and Zed Friedman and Parker Chow of EZ PZ Jugglers will be performing at both the morning and evening sessions. New this year is the Ruckrich Family Band who will also be performing at both sessions. Each session will end with the Queen’s Procession and Festival Parade, and all attendees are invited to participate. Costumes are encouraged.

The Children’s Festival has been described as “amazing”, “the best memory of the summer”, and “an opportunity to be transported to a place and time somewhere in the realm of imagination.” With fun crafts and performances in Nevada City’s beautiful Pioneer Park, it’s a wonderful adventure for children of all ages.

Because The Children’s Festival is an event and not an organization, they have always partnered with a non-profit to act as their fiscal agent to manage donations and file taxes. In the past, the Public Education Enrichment Fund was their partner, but The Children’s Festival is now affiliated with The Center for the Arts. “We are very excited about our new partnership with The Center for the Arts,” said Festival Director Karen Nelson. “Our mission to support children and the arts is so well aligned with the mission of The Center and we also see opportunities for cross promotion and sharing volunteers. “

“The Children’s Festival is so beloved in our community and we always get great support from local businesses and great attendance. Our biggest challenge is finding enough volunteers for the day of the Festival. The original festival began in 1971 and ended in 1989 due to lack of volunteers, and we would hate for that to happen again. We are hoping that our partnership with The Center will help us get the word out so that we can continue this wonderful event for years to come,” said Nelson.

This year’s Children’s Festival will once again have two sessions, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission to each session is $3. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

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