‘The fair gives us a venue’: Nevada County Fair continues this weekend | TheUnion.com

‘The fair gives us a venue’: Nevada County Fair continues this weekend

Nevada Union High School FFA chapter president Meghan Garren spends time with her hog Mango Friday at the Nevada County Fair. Mango won in the breeding gilt competition and Garren hopes to compete with her across the country.
Photo: Elias Funez

Robert Miller with the Nevada County Bonsai Club stood outside of a Nevada County Fair exhibit hall Friday afternoon giving a bonsai demonstration, explaining his process and taking questions as he secured a small tree into a pot and trimmed it to improve its appearance.

Five of Miller’s own entries were among the bonsai exhibits being shown at the fair, and one had been awarded a third-place ribbon.

“The fair gives us a venue to show our trees,” said Miller. “Why have these beautiful trees if no one can see them?”

According to Miller, the county fair and other community events are also good opportunities to reach people who are interested in the hobby.

Despite having first become interested in bonsai around 30 years ago, Miller said his learning beforehand was “nothing like” the hands-on experience and advice he had received since joining the Nevada County Bonsai Club eight years ago after finding them at a local event.

Also sharing their knowledge with visitors at the fair Friday, members of the Nevada County Master Gardeners were running a booth — taking gardening-related questions and informing people of their upcoming programming from within the Family Farm area of the fair.

“They’re usually pretty specific questions,” said member Phyllis Porteous on the topics which typically brought fair-goers to the booth.

Porteous, a Master Gardener since 2003, was set to lead an event teaching about straw bale gardening that afternoon, the second event the organization had planned for the day.

According to the fair schedule, Nevada County Master Gardeners will continue their events in the Family Farm area of the fair today, with one about growing native plants at 10:30 a.m., followed by another specific to growing dahlias at 11:30 a.m.


A painting by Mya Marsh won first place, best of division, and best of show at this year’s Nevada County Fair. A painting of The Wilo by Bo Salisbury took third in the Best Nevada County Scene division.
Photo: Elias Funez

“This picture here is a little bit out of the ordinary,” said Nevada City painter George Kilner, standing beside a painting of his which won a third-place ribbon in its category and is being displayed in the fair’s Tall Pines building.

In composing the painting, Kilner said he took inspiration for the background, a brick blacksmith shop, from a visit to friends in Calaveras County; further forward, a green wagon, modeled after one he had seen at a Nevada County ranch; and the figures of two men seated at a bench, from men he saw sitting in front of a North San Juan tavern.

Kilner, who says he moved to the area in 2003 “to do two things — gold prospecting and oil landscape painting of the motherlode country,” shared that seven of his older paintings were previously displayed in the library room at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.

Since beginning to enter his paintings at the Nevada County Fair in 2005, Kilner said he had won some “Best of Division” and “Best of Show” awards in previous years, and that he was “very pleased” to have won a second-place award for another one of his paintings this year.

“This is the only venue where I exhibit,” said Kilner, going on to explain he sells his art out of his home as he does not have a separate gallery. “I used to exhibit at different things, but I only do this fair.”

The fair is set to continue today and Sunday.

Joleena Groves from Penn Valley 4-H, from left, Adelaide Angle, from Nevada Union FFA, and Bailey Ham from Bear River FFA compete against each other with their goats Friday at the Nevada County Fair. Groves won junior grand champion with her LaMancha goat named Tennessee.
Photo: Elias Funez

Daily parking at the fairgrounds costs $5. At its gates, the Nevada County Fair is selling general admission tickets for adults for $10, seniors age 65 and older for $7, and children 6 and 12 years old at $5, with free admission for children 5 years old and younger.

In addition, today is the fair’s military appreciation day, according to the event’s website, meaning free admission is offered to active and retired members of the military who show identification, until 5 p.m.

Sunday is designated “Sunday Funday,” according to the site, which means free admission is offered to children 12 years old and younger until 5 p.m.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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