It goes without saying that Yosemite National Park forever will be the
greatest recreational draw for visitors and residents alike. But as spectacular
as the scenery is in this part of God’s country, it alone doesn’t
create close-knit communities.
Neighbors socializing with neighbors turn an address into a home. Here
is a peek at a handful of the entertainment and recreational opportunities
in Eastern Madera County.
The Chukchansi and Monos American Indian tribes still living in the area
continue to hold many gatherings, native dances, and Pow-Wows. Both tribes
demonstrate and teach basket weaving – look for examples of this
fine art work for sale in many of the local shops.
Oakhurst Community Center
The Community Center of Oakhurst serves as the social hub for Oakhurst
and its surrounding mountain area. Thanks to the immaculately well-kept
landscape, kitchen facilities, pavilion, and main hall, the Community
Center is a magnet for weddings and receptions, anniversary celebrations,
birthday parties, class reunions, services clubs, and community activities.
But it’s also a draw for everyday life as well. Dance clubs meet
regularly at the Center, along with the Mountain Community Women, Weight
Watchers, and other organizations. The Oakhurst Community Advisory Council
meets regularly on the last Thursday of each month here.
The main hall, which can hold up to 300 people, features a hardwood floor,
large stage area, and an excellent sound system. Additional rooms make
the Community Center the ideal place for smaller meetings and events.
Fresno Flats Historical Park
Fresno Flats Historical Park recaptures the flavor of 19th century life
in this secluded part of California. But don’t expect to immerse
yourself in strike-it-rich or riches-to-rags stories common to many communities
associated with the state’s Mother Lode gold fields. The pioneers
who settled here mainly came to build their lives and raise their families,
so they planned from the start to earn their living as farmers, merchants,
and by using the rich natural resources of the mountains.
Both of the two restored homes that comprise the museum have been designated
as Points of Historical Interest by the State of California. Historians
call attention to the unique construction styles restored by the volunteers
of Sierra Historic Sites Association (SHSA) – designs no longer
in use anywhere else in the state. A pair of one-room schools, two 19th-century
jails, and several other farm buildings complete the historical park.
The museum complex is open from dawn to dusk for self-guided tours of
the grounds, and picnic areas and restrooms are available. The museum
is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guided tours of the
grounds and buildings are available from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Reservations for group tours may be made by calling 559-683-6570.
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE SIERRAS
Located in Oakhurst, 24 miles south of the entrance to Yosemite National
Park, is the latest "fascination station." The 4000-square-foot
museum, open year-round, is packed with a variety of activities to occupy
the hands and minds of young people of all ages.
The Children's Museum of the Sierras is a discovery museum for young people
(ages 2 to 12) and their families, providing hands-on exhibits and programs
designed to encourage visitors to learn by doing, imagining, creating,
and making choices. The museum is located at 49269 Golden Oak Drive, Suite
104, Oakhurst, CA 93644. You can reach them at 559-658-5656.
WILD WONDERFUL KING VINTAGE MUSEUM
Above the Children’s Museum you will find the Wild Wonderful King
Vintage Museum. For more than 20 years, Barbara and Allan King collected
the goods and apparel of past times. Authors of numerous books and articles
on vintage clothing, the Kings saw many of their pieces on display at
the Fresno Metropolitan Museum and others in fashion shows throughout
Central California. With the loan of the King’s Family Collection,
we have the nucleus of many of our rotating exhibits.
Come see “The Way Things Were: Fashions and the Stuff of Life”
at the museum located at 49269 Golden Oak Drive, #208, Oakhurst. They
can be reached at 559-658-6999.
LITTLE CHURCH ON THE HILL
The Little Church on the Hill is another must on every visitor list. Located
in the center of Oakhurst at Oakhill Cemetery, the church is the only
remaining wooden structure of its era in the entire region.
In 1994, the church was designated as a State of California Point of Historical
Interest. The church was dedicated to public use in June 1995 –
101 years after its consecration. At that time, the Madera Cemetery District,
which operates Oakhill Cemetery, authorized formation of the Little Church
Foundation as an educational, historical, and service organization to
guide the church's future preservation and use.
Bass Lake Fireworks
Ok, you’ve seen fireworks. You’ve seen awesome displays over
the Statue of Liberty in New York City. You’ve witnessed the skies
washed in color across the globe to ring in the year 2000. You’ve
anticipated the techno-wizardry of the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.
But if you haven’t relaxed on a boat or sat lakeside to enjoy fireworks
light up the night and reflect in the clear waters of Bass Lake, you can’t
say you’ve truly enjoyed fireworks. There’s only one word
for our version: breathtaking.
Mountain Peddlers Fair
The Oakhurst Mountain Peddlers Fair is the largest street fair in Madera
County, held twice each year (Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends).
Expect live entertainment, a large food court, and the best of show in
each category. You don’t want to miss this mountain tradition. Come,
enjoy, and find that special treasure.
North Fork Logger’s Jamboree
A step-back-in-time experience to celebrate the timber trades. This unique
gathering features men’s logging competitions and more.
Oakhurst Fall Festival
Art displays, wine tastings, and crafts make this an anticipated event
to entertain adults and children alike.