17 years ago a handful of South Placer mandarin growers gathered together for the first Mountain Mandarin Festival in Newcastle. The little festival quickly outgrew the small town square and now has taken over the Gold Country Fairgrounds. Now there are more than 75 growers, and more than 35,000 visitors flock to the Festival each year.
The annual Mountain Mandarin Festival celebrates the new crop of delicious, locally grown Mandarin oranges, a Mandarin Recipe cooking contest, professional chef demonstrations, food, AGROart competition, crafts and activities featuring the Mandarin orange, free children’s area, live music and entertainment. Fifteen to twenty Placer County growers will sell thousands of pounds of fresh Mandarin oranges and gift baskets accompanied by all the free samples you like.
The SaveMart Cooking Stage is another favorite with demonstrations by professional chefs and the annual Kitchen Craft Make It With Mandarins recipe contest which offers $2500 in prizes.
The Festival is held under the autumn-leaved trees of the Gold Country Fairgrounds and their golds, rusts and burgundies are punctuated with the bright orange globes of Mandarins everywhere you turn. The tangy scent of citrus is in the air as visitors discover chocolate covered fresh Mandarins, Mandarin gelato, chicken wings, pizza, pulled pork, or take home Mandarin BBQ sauces, syrups, dressings and dozens of other Mandarin inspired concoctions.
More than 225 vendors of quality gift items also sell Mandarin scented lotions, soaps, and candles, along with artist-crafted jewelry, home accessories, and holiday items.
Even though the Festival outgrew the town square of Newcastle years ago, and is held at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn, it is still presented by the Newcastle Area Business Association (NABA). Proceeds support the NABA scholarship program with four $1,000 scholarships awarded in 2009, 15 community groups benefited from the Festival, as well as the Newcastle Volunteer Fire Department who will be manning the admission gates.
Follow the Mandarin Festival on FaceBook and Twitter for special discount offers. Learn more at www.mandarinfestival.com or call 916-663-1918.
17th Annual Mountain Mandarin Festival
November 19, 20 and 21, 2010
Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St., Auburn, CA
Hours: Friday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm; Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm,
Admission: $6; Seniors $4; Age 12 & Under Free
Watch for offers via FaceBook and Twitter
Parking $5, some street parking available