a magical, memorable way to say, “Thanks, Mom!”
Special days to honor mothers can be traced to the early Greeks and Romans; and then, in 1914, Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the U.S. For over a century, the second Sunday in May has been designated as the day we honor our mothers, and remind them just how special they are.
“Last year over 1,500 celebrated Mother’s Day here at Empire Mine State Historic Park,” recalled Event Chair Bob Jennings. “We go all out to make the day as special as the women we honor. With live music, entertainment for the children, and so much more, it’s become a tradition the whole family can share and enjoy – with a variety of activities from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Several years ago the special Tea Garden was introduced, and it was an instant hit. With tables and chairs, here’s where visitors are served complimentary cups of tea and cookies. This year we’ll feature a live musical performance by guitar duo Backyard Swing (Jon Spivak and Mike Bender) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Well-known in the Sacramento area, this will mark their first appearance at an Empire Mine event. Later, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., popular guitarist George Souza will add his musical artistry to the relaxing Tea Garden atmosphere.”
The famous gardens should be glorious, and everyone’s invited to bring lunch, blankets and chairs, and picnic on the grounds near the old Clubhouse and Empire Cottage. Food and drinks will be available for purchase outside the Clubhouse. Brewbakers Family Café in Grass Valley has created special “24-karrat cakes” exclusively for Empire Mine events, and here’s where these tasty tributes will be making their debut. Visitors are welcome to take a short tour of the Clubhouse, and learn about its prestigious past.
Fun-filled activities for children include basic juggling lessons from lively entertainer Bernard Bradshaw. Near the Visitor Center, there’s a Potting Bench, where children can make little, living gifts and cards their moms will treasure. Nearby, musical duo Plinky & Plunky will lead a children’s sing-and-play along from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Another highlight will be a performance by the Forever Young Chorus near the Clubhouse, featuring new arrangements of favorite songs from 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
In the Mineyard, near the Headframe, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., visitors will enjoy the country sounds of popular local group Stepside. There will also be a performance by the Forte Miners, an award-winning barbershop quartet. Many of the Mineyard buildings and workshops will be open on Mother’s Day, including the Hoist House, the Compressor House, the Blacksmith Shop, Mine Shaft, Machine Shop, Wood Shop, Refinery, and the Mine Manager’s Office, providing a rare look at the places vital to Empire’s success.
A walk through picturesque, rose-covered Empire Cottage is highly recommended. Docents in lavish early-1900s costumes will portray famous characters from Empire Mine’s heydays, when it ranked as one of the oldest, largest, and most prosperous hard-rock gold mines in North America. Visitors will hear vivid tales of our fascinating past. Outside the Cottage, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., a local group called Fire in the Kitchen will play a variety of old-time music.
The Gift Shop will be open, with an outstanding selection of gifts for all budgets, including jewelry, books on mining and our local history, unusual geological artifacts and mementoes – plus an assortment of heritage roses, ready to fill gardens at home with color and character.
“The Mother’s Day Springtime Event is hosted by Empire Mine Park Association,” Jennings explained. “EMPA, for short, we help support the Park in ways the State does not. The Park is in need of major repairs and improvements, and EMPA’s goal is to make them happen. Everyone is invited – including well-behaved dogs on leashes – and the more people we welcome, the closer we’ll be to completing these goals. The Mother’s Day Springtime Event is a unique way to celebrate mothers – and all the special women who enrich our lives.”
The Mother’s Day Springtime Event will be held on Sunday, May 14th at Empire Mine State Historic Park, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For further details, phone the Visitor Center, (530) 273-8522 or visit www.empiremine.org
Photo by Richard Bannister
Complimentary tea in the garden with live music adds a touch of “Downton Abbey” style.
Photo by Richard Bannister
“Look, mom, I made this just for you!” Children have creative fun at the Potting Bench, where they can make little, living gifts moms will treasure.”
Photo by Courtney Ferguson
Stepside – and other live performances – make this event magical and memorable.