Holidays at Empire Mine Offers a History of Good Cheer

Santa and Mrs. Claus, in their turn-of-the-century attire, will be asking, “What would you like for Christmas?” More important, they’ll be listening carefully to the answers that may range from the latest technical products to ponies and puppies. Surrounded by lavish, traditional decorations, the Clubhouse will be glowing with good cheer.

Outside, local vendors will have a selection of light food and drinks for sale, including Brew Bakers’ exclusive “24-Karrat Cakes.” There will also be entertainment to delight the parents and children in line. On Friday, world-renowned story-telling juggler, Izzi Tooinsky will perform his “Toymaker’s Journey through the Gold Rush” show, and on Saturday, crowds will enjoy Celtic Joy. Dressed in traditional costumes, they will fill the air with festive music and good cheer.

Empire Cottage will be all decked out as well – with Living History docents portraying the characters who shaped our gold-mine history. Singer/guitarist Heather MacAdam will play seasonal music on Friday, and harpist Kurtis Bershaw will perform on Saturday.

In the Mineyard, one-man band, Gary Hinze will add more festive flair – with chestnuts being roasted nearby. Visits to the Blacksmith Shop and the Gift Shop are also highly recommended.

Held on Friday, November 24th and Saturday, November 25th, this event is ideal for local residents and out-of-town Thanksgiving guests. Hosted by Empire Mine Park Association (EMPA), last year around 2,000 children and families of all ages attended. Special activities are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both days. With free admission for children under six and free parking, it’s a magical event – and everyone’s invited. Call the Visitor Center for further details, (530) 273-8522 or visit


Photo by Michael McCartea:  Yuletide music from times past will be performed by Celtic Joy on the old Clubhouse porch. (Celtic Joy members are also docents at Empire Mine State Historic Park)

Photo by Richard Bannister:  Holiday cookies are served with history and live music in Empire Cottage

Photo by Courtney Ferguson: Izzi Tooinsky will perform “A Toymaker’s Journey Through the Gold Rush” on Friday near the Clubhouse – an engaging show that combines juggling, toys and history.

Know and Go 

Event:  Holidays at Empire Mine

When:  Friday, November 24th & Saturday, November 25th

Where:  Empire Mine State Historic Park  10791 E. Empire St. Grass Valley, CA 95945

Times:  Special activities from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day

Cost:  $7 for adults 17 & over; $3 ages 6-16; FREE admission for children under 6 +  FREE parking

Details:  Phone the Visitor Center (530) 273-8522 or visit