“The Sierra Valley Art and Ag Trail is an event that offers something for everyone,” said organizer Lindsay McIntosh. “Always in late September, attendees often have a perfect fall day to enjoy the history, culture, and bounty of the Sierra Valley.”
This year SVAAT will be held Saturday, Sept. 23. The trailheads open at 9:30 a.m., and the trail will be available 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Starting at one of three trailheads — The Sierraville School in Sierraville, Sierra Valley Farms in Beckwourth, or the Grange Hall in Vinton — guests of the event travel through the Sierra Valley at their own pace, visiting Sierra Valley barn quilts, working ranches, and other historical buildings throughout the valley. Local vendors and exhibitors at each site allow participants to learn more and purchase local goods.
The trail offers participants an opportunity to visit 100-plus-year-old privately owned farms and ranches, many of which are still in operation today. The free event boasts more than a dozen sites to visit throughout the valley, and to cap off the event, there is a large barbecue dinner and auction at the Sierra Valley Grange Hall.
“It truly is an event for the whole family,” said McIntosh. “There will be live music throughout the trail and children’s activities, artist demonstrations, educational presentations, and a prize drawing. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour some of the sites and learn about the history and current day-to-day operations of the ranches.”
The Sierra Valley boasts a long history, extending over approximately 120,000 acres and sitting at around 5,000 feet. Approximately the size of Lake Tahoe, Sierra Valley was an alpine lake about 10,000 years ago. The lake’s sediment is now the valley floor.
Many of the historic farms and ranches were at one time family-run dairies that supplied milk, cream, and butter to miners in Virginia City, Nevada. Today, many of these ranches are still family-owned and -operated, having been in some families for many generations.
New this year are the Genacsi Barn; “History by Helen Roberti,” in which family matriarch Helen Roberti gives the history of the Roberti family and ranch (reservation only) at their ethereal Prayer Cabin; and a willow farm and foot-powered lathe at Lost Marbles Ranch, hosted by local artist Nick Lahaise.
The Feather River Land Trust will be opening its west gates at the Sierra Valley Preserve, showing off epic views. At the Hollitz Ranch, participants can visit the Sierra Valley yaks. Four tours of Roberti Ranch are available (by reservation only). A kids’ storytime will be held at Lil’ Megs. More than 45 local artisans will be available spread across the fifteen sites. A Cattlemen’s tri-tip lunch will be available in Loyalton Square with a lunchtime performance by Danny Horton.
The SVAAT kickoff event is set for Friday, Sept. 22, at the Lost Marbles Ranch, featuring Buck Ford in concert. Line dancing will be taught by local dance teacher Annie Fasbender. Tickets are $30 and there will be a cash bar hosted by the Cattlewomen’s Association. Doors open at 6 p.m.
It is free to travel the trail. However, SVAAT organizers encourage participants to reserve a commemorative passport and purchase prize drawing tickets (prizes are donated by participating artists and exhibitors). “Contributing to this event allows the event to remain free to the public,” said McIntosh. “Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible: Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Plumas Arts, Musica Sierra, and The Sierra County Arts Council.”
For more information, visit https://sierravalleyartagtrail.org/ or call (530) 428-5016.
Information submitted by Sierra Valley Art and Ag Trail