The Little Miss Strawberry contestants excitedly primp their pink dresses and adjust their sparkling tiaras in anticipation of the pageant’s beginning. The lighthearted event—in which girls compete in five different age groupings—is one of many novel attractions at BerryFest. A Mother's Day–weekend tradition, the 2012 festival marks the year's harvest by bringing together local farmers with a host of vendors, sponsors, entertainment acts, and conciliatory deer families at the Placer County Fairgrounds.
Daytime revelers can indulge in a surplus of diverse, certified-organic berries, which can be purchased whole or in the form of inventive, strawberry-based eats such as strawberry pizza, strawberry barbecue sauce, or strawberry-flavored strawberries. The festival’s lineup of booths also includes a beer garden where Lost Coast Brewery whets patrons’ whistles with strawberry drafts. A no-hands shortcake-eating contest crowns the winner with a commemorative trophy and proceeds benefit the Boy Scouts of America. During a live cooking demonstration, TV star Michael Marks of Your Produce Man shares recipe tips as well as tips for catching runaway piecrusts. On Sunday, festival-goers can take in a car show with a gathering of shiny, classic wheels, and all weekend long, kids can kick it on the Fun Zone’s Berry-Go-Round or drop by the event’s on-site petting zoo.
The blazing Sacramento summer sun is easily forgotten after stepping into the cool Skatetown Ice Arena, where skates and sleds slice across the frosty floors of two NHL-sized ice rinks. The arena bustles with wintry activity year round, from lively open skating sessions to festive themed skating parties.
To help avid patrons prepare to shine during special skating events, a team of professional skate instructors captain hockey clinics, youth synchronized skating teams, and instructional skating lessons for students of all ages and experience levels.
The pro shop also equips athletes for the ice—knowledgeable rink staffers outfit guests with skates in a range of sizes and styles, and provide athletes with repair services and gear. The expansive ice arena even features an onsite cafe, where servers dole out selections from a menu of pretzels, corndogs, and specialty coffee drinks that can thaw any frozen-solid feet.
As soon as kids can walk, they can tumble. Sometimes those tumbles aren't that graceful. That's where the gymnastics teachers at Byers Gymnastics come in. The learning center starts working with kids as young as twelve months, teaching them safety awareness through basic jumping, rolling, and bouncing. As they grow, they can learn basic hand-eye coordination and play in mock Olympic events including basic gymnastics and competitive napping.
Kids six through teen develop gymnastics skills on the vault, balance been, and parallel bars. Throughout the gym, bodies cartwheel, flip, and spring off trampolines, somersaulting in the air and coming back down for graceful landings. For more focused instruction in handsprings and flipping, kids can enroll in the tumbling and tramp class, which progresses through floor and tumble track events at a quicker pace.
Elliott Genovia fell in love with salsa dancing 12 years ago when he took his first salsa class. He soon became a member of Sacramento's salsa performance team and trained with respected dancers including Salomon Rivera and Ricardo Tellez. Through his education, he developed a cordial, supportive demeanor that helped him to offer dance lessons to aspiring dancers and clumsy police officers to get out of speeding tickets. Elliott opened his own studio, Dancing With Elliott, which eventually emerged from its cocoon to become Genovia Dance in 2010 after he married his dancing partner, Cara, who also teaches at the studio. The two teach both private lessons and group classes to students of all ability levels in the dance styles of salsa, merengue, cha-cha, hustle, and bachata.
Though a child's imagination can turn any setting into a wondrous landscape, Party Place gives visitors a creative boost with hand-painted murals in each of its themed rooms. These include The Park, which is painted from floor to ceiling to provide guests with the experience of dining in a redwood forest without being pressured to save some pizza for John Muir. Party Place also organizes packages for parents, such as the Premium Pizza Party, with six extra-large pizzas; the Big Screen Bash, with a movie streaming from a large projector; and the Picasso Party, with painting instruction from artist Robert Lindsey.
Roller King?s family-owned facility has given the community a shiny wooden surface to roll around on since 1977. The rink?which has undergone several upgrades and withstood three Visigoth raids since its construction?hosts training sessions that teach youngsters how to skate on Saturday morning and Tuesday afternoon and also serves as home turf for the Roseville speed skating team and the Roseville artistic skate club. In addition to the rink, the building also houses a snack bar that slings pizza, hot dogs, and soda, and an arcade to entertain guests who accidentally packed a pair of ice skates.