Steve Martarano was a reporter at the Sacramento Union for 10 years during the 1980s and worked as a sportswriter, on the daytime crime beat, and reviewing concerts. He retired after working in government public affairs for almost 30 years for several state and federal agencies, most recently for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bay-Delta office. Steve has lived in Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood with wife Sharon for more than 30 years. Read more at www.stevemartarano.com. On Twitter @MartArchives.
It’s the first night back after Lotus Pub’s annual two-week holiday break, and at 5 p.m. when the doors swing open on this frigid Friday in January, a line has already formed.
With a seating capacity for just over a thousand fans, it’s smaller than most Capital Region high school gyms. Despite its limitations, the cozy Hornet Gym — also known as The Nest — has been the main facility for NCAA indoor sports at Sacramento State since 1955.
Mokelumne Hill may not be the busiest tourist hub in the Amador-Calaveras Sierra Nevada foothills loop that includes Sutter Creek, Jackson, Angels Camp and Murphys. But that doesn’t mean the uniquely well-preserved 1850s Gold Rush-era settlement along the Mokelumne River, often called Moke Hill by the locals, is lacking in things to do and see.
It’s a stop for nightly commuters, a biker bar and a family-oriented historical highway landmark, hosting everything from car shows, weddings and baby showers, to taco Thursdays and Wednesday trivia nights.
Bud Milo enters the 90-year-old restaurant and bar on Main Street in Rio Vista for the first time, and his expression immediately changes after seeing 300 mounted hunting trophies and photos lining the walls. “There’s a whole lot of animals here,” says the incredulous Milo.
While other professional soccer teams have come to town with hype and promise, only to flicker briefly before disappearing — teams like the Gold, Spirits, Geckos, Scorpions, Senators and the Knights — the United Soccer League’s Sac Republic connected with the Capital Region in a major way.
Wayne Bishop of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland claims the farm is the largest pick-your-own pumpkin patch in the world. It remains a true family-run business, with Wayne, his wife Ann, his sons Lee and Austin, and his daughter-in-law Courtney leading the farm his parents started more than 50 years ago.
The well-preserved, semi-ghost Placer County town of Dutch Flat, an hour drive east of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada foothills, has earned the description of being “a step back in time,” as local hotelier Leif Lowery described it.
The roar of auto engines and the smell of gasoline, hot dogs,
barbecue and beer have marked summer Saturday nights at
the Stockton 99 Speedway since 1947 at the oldest
running racetrack west of the Mississippi.
After torrential rains hit the Capital Region early in 2023, flooding out Discovery Park, organizers of the upcoming Sol Blume festival planned there for April 29-30 had some decisions to make.
Fans filed into the RingCentral Coliseum for a late June day game, less than 15 hours after New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán no-hit the A’s to become the 24th pitcher in MLB history to toss a perfect game.
Sacramento was in the international spotlight July 8-15, when the 18th Homeless World Cup, a compelling weeklong soccer tournament that spotlights the plight of worldwide homelessness, was held on the campus of California State University, Sacramento.
As the crew with Yolo Ballooning Adventures prepares the aircraft for its scheduled 90-minute trip, general manager Mike Veliz looks out over the launch site dotted with half a dozen other balloons from various Northern California companies readying for takeoff. “The best part of this job,” says Veliz, a Woodland native, “is getting to watch the sunrise every day.”
Isleton’s Crawdad Festival — a defining event from the mid-1980s to the late 2000s for the tiny city along the Sacramento River — returned to Main Street for the first time in 14 years on June 17-18, swelling the city of less than 800 residents to an estimated 60,000 over the two-day event.
Even when the tulips aren’t blooming during the April-May window, Crystal Hermitage is a destination experience that has received accolades by AAA Magazine as a top garden to visit in the West.
The story of The Workshop, the popular 600-square foot Cajun-Creole walk-up restaurant in Benicia, starts with a teen romance between Danny Glassmaker and Naomi Buskirk more than 30 years ago.
The temple and museum is usually a quiet respite for visitors, open by appointment only. But during one weekend, the serenity is replaced by bursts of firecrackers and thousands of visitors attending the Bok Kai Festival weekend, honoring Bok Eye.
Eight schools and their fans landed in Sacramento to play in the NCAA tournament’s first and second round games, bringing in an estimated $10 million in economic impact.
Inspired by its proprietor Brynn Wooden — known to all as Miss B — and Woody, her husband of 40 years, the lodge is a beacon in the tight-knit Gold Rush communities of Colfax, Iowa Hill and Foresthill.
The 4,500-seat facility held a ribbon cutting celebration on Feb.
14 and then opened three days later with a sold-out, three-day
President’s Day weekend run of the Eagles, Bruno Mars and
Nevada County Mead Company is one of the few places in the Capital Region that produces and serves mead, which the ancient Greeks called “nectar of the gods.”
The Benicia Historical Museum houses tens of thousands of artifacts related to multiple wars and the Gold Rush era, providing a place for visitors to learn something new and appreciate the story of California.
The store has delighted visitors through several generations while also featuring a wide selection of greeting cards, puzzles, candy, gifts and houseware items. Having an internet presence has helped them return to pre-pandemic sales numbers.
The Oct. 29 Showdown at Cache Creek brought prominent boxers and
promoters to the Yolo County casino, which undertook a $200
million expansion during the pandemic.
Lodi-based, family-owned Calivirgin has reshaped its
business. Part of California’s rich olive oil landscape for
almost two decades, its new facility allows the owners to
showcase award-winning products, introduce a new wine
line and host tastings.
The night of Oct. 22 — with three college and professional sporting events starting around the same time — was expected to be a memorable night for Sacramento sports fans.
As the chilly night unfolded, those expectations were undoubtedly
Rosebud’s is known for authenticity and acceptance as much
as for good food, and is a leader on several local issues
involving homelessness and LGBTQ rights.
Crus’ nursery and landscaping construction company help
shape the region’s image and produce plants that
withstand the rough high-elevation climate of the area.
Created in 1952, Elliott’s Natural Foods was the first in its area to offer many of its health food products. Since their approach to whole and organic food was considered a rarity in the early 1950s, they made dispensing wellness knowledge and advice a part of their business plan, which they carry through to today.
Reflecting on the many chapters of the building best known as
ARCO Arena, its farewell event and what’s next for the Natomas
Both the Davis and Sacramento food co-ops have expanded
exponentially since their inception in the early 1970s, when they
primarily served ”the hippie population.” Fifty years
later, has the spirit of 1972 held up?
Frank Sullivan’s mining legacy is as rich as Auburn’s, and is
reflected in his timeless shop, Pioneer Mining Supplies.
Sacramento’s jazz community gathered at Torch Club recently to play their annual memorial jam to honor Johnny “Guitar” Knox. The fundraiser raised money for the Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame.
Following tragic circumstances, Penny Candy has reopened,
continuing its decades-long status as a treasured destination in
Live Oak. Now, it’s up for sale.
PODCAST: Capital Region music festivals attract tens of thousands of fans from nearby areas and from all around the country, shaping its identity and boosting the local economy.
Capital Region music festivals attract tens of thousands of fans
from nearby areas and from all around the country.
An electronic system that relays information almost instantaneously is helping umpires make their calls.
The Delta bar’s five new owners kept the biker bar’s decor, unique traditions, steakhouse-style food menu and controversial name.
A family of avid cyclists operates a long-running bike business in bike-friendly Davis.
Get excited for Record Store Day on April 23 with this photo essay of some of the region’s most beloved, idiosyncratic shops.
Roller skating is trendy on a national and local scale for its nostalgic and therapeutic appeal. Capital Region rinks are capitalizing on the pastime’s increasing popularity.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit provides a wide range of emergency rescue services to those who are lost, stranded or injured.
This year florists face supply chain shortages, winter weather and COVID effects, but press on to serve Capital Region romantics.
An eclectic studio situated on a Vallejo peninsula, Mare Island Art Studio provides public and private gallery space for 19 diverse artists.
Memorabilia, beer and longstanding friendships have made the shop a beloved stop for regulars.
After a pause in 2020’s holiday festivities, Sacramento’s holiday season returns looking as bright as ever.
A young Amador County couple is making their mark with a small-but-mighty vegetable farm in Ione. Starting with little experience, they’ve grown into one of the region’s most popular small farms.
Sacramento may be 100 miles from the closest surfable ocean waves, but that hasn’t stopped Capital Region veterans from catching them.
You probably wouldn’t expect to find touches of Italy at a Woodland bowling alley, but there are plenty at the San Bruno Bowling Center.
There are more than a thousand ticking, chiming clocks cramming the floors and wall spaces at House of Clocks in Lodi.