Rose Merrill headlines a robust day of music, wine and horseshoes at the Cachagua Country Fair.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Well past Carmel Valley Village, there’s a remote and rugged community who knows how to have a good time. They aim to prove it at the Cachagua Country Fair.
Held at the spacious Community Center Park, the fair started in 1988 and has always been a popular fiesta, but last year’s wildfires and the visitor restrictions that came with them made the party more of an intimate gathering. As a result, event coordinators have arranged an afternoon designed to reveal a celebration which, much like the community itself, has emerged from the ashes of Indians and Basin Complex fires as triumphant as ever.
“We had a fair last year and it was great, but it was more of a friendly locals’ party because of the nearby fires,” event coordinator Kimberley Boughner says. “We want to bring the fair back to its usual widespread popularity.”
It helps that the setting and scheduled events are as attractive as the area’s increasingly popular wines. The family-friendly atmosphere summoned by the 15-acre park and Community Center in upper Carmel Valley involves plenty of sunshine, twisting oaks surrounded by chaparral and wildflowers, and the adjacent Carmel River, where most find it hard to resist taking a dip.
The fair itself begins at noon with the very popular – and competitive – horseshoe tourney, in which iron-tossers from across the county compete for prizes and bragging rights.
A wine tasting follows at 1pm with vintners from several nearby wineries on hand – Gallante, Joullian, Heller and Bernardus – as does live music from a trio of homegrown acts. Folk/country singer Rose Merrill spearheads the entertainment with a 2-4pm set of western acoustic anthems sprinkled with lyrics about hard luck and hard love (and punctuated by jokes). The Hay Boys and The Old Buds, two Carmel Valley acts fronted by familiar faces, Billy Ingram and Bob Viabes, play their old-style rock and blues riffs. The Hills Have Guys, a band of country-rocking youngsters, open.
Fittingly enough for a from-the-ashes affair, all proceeds benefit the Cachagua Community Center and the Cachagua Volunteer Fire Company – who will be on hand barbecuing chicken, tri-tip, sausage and other treats all day.
“The Community Center and the Fire Brigade are absolutely crucial to our community and they are very dedicated,” Boughner says. “They do everything out here and we are all interested in paying them back for their constant support. Everyone remembers their efforts last year and previous years, so we want this year’s fair to deliver a give-back spirit.”
To that end, the silent auction includes items like a rare print by local cowboy artist Jack Swanson, Eastern-style blown glass, framed prints of the Basin Complex Fire by local photographers, certificates for Will’s Fargo and other local restaurants, a Carmel Valley Lodge fireplace suite and enough other stuff to fill a fire truck. Local artisans will also peddle jewelry, sculpture and other handmade goods.
“The support raised at the Country Fair is the most we obtain all year for the Cachagua Community Center and the Volunteer Fire Company,” Boughner adds. “It is huge and we are very thankful for the event to return in full force this year. The Community Center is important for our residents and we created the Center Committee to maintain and rejuvenate the spirit of the park. It’s important for us, our history and our children.”
That’s a lot of good to be had from having a good time.
The Cachagua Country Fair takes place noon-8pm Saturday, June 20, at the Cachagua Community Center (9 miles south of Carmel Valley Village on Carmel Valley Road). Free to attend, donations accepted. cachagua.org