WE WOULDN'T BE GOING OUT ON A LIMB... if we were to say that many of the people who settled in and around Nevada City back in the 1800s were on the search for shiny things. Very shiny things, the kind of things that might glint from the bottom of pans, pans filled with river water and muck. But even if gold wasn't struck, Gold Country became pretty dang golden, what with its rambling natural stretches and covered bridges and impressive waterways and burgeoning, but not too burgeoning, hamlets. One of the best known of these burgeon-y burgs is Nevada City, a town that has hung onto its distinctive ye olde flavor, courtesy of its exceptional 19th century buildings, but also acquired a funky flair over the decades. It's the home of a major summertime soap box derby, and come Halloween? Saying half the town is decked out in costume would do a disservice to the other half of the town that is also decked out in costume, or is at least is out admiring what everyone else is wearing. Thus the N.C. is not a place that would let any opportunity pass by that involved the wearing of feathery masks, the dancing and raising of roofs, the listening to accordion-sweet tunes, and the tossing of shiny objects. So is Mardi Gras a big deal in this snug Sierra spot? One of the biggest.
AND NOPE... those shiny beads aren't made of gold, but they stand in well for the shiny spirit of the Gold Country town, which gives the whole weekend before Fat Tuesday over to celebrating. A Saturday night Masquerade Ball at the historic Miners Foundry and a Sunday parade fill the festive two-dayer, as does a carnevale, which follows the parade (look for Hurricanes and Bloody Marys to flow). Interesting tidbit? Mardi Gras Weekend is also Valentine's Weekend in 2015, so here's hoping some enterprising costume lover incorporates a few sparkly hearts into that traditional Bourbon Street-ready mask. Now that we think of it Nevada City's own Broad Street isn't too far from Bourbon Street in name, nor in wayback charm. Hey New Orleans, if you're ever in California's Gold Country, you should look up your cousin Nevada City -- we just bet you'll have a lot in common.
THE NEVADA CITY MARDI GRAS... is on Saturday, Feb. 14 and Sunday, Feb. 15.