What's the best way to enjoy a summer evening? Some might say with friends, music and a fine beverage.
Bob and Carrie Hickman, proprietors of the Chalet View Lodge, just west of Portola, are hosting a Music & Brews benefit Saturday, July 24, for Portola Railroad Days.
The special family evening, 4 - 8 p.m., will feature live music, beer tasting and a variety of outdoor activities. A cover charge of $20 per adult will be donated to Portola Railroad Days, and will help defray the costs of the evening's beer sampling and raise money for the August event.
Steve Leal of the Rock Bottom Band first offered to perform a benefit concert for Railroad Days, but event planners were without a proper venue. "I thought we were going to lose out on a fantastic opportunity. I was obviously thrilled when Bob (Hickman) called me! The lodge presents a picturesque setting, with large golf greens, patios and a pool," said Donna Mills, Railroad Days event chairwoman. "Families can bring chairs or a blanket and sit back and enjoy the music. Kids can just be kids. This is life in the mountains. It's great!"
The Hickmans began brewing beer in May. "We purchased the equipment from the Truckee Brewing Company a year ago," remarked Hickman, "and are finally bottling our first beer. We are just doing extract brewing so far. We've been shopping Craigslist for a brew-master. It's been fun, and we've been busy. This event will give us a little more exposure and help Railroad Days in the process."
"Some people have only a vague idea of what it takes to put on small community festivals," explained Mills. "Railroad Days has been a tradition for 28 years now. People expect it. It's part of who we are and, unfortunately, we have very few corporate sponsors. But it's not just the money, and that is always a challenge. It's a mountain of work, too! There have been a lot of new folks offering to help this year."
The community has been working together on various events to build year-round tourism in the area. Chris David of Coldwell Banker is coordinating Stars in the Barn, an aerial acrobatics show and Frisian horse exhibition at the Corner Barn in Blairsden the same weekend as Railroad Days, in hopes of attracting new visitors to the area.
Planners of the Music & Brews concert, Portola Railroad Days and the Stars in the Barn see these events as prime opportunities to reach out to locals and tourists alike.
"The special excursion train due to arrive Friday, Aug. 20, during Portola Railroad Days will bring another 500-600 tourists to Railroad Days, many of whom have never visited Plumas County," commented Mills. "We have a captive audience and a perfect opportunity to showcase Eastern Plumas County."
Train guests who are not booked in special sleeping cars on the train will spend the weekend at lodging in and around Portola, including Chalet View Lodge and other hotels. Special tour buses will shuttle guests to the event and back to their accommodations.
For information about Music & Brews call Chalet View Lodge at 530-832-5588. For information about Stars in the Barn contact Chris David at 836-4421. For information regarding Portola Railroad Days contact Donna Mills at 832-6032.
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