The American River Conservancy will host the third annual Wakamatsu Farm Festival on Saturday, May 18, at the historical Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, site of the first Japanese colony in America, located at 941 Cold Springs Road, Placerville.
An event for the whole family, the Festival benefits Wakamatsu and celebrates the diverse, rich cultures that have made their home on these exceptional 270 acres of rolling hills and rich agricultural land. Festival hours are from 10 am to 4 pm and tickets will go on sale March 15.
Returning this year are popular traditional Japanese performers and exhibitors, including the Placer Ume Taiko Drummers, a Koto performance by Naoko, and a Ken-jitsu Martial Arts demonstration, as well as origami, calligraphy, bonsai, and Hoshino sensei sword exhibits. A sushi demonstration by celebrity chef Taro Arai of Mikuni’s, is always a highlight, as are his stunning and delicious sushi plates that festival-goers love.
Adding to the celebration this year are the rich histories of all the cultures that shared a connection to this land over time. Kim Shiningstar Petree will share storytelling and basketry demonstrations, honoring her Nisenan heritage and the Native Americans who have lived in this region for 6,000 years.
Visitors will find Gold Rush Living History among festival venues, reminding us that California’s Gold Discovery site is less than two miles away from the Farm’s Gold Hill location. The site’s rich and longstanding family farming history will be featured courtesy of the Veerkamp family, longtime former owners of the property. Looking to the site’s future, the festival also showcases sustainable farming thanks to South Fork Farm, an organic farm operating at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm. The Festival features a variety of food vendors, wine and sake tasting, music, and kid friendly activities.
In late 2010, the American River Conservancy purchased the 270-acre farm from the Veerkamp family who owned the property for over 130 years, growing fruit and managing dairy and cattle operations. The conservancy continues to seek grants and donations to restore Wakamatsu and protect its extensive natural and cultural history.
With its partners, American River Conservancy’s vision is to develop a working organic farm serving as an educational and community resource. American River Conservancy creates partnerships between land owners, private foundations and donors, public agencies, academic institutions and community volunteers. Pursuing its mission through conservation, stewardship and education, this non-profit organization has protected over 12,000 acres of wildlife habitat, native fisheries, scenic vistas, recreational land and cultural resources since its founding in 1989.
For information about Wakamatsu Farm Festival or the historic Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, visit arconservancy.org or call the American River Conservancy at 530-621-1224.