Tickets are on sale for the third annual Wakamatsu Farm Festival. An event for the whole family, the May 18 festival benefits the historic Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, located at 941 Cold Springs Road, in Placerville. From the Nisenan tribe to the first Japanese colony in America, to gold seekers and the Veerkamp family farm, the festival honors the diverse cultures that, over time, made their home at this exceptional 270 acre site. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and gates open at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are available at arconservancy.org/wakamatsufarmfestival. Tickets are limited and advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.
Featured performers and exhibits include Native American Dancers and Artists, Gold Rush Living History, Japanese artists, Samurai Martial Arts, Taiko Drummers, traditional Japanese music and dance, bonsai, origami, and Ikebana exhibits, historic family farm displays, organic farm tours and a petting zoo. This year, the festival’s venues are a bit more dispersed, giving festival goers an opportunity to see Wakamatsu’s unique natural landscape, rich agricultural land and sweeping foothill vistas. Japanese artists and performers are showcased at the festival’s main stage at one end of the property, while a second stage, near the farm’s historic structures, features some favorite local musicians. El Dorado Arts Council is hosting an interactive art exhibit and Gold Country Artists Gallery, showcasing Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm inspired artwork during the month of May at its Downtown Placerville gallery, and is showing the pieces at the May 18 festival.
Returning this year is celebrity chef Taro Arai with Mikuni Sushi for festival goers. This year’s festival also features popular local food vendors, Bonne Vie Crepes, Loco BBQ, Smith Flat House, Table Nectar, and Sierra Rizing Bakery, as well as Boeger Winery, David Girard Vineyards, Madrona Vineyards, Gold Hill Brewery and Barsotti Juices.
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 historic farm using sustainable methods while 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.