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Learn about historic Japanese silk colony at May 18 farm festival near Placerville

By: Staff report
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KNOW AND GO
What: Wakamatsu Farm Festival
When:  10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, May 18
Where:  Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, 941 Cold Springs Road, Placerville
Cost:  Adults $20; children $7; under 10 are free
Info: American River Conservancy, (530) 621-1224; www.arconservancy.org/wakamatsu

PLACERVILLE, CA - The American River Conservancy is hosting the third annual Wakamatsu Farm Festival on Saturday, May 18, at the historic Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, site of the first Japanese colony in America.

Billed as an event for the whole family, the festival benefits Wakamatsu and celebrates the diverse, rich cultures to have made their home on these 270 acres of rolling hills and rich agricultural land. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; gates open at 9 a.m. Adults are $20, children are $7 and those younger than 10 are free. Tickets are available at www.arconservancy.org/wakamatsu.

The Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm is at 941 Cold Springs Road, Placerville.

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 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 that 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, long time 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 an exceptional foothill setting.

In late 2010, the American River Conservancy purchased the 270 acre farm from the Veerkamp family who owned the property for more than 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 nonprofit 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 more information about Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, or to purchase tickets to the Wakamatsu Farm Festival, visit www.arconservancy.org or call (530) 621-1224.