Calaveras Enterprise

The fair keeps us growing

Young players can get into tennis at a clinic Saturday in Angels Camp.Courtesy photo

Young players can get into tennis at a clinic Saturday in Angels Camp.Courtesy photo

The third weekend in May – almost the whole month – is Calaveras County Fair time in Calaveras County. Newcomers to the county are usually surprised that schools take breaks for the Thursday and Friday of the county fair, but over the decades, it became obvious to those in classrooms that students had a lot to do as the fair arrived and all of those “unexcused” absences started to add up, considering so many of our youths raise, show and sell animals at the annual event.

I consider the fair an interesting event that attracts all ages but for different reasons. Sure, the kids love to cavort about the midway riding the Zipper, Typhoon and Scrambler (age has made those tighter turns and spins less attractive to me), but some even bigger rides may be in store. The California Carnival Co. has Freak Out and Tango, and watching the pendulums on these tall rides swing with riders strapped into seats that spin and flip and swing makes for screams of joy that echo about Frogtown. Maybe the kids can talk mom and dad into a spin on the bumper cars!

Moms and dads and other adults appreciate the fair for slightly slower excitement, but excitements abound. You’ll pick favorite competitors and get lulled into cheering and jeering as you watch the arm-wresting competition (one of the loudest events at the fair!), and maybe the International Frog Jumping Finals will result in some hearty cheers.

All ages will like the wide assortment of live music in store for us at the fair, and family entertainers roam the fairgrounds Thursday through Sunday making laughs the rule of the day.

On Wednesday, those over the age of 21 get a nice primer for the weekend’s festivities at the Grand Tasting at 6 p.m. at the Wine Pavilion. For $40 each of you get to sample the winning wines that were entered in the fair’s professional wine competition and rub shoulders with the men and women who make these wonderful wines. The Grand Tasting is staged in the Wine Pavilion, which can serve as a destination for those curious about how grapes are so successfully grown here to make such good wines. You’ll nosh on appetizers and hear live music at the tasting, too.

As much as we clear our calendars for the fair each May, another event promises to help get kids competent on tennis courts on Saturday. The 19th annual Youth Tennis Clinic is staged at the courts at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Angella Woods, a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) member, leads the clinic that’s open to elementary through high school students. The best part is, no previous experience is required. Area high school coaches and tennis-teaching professionals give Woods an assist.

“Many youth from local and surrounding counties have participated in past free clinics,” Woods said. “All players, beginners to advanced, are encouraged to participate. This is a great opportunity for junior players to meet with other aspiring tennis players in the community.”

Players are paired in groups according to ages and abilities and instructors lead the young players through a variety of fun games and drills.

“It is our goal for each student to have fun while learning the skills needed to build a strong foundation for the game of tennis,” Woods offered. “All participants in the clinic will also be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a free racket.”

The free clinic is held thanks to the help of area volunteers and the Murphys Area Community Tennis Association , USPTA’s Tennis Across America, Prince Tennis and Volkl Tennis. To sign up, contact Woods at 728-2497, 770-5076 or

Saturday’s clinic serves as an introduction to a summer series of youth tennis clinics Woods offers from June 11 through July 27 in Angels Camp and Murphys. Those sessions are specifically tailored to young players of various ages and skill levels, held at Bret Harte High School or tennis courts in Murphys. Contact Woods for more on the series, including dates and costs.

I figure the young tennis players will basically exercise off the extra calories they got Thursday and Friday from the corndogs, cotton candy and ice cream they indulged in at the fair. The rest of us will have to make it a point to hike up and down the hills at Frogtown to keep our figures trim. Or, take a seat in the shade of the oak trees and revel in all the Calaveras community has to offer.

No matter how you enjoy it, the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee encourages us to appreciate just what happens here all year long. It’s a great way to see how young people are succeeding, and a great place to rekindle those long-lasting friendships. Sneak a corndog for me!

Send word on your Calaveras County events to

WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Wine Pavilion, Calaveras County Fairgrounds, Gun Club Road (off Highway 49), south of Angels Camp

COST: $40 at 728-9467

WHEN: 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: Bret Harte High School tennis courts, 364 Murphys Grade Road, Angels Camp

COST: Free

MORE INFO: Angella Woods, 728-2497 or 770-5076

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