Category Archives: Intermountain Fair

Fireman’s Carnival fun for children and parents

For more than forty years the fireman’s carnival has been raising money for the McArthur Fire Department.

Lots of fun for all

This year, Saturday evening March 2, hundreds of children and parents came to the Inter-Mountain Fairgrounds to win prizes in a dozen different events.

Hoping to win a loveable bear

Made it

A fun drive

A team effort

Ready for a dunk

Won a goldfish

The do-do duck tried to escape

Meanwhile in Ingram Hall over a hundred people enjoyed playing Bingo for prizes.

Bingo is fun too

This year Inter-Mountain royalty was there to assist the Carnival.

Princesses Sara Dean and Hallee Olsen


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Filed under Fire Departments, Intermountain Fair, MacArthur, youth

A Short History of the Inter-Mountain Fair in McArthur

(Author’s Note: Much of the information for this article was gleaned from Glorianne Weigand’s book From Roses to Rodeos: History of the Inter-Mountain Fair 1919-1995. Also helpful was an article by George Ingram on the Inter-Mountain Fair published in Shasta County History by the Shasta Historical Society in 1985. In addition, George and his son Robert granted an interview and filled me in on many details. I also want to thank Roderick and Karen McArthur, Elena Albaugh, Skip Willmore, and Heidi Bass for taking time to provide friendly assistance and answers to my questions.)

Birth of the fair 1917 – 1919

For one hundred years, the Inter-Mountain Fair been has central to the life of the Fall River Valley, Eastern Shasta County and neighboring communities. The fair has been the major social event for the community; it has served as a catalyst for improving agricultural methods and rural living conditions; and it has been a center of practical education for young people.

Inter-Mountain Fair Centennial Poster

From the beginning, it has been a family affair. For five generations families worked together to make it a success and participation and enjoyment of the fair has helped to create an Intermountain family spirit.

According to George Ingram’s account in A History of Shasta County published by the Shasta County Historical Society in 1985, the first Inter-Mountain Fair and Rodeo was held in 1917. The rodeo took place in the corrals at the McArthur Ranch. Adults sat on the corral fence and children peaked through to watch cowboys compete as they rode broncs and roped calves.

A major impetus for the establishment the fair was Agricultural Extension in the early 1900’s. Agricultural extension is the application of scientific research and knowledge through farmer education. To promote Agricultural Extension, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 to foster cooperative Extension amongst the USDA, state land-grant universities, and local counties.

The University of California had already been working to create an agricultural extension system in California. In 1907, a university research farm was opened in Davisville (later UC Davis) and the Citrus Experiment Station in Riverside (later UC Riverside) were established.

Anticipating passage of Smith-Lever, UC officials required each county government that wanted to participate to allocate funding for Extension work. Additionally, it was required that a group of farmers in participating counties organize into a Farm Bureau and hire a farm advisor. Thus, Parker Talbot became Shasta County’s first Farm Advisor in October of 1917.

Parker Talbot was an advocate of fairs. In addition to many other accomplishments, he helped to start two fairs in Shasta County, one in Anderson and the other in McArthur.

Under Talbot’s guidance and leadership, Roderick McArthur, William Albaugh, and James Day were chosen as the committee to organize the Inter-Mountain fair in McArthur. Scott McArthur donated 10 acres of land for the fair in 1918.

According to Glorianne Weigand’s book, From Roses to Rodeos, the first official Inter-Mountain Fair and Rodeo was held October 9-11, 1919. It featured riding and bronc-busting. Local growers and companies proudly showed their fruits, vegetables, flours, cereals, cheese, meats and coops of fowls. The Girls Canning Club of Hat Creek and Glenburn displayed a variety of canned fruits and vegetables. The novelty of an airplane show and rides proved to be a great attraction.

Rodeo events were held in the McArthur ranch corrals. For the first three years, exhibits were held in the Forrester’s Hall built in 1908 for the Forrester’s of America. Later, the building was leased and then purchased in 1937 by the McArthur Grange. In 1977, the McArthur Grange disbanded and sold the hall to the Fall River Lions Club. Since then, it has served as the Lions Hall.

More than 2000 people attended the next fair from September 23-25 in 1920. An estimated 1000 Native Americans came including several outstanding bronc riders.

One popular rider in the early fairs was an adept lady rider named Annie Ingle. Annie was half-Wintu. She was raised in the Pit River Canyon and learned to ride as a young girl. She rode rodeos in Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming. Eventually she married a world champion bronc rider named Bob Studnick. Bob’s brother Frank was also a world champion. In 1924, Bob and Frank and other riders went to London England to put on rodeos. Annie was billed as “Shotgun Anne” and later as “Mrs. Bob Bronco.”

The formative years 1920 -1945

The 1920 fair also featured a baseball game in which the Farm Center team defeated Bieber by a score of 14-0.

The rodeo was held on Thursday. Livestock Day was Friday. Ten year-old Evelyn Hollenbeak was awarded a silver cup for first place in canning. Unfortunately, the aeroplane did not show up due to bad weather.

By 1921, the fair was expanding. Scott McArthur had donated 17 acres of land. Roderick McArthur, Glen Fitzwater, and Willis and Rube Albaugh made two trips a day in early September hauling lumber from the Horr Sawmill in Glenburn to build a grandstand, corrals, and fences.

After the first three years, the George Rose Livery Stable was used for exhibits. Later some of the grandstands were torn down to build an exhibit hall.

From 1927 into the early 1930’s, the McArthur Grange assumed management of the fair. The local agriculture teacher began to play an important role in the organization of the fair and agriculture students from Fall River High School helped to set up and care for the fair

Jesse Bequette, agriculture teacher at Fall River High School, was hired as Fair Manager in 1936. He served in that position until late fall 1946.

One of the first things that Bequette did was to meet with a group of local ranchers to talk about the purchase of purebred bulls in Montana to improve local stock. He traveled with three others and purchased 30 bulls which he brought back to Bieber where they were numbered and distributed by lot.

He also got to work repairing the existing grounds and facilities. As Ag teacher, Bequette involved his students in the work of the fair. As premiums increased during his tenure, more 4-H and FFA members entered the fair. High school students that needed a place to harbor their animals were able to keep them at the fairgrounds.

The rodeo continued to one of the popular events and riders came from all around to compete. Some local youngsters rode their first rodeo in McArthur and later went on to become top competitors in the larger circuit.

One young cowboy who began his rodeo career riding in the rodeo at the Inter-Mountain fair was Buster Ivory. Buster was born in Alturas. When he was fourteen years old he came to compete in the McArthur rodeo. In 1940, he hit the rodeo circuit riding bulls and broncs. In the early 1950’s he was one of the top five bronc riders in the country. After injuries limited his role as a contestant, he served as a judge, manager and producer of rodeo events. From 1953-56, he was Secretary-Treasurer of the Rodeo Cowboy Association. For 26 consecutive years, he was livestock superintendent at the National Finals Rodeo and was the NFR chute boss for three years. In 1958, he was livestock superintendent for the World’s Fair American Wild West Show and Rodeo in Brussels, Belgium. In 1967, he was the chute boss and livestock superintendent at the 1967 World’s Fair Rodeo in Montreal. He also served as general manager of the Rodeo Far West, which toured four European countries. In 1978, he was voted rodeo fans’ Man of the Year and he was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1991.This great career all began riding broncs in the McArthur fairgrounds.

In 1933, California voters had approved Proposition 5, legalizing pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing. This became a major source of funding for state fairs. However up to 1940, revenue to the state from horse racing went to a few large fairs while the smaller fairs received little or no funding.

In 1940, Bequette and Asa Doty attended the Western Fairs Association meeting in Stockton for the Northern California Fair Managers and Directors. Bequette was appointed spokesman for the smaller fairs. During the meeting a motion was made and passed that the smaller fairs would receive a just amount. A few weeks later, notice was received that the Inter-Mountain Fair would receive $5,500 for premiums and other items. In 1943 there was no fair because of World War II.

Growth and development 1946 – 1988

By 1946, horse-racing money had increased dramatically. After the Shasta County Board of Supervisors designated the fair in McArthur as the official Shasta County Fair, the “Inter-Mountain Fair of Shasta County” began receiving $65,000 annually. Increased funds helped the fair to grow and diversify.

The fair board purchased 97.776 adjacent acres of land from PG&E. Fair Directors at that time were Willis Albaugh from McArthur, Asa Doty from Cassell, and Hugh Carpenter from Dana. Francis Gassaway was Secretary.

Bequette hired Clair Hill to help develop a master plan for the fairgrounds. The plan envisioned moving the grandstand to a new location with new rodeo chutes and corrals, creating new livestock and horse barns as well as one or two exhibition halls, and putting in modern rest rooms. This plan helped to shape the development of the fairgrounds.

Before retiring, Bequette found a replacement to take over his position as Fair Manager. George Ingram (grandson of George Rose in whose barn early exhibits had been held) had been his student at Fall River High School. After graduating, George enlisted in the military to serve during the war. After the war, Baquette recommended Ingram to succeed him and the Board approved. Ingram was hired in 1946. Bequette continued as manager through the 1947 fair. That year the date of the fair was changed to Labor Day Weekend and a carnival was added on.

Later in the fall, Bequette retired and Ingram took over the management of the fair. He was twenty years old but he was dedicated, enthusiastic and hard-working. Under the strong leadership and guidance of Willis Albaugh, Asa Doty, and Hugh Carpenter, George set to work to implement the master plan developed by Clair Hill and Bequette. He served admirably as Fair Manager for more than four decades.

In 1949, a beef barn, rest rooms, and a cafeteria were built. Construction on Ingram Hall began in the fall and continued in the spring. It was completed by August 1 and a dedication dance was held on August 10, 1950. Mr. Ingram provided a small corsage for each lady that attended and a band came up from Redding to play.

Development of trees and shrubs also began in 1950. Albert Kenyan was the first caretaker of the grounds. Together with George Ingram they planted plants and trees. Because there was no sprinkler system they watered them with the fire hose. Some community members donated and planted trees as as memorials to loved ones. Betty Eldridge and her 4-H group planted the large spruce tree near the front gate. Willis Albaugh also dug up a number of trees along the river and replanted them on the grounds.

In 1951, the sheep and swine barn was built and the construction of the Agriculture building followed in 1952. In that same year, the directory for the Division of Fairs and Expositions listed the Inter-Mountain Fair as paying the largest premium for beef cattle in California and ranked the fair as the largest paying premium fair in the North State.

In 1954, Junior Livestock Exhibitions were started.

Building continued through the rest of the 1950’s with the addition of the weight and scales building, new bleachers and grandstand, a concession building, commercial building, and livestock sales building.

The landscaping of flower gardens also began in the mid-50’s. Visiting the county fair in Crescent City, Mr. Ingram had discovered the idea of having individuals and groups enter into competition as a way to beautify the fairgrounds.

Everett Beck moved to the Fall River area in 1959 and became the first resident California Highway patrol officer. In 1960, he assumed organization of the Inter-Mountain Fair Parade and continued to do so for several decades. Later responsibility for the parade was taken over by Lawrence Agee from the Highway Garage.

In 1962, a new office building was built. It included an office for Sam Thurber who served as Farm advisor for the area. Thurber served in that position from 1960 until 1968. He was succeeded by Walt Spivy who served until 1975. In 1976, Dan Marcum took over the position. Marcum played a leading role in local agricultural development, helping to develop the production of wild rice, strawberries, garlic and mint. He also helped increase grain and hay production.

The Junior Livestock Sale, which began on Labor Day 1966, was a great innovation at the Fair. Young folks have the opportunity to benefit from the hard work that went into raising their prize winning stock. Much of the money earned goes toward their future college education, purchasing more stock, or fulfilling other goals and needs. Dick Nemanic was the chairman of the event for years. He was assisted by Shirley McArthur. Each year, 4-H and FFA youth help to put on a banquet for the generous buyers to show their gratitude.

In 1968, Gail Ashe became the Administrative Secretary of the fair. Her assistance was invaluable. She assisted Manager Ingram in a multitude of ways including making sure that all entrees were properly recorded, finding judges, and many other responsibilities essential to the fair.

The Queens Contest began in 1968. Girls, age 16 through 21, from Fall River, Burney, and Big Valley High Schools could enter, provided that they had never been married. Over the past five decades, the Queen and other royalty help to promote the fair by attending other fairs, riding in the Burney Basin Days Parade and the Intermountain Fair Parade, and appearing at other regional events.

Skip Willmore, who has been a fair director since 1989, noted in a recent interview that the Board eliminated the swimsuit competition in 1994 (before the Miss America Pageant did likewise). He described how competition in the contest has helped generations of young ladies to refine their public speaking and other talents and said that he believes every one of the competitors has deserved a crown.

An annual Destruction Derby was added in 1969 and became one of the most popular events of the fair. The Lions Club has been responsible for the organization of the derby.

In 1970, a covered arena was built. That year was also the first year that Bill and Alexis Johnson hosted their iced tea booth at the fair. They have continued to operate the booth for more than four decades and it has become a cherished tradition.

In 1974, Rose Schneider took over the job of keeping the grounds beautiful and managing the flower competitions. Her selfless dedication, creativity, and organizational efficiency have provided inspiration for all.

The Junior Rodeo Board was also incorporated in 1974. The original board members were Tom Vestal, Bill McCullough, Bud Knoch, Peter Gereg, Charles Kramer, Albert Albaugh, and Andy Babcock. The Junior Rodeo has grown from a local event for children into a successful rodeo with champion saddles awarded to cowboys and cowgirls. In 1985, the Inter-Mountain Junior Rodeo Association became an independent organization and took over running the rodeo. Competition, which originally had been only for students at Fall River and Big Valley High Schools, was opened to all contestants 14 to 18 years of age. Many went on to compete successfully in state and national events. In 1988, Gina O’Connor won Cow Palace all around and in 1989 she competed in the nationals.

In 1979, Old Timer’s Day was modified to include an annual Golden Anniversary Dinner. Everyone who has been married for 50 years shares a wonderful dinner, entertainment and a wedding cake.

By that time, the Art Building had been constructed an annual art show began featuring painting, photography and poetry by professional and amateur artists. Through the years, the Intermountain Artists has played a major role in organizing the art show.

At the 1987 fair, the Inter-Mountain Cattlewoman’s Association sponsored a fashion show in which models displayed apparel worn by women from 1840 to 1940 including wedding dresses from the 1800’s, riding skirts, Camp Fire Girls uniforms, as well and many beautiful gowns and dresses. Children’s and men’s clothes were also included. It was lots of fun. If the bride was present when her gown from the past was shown, she stood as the audience applauded.

The 1987 Fair was also the first year featuring a four wheel truck pull.

Maturation and Flowering 1989 – 2018

George Ingram retired in 1988 and was succeeded as Fair Manager by Dennis Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman served as Fair Manager for 17 years. Once again, Gail Ashe who had served as Secretary under Ingram for two decades played a valuable role helping Mr. Hoffman assume the reins of leadership.

Ms. Ashe retired in 1991. She was succeeded by Valerie Lakey who had been hired in 1990 as Business Assistant.

In the early 1990’s, Ingram Hall was remodeled. This is one of several projects which have been funded through the years by the McConnell Foundation. Others have been the installation of an underground sprinkler system, and the renovation of the fair office. In every grant that the McConnell Foundation approves, volunteerism and community benefit are essential requirements. Skip Willmore said that at one meeting representatives of the McConnell Foundation were impressed that all the IM Board members were private businessmen who were taking time from their businesses to serve the fair. They were also impressed by the number of activities at the fairground that benefited youth and senior citizens.

In 1994, a new RV park was added. This was a result of IM Fair directors participation in the Western Fair Association. Each year, the Western Fair Association holds a convention attended by fair directors and managers. The convention includes workshops and roundtables where ideas are shared. At one such meeting, the benefits of adding an RV park were presented and the Western Fair Association guided the directors through the process of applying for and receiving state funding. The RV park provides accommodation and also generates revenue.

The fair continued to flourish through the late 1990’s into the new century as the many diverse events and shows displayed the skills and talents of every aspect of Intermountain life. Ranchers showed their stock; cowboys and cowgirls competed in the rodeo, equestrians rode their champion horses, farmers displayed their prize fruits and vegetables; gardeners showed the beauty of their flowers; artists shared their creative works; quilters shared their fabulous designs; bakers and cooks brought their delicious cakes, pies, and canned jellies, jams and vegetables; and local craftspeople vended country crafts. Families had fun each year at the carnival. There was lots of good food sold at booths throughout the day, and each evening there was music, dinners, and dancing. It was a true celebration of Intermountain life. Attendance grew into the tens of thousands.

Dennis Hoffman was succeeded as Fair Manager by Bob McFarland in 2005. After he retired, Kourtney Woodward served in that position.

A premium addition to the fairgrounds was the Jennifer Skuce Pavilion. Jennifer is the daughter of Betsy and Dave Skuce, who have a home in the Fall River Valley. Sadly, Jennifer died from breast cancer in the summer of 2005. In her memory, her parents worked together with the Intermountain Junior Rodeo Foundation to create a multi-use facility. Chris McArthur served as project co-manager. Private contributions from foundations and donations from hundreds of people in the Intermountain Area were collected. The grand opening of the Jennifer Skuce Pavillion was held Aug. 1, 2008. Events held at the pavilion include horse shows, rodeo, agriculture, organized sports, social gatherings, and other events.

As the first decade of the 21st century unfolded, financial problems beset the State of California. As the budget crisis intensified, state budget planners began to look for ways to cut costs and redirect funds. One of the options was to cease using horse-racing money for fairs. Local fairs were advised that such a move was coming and that they should look for alternative sources of funding.

At the 2001 Western Fair Association Convention in Reno, Skip Willmore met a director from the Salinas Valley Fair in Kings County. The Salinas Fair had started a non-profit heritage foundation in order to receive money from grants, enable in-kind donations, and increase volunteer participation. Willmore introduced the idea to the IM Fair Board and the idea was discussed for several years.

Elena Albaugh thoroughly researched the idea and wrote articles of incorporation. The Inter-Mountain Fair Heritage Foundation was incorporated in 2009. Mrs. Albaugh is the wife of Stephen Albaugh who is the great grandson of W.J. Albaugh, one of the founding fathers of the fair. William’s son, Willis, served as a director of the fair for 52 years and his son, Albert served as a director for 20 years.

Elena Albaugh has served as President of the foundation since it was formed. Fair Directors appointed by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors were absorbed into the Board of the new foundation and new members were added. There are currently 17 members of the Board who oversee the fairgrounds numerous activates.

By 2011, the budget deficit for the State of California had reached $24.5 billion. In that year, under the budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the state stopped its distribution of $32 million to 78 fairs around the state. Fortunately, the Foundation was already up and running.

Some employees had to be laid off, but Fair Manager Bob McFarland took the lead in encouraging a spirit of self-sacrifice and encouraging a spirit of volunteerism. He semi-retired and took a half-cut in salary, but still continued to manage the fair. Individuals and familes throughout the Intermountain area responded and the annual fair became a beehive of volunteer activity. In kind donations increased.

The fairgrounds also increased their year round activities and rental of facilities. The grounds and buildings host weddings, banquets, talent shows, reunions, memorials, and a host of other events.

The fairgrounds also serve as the major evacuation center for the region between the Redding area and Alturas in case of fire of or other emergencies. It has room for emergency services to base their equipment, to provide refuge for evacuees, and to harbor and tend livestock. It is a “safe place.”

One helpful idea that the Foundation has implemented was the signing of an agreement in 2014 to lease the Fairgrounds property from the county.

Up to that time, because the County owned the grounds, they did many of the services such as accounting. Funding had come from the state, but the County billed for its services. By leasing the property, the foundation assumed greater autonomy and was able take responsibility for those services at a reduced cost. Volunteers have pitched in to perform many tasks. More than 50 percent of the people who work to make the fair a success are volunteers.

In 2013, a new annual event, the Mountain Jubilee was introduced to help raise funds for maintaining and improving the fairgrounds and supporting the Inter-Mountain Fair. The three day event in late June offers people an opportunity to experience a broad range of intermountain life such as trail rides, barrel racing, team roping, a small animal show and a horseshoe tournament. Past jubilees have included mud races and other fun competitions, a country craft and antique shows, donkey drop bingo, and a big ball tournament. Friday and Saturday both end with a delicious barbecue in the evening and live music till midnight.

Recently, some state funding for the fair has been restored. In 2018, a new Fair Manager, Steve Gagnon, has been hired to ensure a bright future.

Reflecting on the 100 year history of the Inter-Mountain Fair, George Ingram said, “It’s a  family affair.”

So many families have participated, so many families have contributed, so many families have enjoyed the benefits. In so doing, all have become a part of the Intermountain family.

Elena Albaugh said, “We want to preserve the heritage of our old fashioned country fair for future generations. We plan to continue to upgrade facilities and increase activity to educate our youth and provide economic benefit for the Intermountain Area.”

A print copy of the this article is also available in the Official Program of the 100th Annual Inter-Mountain Fair published by the Mountain Echo on Tuesday August 28, 2018.

See also A Conversation with George and Robert Ingram Othe History of the Inter-Mountain Fair


Filed under 4H, Fall River, Fall River Mills, Intermountain Fair, McArthur, Pit River Area History

Intermountain Parade 2017

I went to the Intermountain Parade in McArthur on September 3. It was a fine tribute to the spirit of the people of the Intermountain area. I admired the fine horses, riders, and the wagons. tractors, and vintage cars that reminded us of our history and heritage. It was encouraging to see the various organizations who serve the community participate. Above all, it was inspiring to see the young people from Girls Scouts, 4-H, the Interact Club, gymnastics, and others who participated in the joyful occasion.

Here are some pictures:

4H Sharing flag etiquette

American Legion Honor Guard

Grand Marshall

Blue Ribbon Award Winner

Intermountain Royalty

A family event

Happy birthday from the Girl Scouts

Intermountain Heritage Foundation

Blue Ribbon Horse


Peterson Ranch

Interact Club

More Interact Club

Rawhide Cowboys

Young Cowgirl

1957 Fire Truck

Burney 4-H

An old wagon and horses

Caballeros from Burney


Here come the demolition derby cars

Lots of candy for the kids



Mustangs pulling an old freight wagon

It goes 80 mph and gets 100 miles to the gallon

A happy crew

A glimpse of the past


Meyers Memorial

The Buckhorn


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Filed under 4H, Big Valley, Burney, Fall River, Fall River Mills, Intermountain Fair, McArthur, Pit River Country Events

Dec. 5th – Crafts Flourish in Pit River Country

December 5 was not officially named Craft Day, but it could have been.

Linda bought this one in Round Mountain

Linda bought this one in Round Mountain

From McArthur to Round Mountain a half dozen different events treated Intermountain residents  to a celebration of local creativity and Christmas cheer. In McArthur, shoppers flocked to Santa’s Workshop and 12 Days of Christmas  at the Inter-Mountain Fairgrounds. In Burney, The VFW Women’s Auxiliary Craft Show and the New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church Annual Christmas Bake Sale and Craft Show were taking place. In addition, the first annual Christmas Boutique at Hearthstone Health Foods also featured local crafters and artists.

Then as events in Burney and the Fall River Valley were winding down, the Mountain Community Center in Round Mountain hosted its 2015 Holiday Open House and Free Santa Store.

Beautiful pattern on a handmade pot holder

Click on image for larger view

Click on image for larger view

Events actually began on Wednesday December 2 with the 12 Days of Christmas at the Inter-Mountain Fairgrounds in McArthur. This is the first week of a three-week craft event.  Each week from Wednesday through Saturday the holiday fair will be open. The 12 days of Christmas will culminate in a ginger bread contest on December 19.

On Saturday, Santa’s Workshop, was held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Ingram’s Hall. This is a major annual holiday event. This year’s show featured local artists, a Wayside Garden Club Greens Boutique, and locally made Christmas decorations.  Santa came at 12:00pm. Food was offered by the Fort Crook Historical Society.

Because Linda and I had a table at the VFW Christmas Craft Show, we weren’t able to get over to the fairgrounds in McArthur but we did meet shoppers who were making a day of it trying to hit all of the craft shows in  Burney and Fall River. What a great day for visitors to tour the area and witness the creative output of the area.

VFW Auxiliary Gift Baskets

VFW Auxiliary Gift Baskets

In addition to hosting their craft fair, the Woman’s Auxiliary 5685 had a table selling  tickets for gift baskets to be raffled of at the American Legion Ham Dinner on December 12th.

Anita "Cricket" Allen with baked goods, candles and homemade jellies

Anita “Cricket” Allen with baked goods, candles and homemade jellies

Amongst the vendors at the VFW Hall, Anita “Cricket” Allen, one of my favorite people, was selling some delicious baked goods and homemade jellies.

One of the things I like about Cricket, is that she is generally cheerful and kind and always seems to have good advice. My advice is that if you ever have a chance to get some of her breads or jellies seize the opportunity. I got a banana nut bread and some choke cherry jelly.

The McKay brothers were there too with items hand-crafted from wood and other natural products. They also have a booth at the 12 Days of Christmas. Their hand-made pens are very popular. While at the Vets Hall, they got a call from McArthur saying that they needed to bring in more pens because they were selling out.

Nancy Crafts and Collectibles had a beautiful display featuring dazzling crystals.

Nancy's Crafts and Collectibles

Nancy’s Crafts and Collectibles

Linda was busy showing her hand made Christmas cards featuring beautiful pictures of wintry Burney Falls and Burney Mountain as well as gift items, framed and matted photos, and artwork.

Linda Colvin from LACE Photography

Linda Colvin from LACE Photography

There was also a large and lovely display of hand-made soaps and numerous other Christmas crafts and items. I actually didn’t have time to get around to all of it. While Linda manned the table, I snuck away to go over and check out the 87th Annual Holiday Gift Sale at New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church. They are in their new location behind Burney Valley Real Estate.

Everything was cozy and beautifully decorated. While there I ran into Sarah Clark and Barbara Watson. A few weeks earlier I had seen these gracious ladies doing folk dances at the Hope is Alive! Open Mic.

Sarah Clark and Barbara Watson at New Hope Evangelical

Sarah Clark and Barbara Watson at New Hope Evangelical

We talked about what a great event it was, hoping that there will be another one in a few months. They said that if there is they will invite more international folk dancers up from Redding.

I also had a chance to talk with Bobby and Ramona about how the church is doing since their transition. Actually, spirits are high and faith strengthened. It is still unclear what will become of the old Presbyterian church building where they formerly held services. I think that the Burney Presbyterian Church is the first church that I ever attended when I was child back in the 1950’s.  (See Churches of Burney)

As I talked with Bobby and Ramona I felt the spirit of prayer in the church and I told them that I would try to come this month to visit one of their services.

When I got back to the Vet’s Hall it was time to pack things up. But the day was not yet over. Linda and I jumped into our sleigh (actually Jeep) and headed over Burney Mountain to attend the Mountain Community Center Holiday Bazaar. On the way, we stopped at the vista point to get some pictures of snow-covered Burney mountain.

Mt. Burney

Mt. Burney

When we arrived at the community center,  we saw that the hall had been beautifully decorated with red table cloths and Christmas decorations. There were tables full of baked goods, tables of gift items, tables with items donated for a silent auction, and nicely decorated tables for people to sit down and enjoy. Most thrilling perhaps was the Santa Shop.

Young'uns lined up for Santa Shop

Young’uns lined up for Santa Shop

When youngsters entered they received tickets that enabled them to shop in Santa’s shop for gift items for family members. Then after selecting the gift items, they went to a table where Santa’s helpers dressed as elves helped them to wrap the presents.

Santa's elves gift-wrapping

Santa’s elves gift-wrapping

There was also great music performed by the Mountain Messengers. I even got a chance to get up and sing a few Christmas songs.

Me singing Christmas songs with Jerry, and Kay

Me singing Christmas songs with Jerry and Kay

A highlight of the evening came when some of the children got up to sing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, and other great Christmas songs backed up by the band.

Children singing Christmas songs

Children singing Christmas songs

Deb Klein was the main organizer for this year’s event. Kay Nichols, Elena Norman, Angela Bartolomei, and Sally Durrett also put in many hours of work to ensure success.

Deb was really excited by how much the community pitched in.  She said that over 400 toys had been donated, plus the baked goods and auction items. In addition, many local folks volunteered their service during the function.

“This was really a big event for the community,” she said.

Everyone did an outstanding job. Everything was beautiful. The atmosphere glowed with the joy of community Christmas spirit.

Deb also made some delicious home-canned jellies for the occasion.

Deb's Jellies

Deb’s Jellies

Just after 5 p.m., people gathered outside and sang more Christmas songs as the community Christmas tree’s lights went on.

Christmas Tree Lighting at the Mountain Community Center

Christmas Tree Lighting at the Mountain Community Center

Then the evening concluded with raffle prizes and the announcement of the winners of the silent auction.

What a full day of heart and creativity in Pit River Country.  What a great way to usher in the holiday season. Feel the love. Joy to the world!

Let us pray for peace on earth. Amen.


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Filed under Art, Burney, Entertainment, Fall River Mills, Intermountain Art, Intermountain Fair, MacArthur, Montgomery Creek, Music, Pit River Country Events, Round Mountain

A Taste of the 97th Annual Inter-Mountain Fair

From September 3-7, the 97th Annual Inter-Mountain fair featured five

Sculpture in the school art exhibit

Sculpture in the school art exhibit

days of events, competitions, exhibits, and fun. This is a major family-friendly event involving sponsors, businesses, volunteers, and participants from throughout the Intermountain area. It is a showcase of the life, work, and creativity of the people and towns of the Pit River Basin in Northern California and draws tens of thousands of visitors each year.

The five day fair offered such a large array of events, I knew I could not take it all in. Just as when one goes to a smorgasbord, one can’t eat all of the dishes, so in attending the fair each person has a unique experience. Here I share my taste of the fair.

Saturday afternoon on the fairway.

Saturday afternoon on the fairway.

My wife Linda and I went on Thursday morning because I wanted to get pictures of the horse show. I watched the English and Western classes and was particularly thrilled to see the performance of Bendito, one of the finest horses in the United States.

Johan-Nass riding Bendido in competition

Johan-Nass riding Bendito in competition

“Bendito” in Spanish means “Blessed One.” This beautiful Andalusian horse is owned and trained by Kim Johan-Nass who moved to Fall River Valley 20 years ago and loves it here.

Johan-Nass riding Bendido in competition

Johan-Nass and Bendito taking a break

When I told Johan-Nass that I had never seen a horse with such a steady temperament, she just laughed and said, “He’s so fun!”

The other horses and riders also gave excellent performances. The competition was spirited and friendly. Bendito and Johan-Nass won multiple blue ribbons, which were handed out by the delightful Intermountain Queen and her First and Second Princess.

2015 Inter-Mountain Royalty Alesha Johnson, Taryn Gagnon, and Baylee Berlt at the horse show

2015 Inter-Mountain Royalty Alesha Johnson, Taryn Gagnon, and Baylee Berlt at the horse show

Around 12:30 p,m, there was a lunch break in the horse show and we took the opportunity to visit some of the exhibits and grab a bite to eat.

First Prize Squash

First Prize Squash

As we were enjoying a corn dog and polish sausage during our break, Linda Corr came by to invite us to Albaugh Hall for a sampling of baked goods.

Blue Ribbon awardee Linda Corr

Blue Ribbon awardee Linda Corr

Kevin and Linda Corr were chosen as Inter-Mountain Fair Blue Ribbon winners for 30 years of service to the fair. The fair has been integral to their lives. Over the years,  Kevin has been the fairground’s maintenance supervisor, announced the Inter-Mountain Fair parade, and helped with security. Linda has been an active participant and volunteer in a myriad of affairs and events.

Cattlewomen display

Intermountain Cattlewoman are big supporters of the fair

On Saturday, we returned to the fair. We had volunteered to man the art show from 7-10 p.m. My wife had entered some photography in the professional division and I had entered some paintings and poetry. We came early to see the animals and get more pictures.

Boys on bungies

Boys on bungies

One of the things that really impressed me about the fair is how much fun the children were having. There were numerous activities for kids, young and old.

Having a ball in a ball

Having a ball in a ball

For the first time, the fair had a children’s circus with clowns.

Swan Brothers presenting a swan

Swan Brothers presenting a swan

For the amusement of young and old there was also a comedy show on the fairway.

Hollywood on Wheels

Hollywood on Wheels

Adults were also joining in the fun.

Woman climbing rock wall

Woman climbing rock wall

When I got to the stock pens, I was able to see and meet some of the prize winners. Young Austin Prichett from Aden had won the award for 4H Grand Champion Steer for his steer Outlaw that he had raised from a calf.

Austin Priichett with Outlaw his 4H Grand Champion Steer

Austin Prichett with Outlaw his 4H Grand Champion Steer

Nathan Dougherty from Burney 4H got a blue ribbon for Dixie, his Southdown market class lamb, as well as a ribbon for Polly for wool-bearing sheep and a blue ribbon for his Olde English Game/Serama cross chickens.

 Dixie the prize-winning market lamb

Dixie the prize-winning market lamb

There were many fine animals. Here’s the Grand Prize Market Hog raised by Triston Welander.

 Welander's Grand Champion Market Hog

Welander’s Grand Champion Market Hog

The quilt show in Ingram Hall amazed me. Kaye Burns from McArthur won best of show for a machine quilted illustration of Pegasus. The artwork and design was original.

Best of Show Large Quilt By Kaye Burns

Best of Show Large Quilt By Kaye Burns

The annual Boster Award for best hand-made quilt went to Jeanne Danielson from Montgomery Creek.

Best hand-made quilt

Best hand-made quilt

Making my way to the art show, I picked up a delicious barbequed shrimp kebab and sat for awhile to listen to one of the bands. The music was excellent. The singer was soulful and expressive and the lead guitar player was fantastic.

Band at the Fair

Band at the Fair

This was one of several bands that played throughout the evening. As the band finished, I went into the art show where Linda and I worked with Rose Peer from Intermountain Artists for the next three hours to greet people as they came to view the display of paintings, photography, drawings, art crafts, and poetry.

 Best of Show at the Inter-Mountain Fair Art Show by James Pell

Best of Show at the Inter-Mountain Fair Art Show by James Pell

There was a steady flow of viewers throughout the evening. Linda cheerfully encouraged people to vote for the “Give it your best shot” category in which the public decided the winners. Patty Williams, the 2015 Honorary Mayor of Burney stopped for a while to chat. I was fascinated to learn that she had grown up in Arizona. She said that as a child she loved it when the tarantulas came out.

“If you touched them with a stick, they would jump way up in the air.” she said, holding her hand up to show how high they would leap.”

Photography and Art

Photography and Art

We also had a delightful conversation with rancher Tim DeAtley and his daughter Haylee about the history of the Intermountain area. Tim was able to tell us about several of the people in the photographs which made the pictures come alive.



One of the things that I love about the fair is the friendly atmosphere and the people one meets. As Shakespeare said, “Make new friends but keep the old, the one is silver the other gold.”

We met people from Redding and Sacramento. Kay Nichols and other friends from Round Mountain came through and commented on the artwork and photography.

Before the days events ended, I had a chance to get out and shoot a few pictures of the carnival.

Everyone loves a carnival

Everyone loves a carnival

On Monday, Linda and I headed back to the fair to pick up our entries. Between the two of us we collected 11 first and second place ribbons. We also had a chance to visit the flower show and the exhibition of school art.

Garden Shop in the Flower exhibit

Garden Shop in the Flower exhibit

So much work from so many people went into making this year’s Inter-Mountain Fair a success carrying on a great tradition going back to 1918 when Roderick McArthur, W.J. Albaugh and James R. Day organized the first fair with a rodeo in the McArthur corrals and exhibits in George Rose’s barn. The spirit of cooperation and commitment continues. The Grand Marshall of this year’s fair was Shirley McArthur who has participated in the fair for 71 years. In the Fall River Valley and surrounding areas, so many people have grown up with and contributed to maintaining the tradition.

Volunteers at the school art exhibit

Volunteers at the school art exhibit

It was an honor and a pleasure to attend and participate in the 97th annual fair. This article shares my taste of a great tradition. Yet it is just a small taste. What did I miss? What did I leave out?

The Parade, the Monster Truck Show, the Demolition Derby, the Junior Rodeo, the Lady’s Lead, the stock auctions, small animal shows, many of the displays, the Friday evening concerts, and so much more. As I said in the beginning, the Inter-Mountain Fair offers so much that no one person can take it all in. It is the contributions and experiences of everyone combined that makes it so great.

Next year, you will have to come and experience it for yourself.


Filed under Art, Fall River Mills, Intermountain Art, Intermountain Fair, MacArthur, Music

A delightful day along Hat Creek

On Monday August 25, my wife Linda and I needed to go to the Inter-Mountain Fairgrounds in McArthur to submit our photography, poetry, and art exhibits for the upcoming fair. My daughter HanaLyn and her friend Jamie Barrows are visiting from Maryland, so they came along to see some of the beautiful Pit River Country.

After taking care of the business with the helpful Inter-Mountain fair staff, we stopped at the Frosty in Fall River to pick up some sandwiches and drinks. We then headed to Hat Creek Park on Hwy 299 for a picnic on our way home.

As we were walking to the picnic table, I spied a heron standing in the middle of the creek. HanaLyn headed down to the bank. Linda hastily pulled out her camera.  I raced back to my car to get mine, hoping that the heron wouldn’t fly away before I could get a picture.

Hana Lyn and the Heron

HanaLyn and the Heron

The heron wasn’t even phased by us. He simply dipped his beak into the water and came up with a frog.

Catching the frog

Catching the frog

He got a good grip and then down the gullet it went. Then he strutted a bit in satisfaction.

Satisfied after a meal

Satisfied after a meal

After watching Mr. Heron enjoy his lunch, we decided to sit down and enjoy ours. However, before we could even open the bag, we were swarmed by yellow jackets. Jamie is allergic to bee stings, so we hastily retreated back to the car and headed over to Baum Lake and the Crystal Lake hatchery to enjoy our lunch at the picnic table there.

We met a friendly couple from Redding at the picnic table. They were enjoying a cool ride on their motorcycle through the beautiful country making a loop up 299 through Burney, heading down Baum Lake Road to Cassel, then continuing  down Hwy 89 to Lassen Park, and finally riding back down through Shingletown to Redding.

After lunch, HanaLyn and Jamie had fun photographing some of the albino Eagle Lake Rainbow Trout. Each year, out of the millions of eggs hatched at Crystal Lake Hatchery a few albino mutations occur. The hatchery does their best to nurture and raise these albinos. Some of them are now also on display at the Turtle Bay Museum in Redding.

Pointing out the albinos

Pointing out the albinos

Linda had some photos to give to the staff at the fish hatchery so we stopped in for a brief visit to drop them off and then crossed over to Baum Lake. White pelicans were swimming in the lake. Ospreys were flying overhead.

American Pelicans on Baum Lake

American Pelicans on Baum Lake

Also, a fisherman, Michael Hurdle from Richmond, Texas had just arrived. Hurdle was traveling from Sacramento to Likely, California, a town of 99 people south of Alturas to visit his sister. He saw a sign for a fishing lake on the highway so he detoured to enjoy a brief respite fishing.

“Well, you’ve just come to one of the best fishing lakes in the country.” I said. The pelicans patiently feeding from the lake and the ospreys overhead testified to the veracity of my statement.

Michael Hurdle from Houston

Michael Hurdle from Texas

While in Sacramento, Hurdle had spent some time fishing the American River. He said that the water was low and mentioned that a portion of the Merced River had been closed due to the drought.

I told him that the waters here were fairly normal because Hat Creek and Fall River were fed from a giant aquifer, a honeycomb of underground lava tubes that gave rise to many springs in the area. I also told him that the hatchery across the road regularly stocked the lake, though I wasn’t sure when they had stocked it last.

Hurdle did another cast with his fly rod, taking measure of the wind and current in the lake. He smiled and said he wasn’t overly concerned whether he caught a fish or not.

“What better way is there to enjoy an hour break before I continue on my way?” he asked with a blissful smile.

I wished him luck and went down to the boat launch area to rejoin Linda and our guests. I heard a truck pull up and looked to see Kristen Idema, a friend of Linda and mine from Redding. We hadn’t seen her for several months and hooped with joy at our surprise meeting.

After hugs, I introduced her to my daughter and Jamie and she introduce us to her friend from Michigan, Deborah, that she had known since she was in the fourth grade. Deborah and her husband had come for a week of camping at one of the campgrounds on Hat Creek. Kristen had driven up from Redding to spend the day with them. They had just visited Burney Falls.

Relaxing by the lake

Rendezvous by the lake

Deborah let her two beautiful labs out of the truck to enjoy a swim, while Kristen and I caught up on the past few months.

 Labs going for the ball

Deborah and her dogs

Finally, we drove back to Burney via Cassel Road so we could show Hana Lyn and Jamie the Rising River. As we sat around the pool enjoying salsa and guacamole and discussing the pros and cons of cilantro, I thought,

“There are so many delightful things to see and do in this area. It just blows my mind!”


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Filed under Baum Lake, Burney, Crystal Lake, Fall River Mills, Fishing, Hat Creek, Intermountain Fair, MacArthur, Wildlife

Inter-Mountain Fair Coming September 3-7

­­­ The 97th annual Inter-Mountain Fair will be held at the Inter-Mountain Fairgrounds on State Highway 299E in the town of McArthur from September 3-7.

Strolling the fairgrounds

Strolling the fairgrounds

The fair will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday. Events will feature a horse show, Ladies Lead and a sheep show. On

Charlie the pygmy goat

Charlie the pygmy goat

Friday, there will be a swine show and a junior beef show. Saturday the fair will host The Inter-Mountain Junior Rodeo, a small animal show, sheep and swine pee wee showmanship, and master showmanship. Sunday will feature team branding. On Monday there will be a buyer’s breakfast and a junior livestock sale.

Prize livestock

Prize livestock

Exhibit buildings featuring baked goods, fruits and vegetables, hand-made crafts, flowers, art and photography will be open on Thursday through Sunday at 12 noon. On Monday exhibit buildings will open at 10 a.m. There will also be vendors selling crafts and other items.

Lots of exhibits and vendors

Lots of exhibits and vendors

There will be entertainment on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday the Burney Lions Club will hold a benefit concert from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. The concert will feature performances by Matthew Songmaker from 2:00 p.m. till 3:00 p.m., Turn A Blind Eye from 3:30 p.m. till 4:30 p.m., End Of Time Lions from 5:00 p.m. till 6:00 p.m., Will Drewry from 6:30 p.m. till 7:30 p.m., Delaney from 8:00p.m. till 9:00p.m., and Ashes to Empire from 9:30 p.m. till 10:30p.m. Tickets for the concert are $20.

On Saturday at 7:00 p.m., there will be Truck Pulls and Monster Trucks for $20 a ticket and on Sunday, at 7:00 p.m., a Destruction Derby. Tickets for the derby are $18 for Grandstand seats and $16 for Bleacher seats.

Fun for all ages

Fun for all ages

The fair also has a carnival. As a new feature this year, the fair is offering a “Golden Ticket” for $75.00. Ticket purchasers get five days unlimited rides and 1 drink and 1 sandwich each day from the Carnival Concession.

Since its beginning in 1918, The Inter-Mountain Fair has become a major tradition in the Intermountain Area. It prides itself as a country fair with a hometown atmosphere that people of all ages can enjoy. The fairgrounds provide a setting of green lawns and beautifully landscaped flowers. About 30,000 people from near and far come to enjoy the fair each year.

For more information or event tickets, call the Inter-Mountain Fair office at 530-336-5695.

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Filed under Fall River Mills, Intermountain Fair, MacArthur, Music, Pit River Country Events

Mountain Jubilee was lots of fun

Article and photo by Alex Colvin 6/30/15 – Copy

Nathan Dougherty of Burney 4H explains about chickens

Nathan Dougherty of Burney 4H explains about chickens

Residents, businesses, and organizations of the Fall River Valley and surrounding areas joined together to create a wonderful Mountain Jubilee. The three-day display of Inter-Mountain culture and activities was organized by the Inter-Mountain Fair Heritage Foundation and took place at the fairgrounds in McArthur from Friday June 25th to Sunday June 27th.

Susan Hanson of Fall River displays her photos of the Intermountain Area

Susan Hanson of Fall River displays her photos of the Intermountain Area

Overall, the Jubilee offered everyone an opportunity to experience a broad range of intermountain life including trail rides, barrel racing, team roping, a small animal show and a horseshoe tournament. There was also a country craft show, an antique show, and a big ball tournament. Friday and Saturday both ended with a delicious barbecue in the evening and live music till midnight

Who will plop first

Who will plop first

A sense of country fun and humor enlivened many of the activities. Horses Assists Lives Organization had apony plop bingo. People could win a prize by guessing where one of two ponies would first drop its manure in a fenced area.

A highlight of Saturday afternoon was the mud races.

Getting down and dirty at the mud races

Getting down and dirty at the mud races

Contestants of all ages wore attire ranging from tutus to Hawaiian skirts. One man was dressed in a banana costume.  Racers slid into a pool of mud, climbed through muddy tractor tires and culvert pipes, and shimmied through muck under bannered ropes. They then ran a course through the entire fairgrounds before crossing the finish line back in the arena.

After the mud races the fun continued with a blow fish race and adults racing on tricycles. In the blow fish races, contestants competed by blowing bubbles to guide small fish down a narrow channel of water over the finish line.

This was the third annual Mountain Jubilee organized by the Inter-Mountain Heritage Foundation. The proceeds from the jubilee go towards maintaining and improving the fairgrounds and supporting the Inter-Mountain Fair that will be held from September 3rd to September 7th.

Alex Colvin is co-owner of The Lace Gallery in Burney, California. He previously wrote for non-profit corporations in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Since returning to Burney, where he has deep family roots, Alex and his wife Linda have dedicated themselves to exploring and photographing the natural beauty of Northern California.

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Filed under Fall River Mills, Intermountain Fair, MacArthur, Pit River Country Events, Vintage Cars