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Huge Fall Festival Honors Local Firefighters

Written by Lisa Clark

NORTH FORK – The countdown is on for the Fall Festival honoring our firefighters at the Putney Ranch, now the Siderman’s Family Camp and Conference Center.

An amazing day is planned packed full of sunshine, food, beer, wine, apple martinis, dance, bingo, kiddie games crafts, hay rides, paint ball, archery, crafts vendors, cash prize cupcake contest, outdoor movie at dusk and a fire truck parade through camp. There’s definitely something for everyone!

Mark your calendar and join us on Sunday, Nov. 1., in North Fork. Gates open at 11 a.m., with a fire engine parade through camp at 1:30 p.m, and the movie starts at dusk in our split-log mini amphitheater.

Inside the camp, you will be greeted by our welcome team, and get your tickets and wristbands. If you plan on having a bit of libations throughout the day we will add an “I’m over 21” band and off you go.

Tickets are available online and at the gate; $10 for general admission, $5 for children 12 and under and seniors 55 and over.

Stroll over to the stage and enjoy Bing the Magician or dance to Executive Rockers. At 1:30 the fire engine parade rolls through camp! After the parade, we will have a flag raising ceremony and sing the National Anthem led by local group Sugar Pine.

Catch a free hay ride over to our horses and alpacas. We’ll have Mick the gorgeous stallion set up with his finest saddle for a photo op. Then go just a bit down the road to “Blow it out Paintball.” District 5 Supervisor and long-time North Fork resident Tom Wheeler has agreed to be a well padded target during a special portion of day.

Continue on the new gravel roads provided by our very special sponsor Madera Quarry, to our life-guarded Canoe Ride. Paddle around Rock Island which sits in the middle of beautiful Manzanita Lake. Along the path, stop by Sir William Tell’s Dell for a hand at the archery targets.

Of course, there will be lots of yummies to eat and drink!

Enjoy scrumptious BBQ by Smokey’s Grill, delicious ice creams by Frozen Bear, Fire-Oven Pizza to order, Baja Fish Tacos, hot Kettle Corn and South Gate Brewery will be at the beer helm!

The wonderful ladies from Cal Fire — Ann and Natasha — will be pouring wine by the glass and serving up hand-crafted apple martinis made with Lutz apples.

Baked goodies for sale and free children’s crafts will be provided by a crew of young ladies from Minarets High School as part of their Senior Legacy Experience (SLE) to raise awareness for Autistic children.

Lots of craft vendors and a country store will give everyone an early jump on holiday shopping. Be sure and stop by our “Community Tent” lane full of our fabulous local businesses and nonprofits, including another SLE senior student from Minarets showcasing the needs of our local animal rescue shelter Sierra Cares.

In the upper camp you will find lots of goodies and treats. Shinn Cabin has been transformed into the “Pamper Me” Spa Cabin run by the Center for Harmony in North Fork. Our dining hall is now our BINGO Hall! Local farmers from Kern’s Family Farm will join us with their wonderful end-of-the-season harvest.

To top the night off, we will be hosting an outdoor movie center stage at dusk with a candy concession stand open throughout. Vote now for your favorite movie online at www.PutneyRanch.com

Please note, we have seating on split log benches and hay bales you may want to bring a stadium cushion or lawn chair and hold it in your trunk until movie time.

This day could never ever happen without our firefighting heroes and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. The community support is beyond anything we ever expected when this event was in its infant planning stage and the reason? We love our firefighters! They are the best, hands down the best.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the North Fork Fire Department Auxiliary in memory of Frank Verduzco. The wonderful Cal Fire, USFS and Smokey the Bear will be staged near the gate all day to visit with you. So come out and join us in thanking them in this “Hug a Firefighter” day!

To get to the Ranch from Oakhurst take Road 274 along the north side of Bass Lake, and about 1/2 mile from the North Fork turnoff at Road 225, turn right onto Putney Lane. If you come from Highway 41, take Road 200 through North Fork, turn left on Road 274, then left on Putney Lane, just across from the transfer station. Signage will be posted to lead you into camp, which borders beautiful Manzanita Lake on the east. The Lions Club will guide you to free parking in camp. Please try to carpool if possible. Click here for a map.

We are still looking for contestants for our Cupcake Contest. Please send your name and number to PutneyRanch@gmail.com to register. The cash prize will be awarded midday.

The best part of any event like this is the sponsors and we have so many to thank! Let the list begin: Rabbi Menkes the Director of Siderman Camp and Conference Center, Napa in North Fork, HoneyDo Handyman, Frozen Bear Ice Cream, Lions Club, Bandit Town, the Buckhorn, Dr. & Margo Fey, Yosemite Mortgage, Kern Family Farm, Bass Lake Realty, Grace Community Church, Ponderosa Telephone, Tip Top Tree Service, Smokey’s Grill, South Gate Brewery, Slim’s Koffee Shak, La Cabana, Sierra Pest Control, Center for Harmony, Sierra Tel, Grocery Outlet Oakhurst, Donna Pride, Back Country Haven, Box Feed, Century 21 Janet Wheeler, DMO Construction, Tom Wheeler, Madera Quarry and Sierra News Online!

Shout-outs go to the wonderful folks with Madera Planning and Health Department. Their gracious help has made this event… thank you all!

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