Photos courtesy of Laurie Ann Martin Photography
Majestic Draft Horse performances, breathtaking competitions, and seeing a Draft Horse “up-close” are all part of the festivities at the 31st Annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair, September 21 – 24, at the beautiful Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Featuring six different performances by the Draft Horses, this event has become the premier Draft Horse show in the western United States. The Classic spotlights a variety of horses, teams, and performances; featuring everything from farm wagons, carriages, and driving competitions to dancing horses and racing mules. The stars of the show are the horses, and with more than 120 horses stabled on the grounds, the Classic offers a unique chance to observe them in a multitude of settings.
In between the performance classes, enjoy showcase specialty acts like Gladius the Show, an acrobatic equestrian production that incorporates aerialists, fire, and Roman riding. There’s also the California Cowgirls, chariot and chuck wagon races, and the Bobby Kerr Mustang Act. This year, Cal Crush Clydesdales will be performing in between classes, as will the popular California Highway Patrol Mounted Patrol Unit.
Also taking place at the Fairgrounds during the four days of the Classic is the Harvest Fair. Although there is a charge for the Draft Horse performances in the arena, admission to the Harvest Fair is free so all can enjoy the many activities of the Harvest Fair on the Fairgrounds. Visit the grounds to enjoy musical entertainment, a Western Trade Show with vendors selling wares, the Harvest Fair agricultural competitions and community exhibits, a horseshoeing demonstration, and Art at the Classic. Plus, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the barns and meet the famous Draft Horses. You can even sign up for a guided barn tour!
When you’re hungry and need a rest, pick your favorite treat, then wander over to the Pine Tree Stage and enjoy the musical entertainment. New this year at the Harvest Fair, we’ve got two new musical acts performing on the Pine Tree Stage. On Friday, September 22 from 4:30 pm – 6 pm, James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash takes the stage. On Saturday, September 23 from 4 – 6 pm, Left of Centre and the Country Artists Tribute to Jason Aldean will be featured. Both concerts are free, so stop by and grab a bite to eat, enjoy some music under the shade of the tall pine trees, and catch a Draft Horse performance after the musical entertainment.
Tickets to the Draft Horse performances are on sale now. You can choose from six different performances or purchase a season ticket for all six. Performances are Thursday, September 21, and Friday, September 22, at 6:30 pm; Saturday, September 23, at 10 am and 6:30 pm; and Sunday, September 24, at 10 am and 4 pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Fairgrounds Office at (530) 273-6217, by visiting the Fairgrounds Office on McCourtney Road, or ordered online at NevadaCountyFair.com. There is a small transaction fee if you order your tickets online. All tickets purchased after 5 pm on Wednesday, September 20, are an additional $4 per ticket.
This year’s Draft Horse Classic is September 21 – 24 at the tree-covered Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, 50 miles northeast of Sacramento. The phone number is (530) 273-6217. Visit NevadaCountyFair.com for more information.