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Gateway to the vast tourism experiences of Madera County and the southern Yosemite region, the City of Madera offers travel services and tourist amenities for nearly everyone. Restaurants, gas stations, and affordable lodging are readily available. Madera serves as the hub for visitors accessing the region from the west on Highway 152, and from the north and south on State Highway 99 traveling to Yosemite National Park or the Sierra National Forest via the Southern Yosemite Highway 41.
Home to the Madera District Fairgrounds, special events and celebrations as well as the Fair itself draw visitors to Madera annually. Other events listed in this directory also appeal to visitors from around the San Joaquin Valley and other parts of California.
Of special note is the Madera Wine Trail. Sponsored and organized by the Madera Vintners Association, the wine trail features some of California’s finest wines. The Vintners host several events each year drawing people from all around the area. For tasting times and appointment information, visit their website or stop by the Chamber office for a copy of their Wine Trail Map.
Each year the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau publishes a regional Visitors Guide. This colorful and informative guide to the southern Yosemite region is ideal for planning your next outing in the area or for sending to friends coming to visit. It is also a great tool along with this directory for showing clients about our area. Contact the Madera District Chamber office for your free copy.
Tourism is an important economic development tool for Madera County. Over $195 million dollars in visitor spending occurs annually. This includes spending for accommodations, food and beverage, fuel, recreation, entertainment and shopping. Over 3,000 jobs are generated by tourism with earnings of about $67 million. Local tax receipts generated by travel spending exceeded $3.2 million in 2006. The Transient Occupancy Tax (T.O.T.) or Bed Tax has reached over $1.8 million per year. The County of Madera collected $1,863,968 in T.O.T. for the fiscal year 2007-08. The City of Madera accounts for an additional $426,000 per year in T.O.T. that goes into the city general fund.
SOURCES: California Travel & Tourism Commission; California Travel Impacts by County, 1992-2006, 2007 Prelim. State Estimates, Dean Runyan Associates, Inc., March 2008 and the Madera County Economic Development Commission
For more information on tourism activities and recreation opportunities contact the Madera District Chamber of Commerce at (559) 673-3563 or the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau at (559) 683-4636.
ARTS IN MADERA COUNTY
Cultural opportunities abound in Madera County from the valley floor to higher elevations. Many artists reside in the county inspired by the visual grandeur of the Sierras and Yosemite National Park.
Each summer the Madera County Arts Council and the City of Madera Parks and Community Services Department organize a free Summer Concert Series at Lions Town and Country Park. Concerts take place at 7:00 p.m. on alternate Sunday evenings. These concerts are funded by the generosity of local businesses and regularly include Jazz music, Rock music, Military Bands, Big Band Sounds, and Latin music. Check the Community Calendar in the Madera Tribune for exact dates and times.
Quady Winery located at 13181 Road 24, organizes an annual art exhibition called the “Revillier Art Exhibition” in mid-February, displaying contemporary fine art, photography and sculptural installations. The high quality of the show and the added benefit of tasting wine while viewing the work is lots of fun!
The Madera County Historical Society Museum located at 210 West Yosemite Avenue is a storehouse of artifacts ranging from farm implements to important papers and paintings from the personal collections of Madera County’s earliest residents. The museum is open Tuesdays and by appointment. The first Sunday in December, they host an open house fundraiser showcasing beautifully decorated rooms filled with antiques from their permanent collection.
The first weekend in October in Courthouse Park, next to the Historical Society, there is an annual “Fiesta in the Park” sponsored by Latinas Unidas. This event includes a day of music, cultural foods and craft booths.
The community also has a well-respected Summer Theater. Ticket information is available on the Chowchilla Chamber of Commerce website.
Down the road in Fairmead, next to the landfill, lies the archeological dig and home of the San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation. A museum is planned for the site that contains a huge amount of interesting animal skeletons including mastodons. Tours are available by appointment, for more information call (559) 665-7107.
There is no shortage of cultural heritage in Oakhurst beginning with the Fresno Flats Historical Park on Road 427. It preserves and displays a home, printing press, barn, schoolhouse, and a blacksmith shop from 100 years ago. It is open Monday thru Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Guided tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. For more information call (559) 683-6570.
The Children’s Museum of the Sierras on Golden Oak Drive offers hands-on exhibits for school children ranging from old telephone switchboards to archeology. Hours vary, for more information call (559) 658-5656.
Don’t forget the Thornberry Museum Sugar Pine Railroad on Highway 41 north of Oakhurst providing authentic train rides, for more information call (559) 683-7273.
Sierra Art Trails is a 501C-4 non-profit corporation run by volunteers. Their mission is to support and promote working artists in the mountain communities, while developing the area as an art destination. They raise money for scholarships and community art projects. Purchasing as Art Trails Catalogue enables you to enjoy three days of visiting local artist studios during their Open Studios Tour in mid-October. For more information visit their website.
There are also many art galleries in Oakhurst where you can meet the local artists during the Sierra Art Hop on the second Saturday of every month from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., for more information about call (559) 683-0611.
Art Galleries in Oakhurst
The performing arts thrive in the mountains as well at the Golden Chain Theater on Highway 41 during the Summer Melodramas. For more information visit their website
The Sierra Chamber Singers provide seasonal concerts and a Fine Art Program for Children takes place each summer. For more information on dates, contact Jackie Byers at (559) 683-7071. The Mountain Arts Chorale provides spring and fall concerts, for more information call (559) 658-7376. Moreover, do not forget about the Sierra Starlight Theater presenting Broadway Musicals on the second weekend of August and the Children’s Summer Musical Theater. For dates and times, call (559) 642-4329.
All summer long you can drive in your car or your boat and listen to Jazz on the Lake at Ducey’s at The Pines Resort on Bass Lake every Friday evening, May through September. The resort also has an art and antiques gallery call Good Ol’ Daze displaying the art of local artists.
Inanna’s Gift Studio and Gallery has fine arts and jewelry, classes and healing gardens located at 35572 Highway 41, (559) 673-7529
While you are there, stop by the Community Art Gallery, located at the old sawmill site on Road 225, open spring through October each year. For more information call (559) 877-2487.
You can find other events in North Fork too, such as seasonal performances at the Squirrel Cage Theater. For additional information about dates and times, call (559) 877-2431. Additional annual events include Poetry Reading in May at the North Fork Library (559) 877-4195, Art in the Garden in June, the Sunset Pow Wow in September (559) 855-4833, and the Fall Festival Art Show in October (559) 877-4195.
This information provided courtesy of the