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Malakoff's French Connection Festival

On September 14, 2019, the Friends of North Bloomfield & Malakoff Diggins and California State Parks will jointly commemorate the French heritage of the park in a delightful small-town festival.

Attractions include French-themed music performed by Nevada County favorites Beaucoup Chapeaux, guided tours of North Bloomfield’s French heritage, including the historic cemetery, locally sourced picnic-style food, beer, and wine, and a raffle with a grand prize of a week’s stay in a small villa on the French Riviera (Villa La Grisette, in Vence, Donated by Dr. Claudine Chalmers). We will have games (petanque), volunteers in period costume interpreting historic heritage, craft demonstrations, and the historic buildings will be open for exploration.

Research has revealed that the French influence at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park was widespread. Entrepreneurs designed massive water systems and hydraulic ventures, opened hotels and businesses, and planted gardens. They dominated the local scene at the Park for 15 years, laying the groundwork to the nation’s biggest hydraulic operation of the day, the North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company, which was commonly called the French Company for years. The Malakoff Mine became so large that it was the defendant in the famous federal lawsuit that handed down the Sawyer Decision (1884), the renowned injunction against the laissez-faire practice of polluting waterways.

Malakoff’s French Connection Festival commemorates those French and French-Canadian pioneers responsible for much of the early technological and cultural developments at the Park in a festive, lively gathering open to the public. (To help sponsor this event, or donate to our educational efforts you may click here.)

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is located 26 miles northeast of Nevada City, nestled in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Within the Park’s roughly 3,200 acres of forested hills, lakes, dramatic cliffs, and historic buildings lies the exciting and significant story of the nation’s largest hydraulic gold mining operation and the nation’s first environmental regulation.

Today the Park is often characterized as a place of peace, quiet, and solitude, an ironically drastic shift from the destruction and devastation that created it. Popular activities include historic town tours, hikes through scenic diggings, mountain biking, camping, fishing, and photography.

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