Celebrate “All Things Muir” in Coulterville this week at the fifth annual festival that fetes author, naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir.
Muir’s great-great-grandson Robert Hanna will kick off the event, speaking Friday night about his family and its land preservation efforts.
The All Things Muir Festival, partially a fundraiser for the John Muir Geotourism Center, features speakers, films, a craft fair, nature walks, live music, youth activities and more along John Muir’s 1868 “My First Summer in the Sierra” path.
Ken Pulvino and wife Terry are spearheading the festival. Ken Pulvino is founder of the John Muir Highway project, an effort to rename Highway 132 after Muir. A segment of Highway 132, from Coulterville to Highway 120 east of Groveland, is named for the naturalist.
“I’m working with Robert Hanna and the Hanna family to complete that” and get approval from the state Legislature, Pulvino said.
The Pulvinos worked in Silicon Valley but became involved in the John Muir Geotourism Center after they bought part of a ranch in Greeley Hill, then moved there permanently in 2003.
“We became part of the community and became aware that, oh, my gosh, this is what John Muir saw here in 1868,” Pulvino said. The center works to increase tourism and bring money into the low-income region of Mariposa County while preserving the rural lifestyle of its inhabitants.
Festival events will kick off Friday evening with Hanna’s appearance in Coulterville after an opening night dinner. The $50 ticket includes dinner and live music at the Coulterville Cafe, then Hanna’s speech at the nearby Odd Fellows Hall.
Hanna, who has carried on his family’s legacy of protecting and preserving parks and places of natural beauty, “will uncover and describe the many sides of Muir and take you through a very up-close and personal look at his life as can only be told by his family,” according to the festival website.
The ticket also will get participants into other events Friday, including a screening of the Ken Burns film “Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit” after the Hanna speech at the Odd Fellows Hall; a silent auction at the John Muir Geotourism Center; and a wine and cheese tasting with music and historical exhibits at the Northern Mariposa County History Center. All of the locales are within walking distance of one another, Pulvino said.
Saturday, folks can gather for a nature hike at 8:30 a.m. at the Lake McClure Horseshoe Bend Recreation Area, where participants will be transported to the Bean Creek Preserve in Greeley Hill. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the festival kicks into high gear back at Horseshoe Bend with music; speakers; workshops for children on how to journal, sketch and create crafts; a rock climbing wall and more. There also will be hikes; food vendors; and art, photography, woodworking, natural crafts and other booths. Admission is $10 adults, $8 seniors and free for children ages 12 and under.
Things will wind down Saturday with a 5 p.m. showing of the film “Nature Kids” and a meet-and-greet with producer Kenny Ballentine at the Odd Fellows Hall.
Muir, an avid wilderness explorer, is renowned for his adventures in the Sierra Nevada, Alaska’s glaciers and world travels. His writings contributed to the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon national parks, according to the Sierra Club’s website.
“His words and deeds helped inspire President Theodore Roosevelt’s innovative conservation programs, including establishing the first national monuments by presidential proclamation, and Yosemite National Park by congressional action. In 1892, John Muir and other supporters formed the Sierra Club ‘to make the mountains glad,’ ” the Sierra Club’s website states.
For more on the festival and a complete schedule, see the John Muir Geotourism Center website at http://johnmuir.us.