Starry, Starry Nights: Dancing under the stars

PICTURE A STARRY SUMMER EVENING, twinkling lights in the trees, guests dressed in white, dining and dancing on the lush grounds of the historic Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley. Every year 300 guests attend Starry, Starry Nights, a highlight of the summer event season in Nevada County.

Starry, Starry Nights celebrates its 20th anniversary on Sat., July 21. The event and fundraiser is produced by the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation to benefit vital community health programs and projects at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

“The 20th anniversary of Starry, Starry Nights is an incredible milestone celebration,” says Kimberly Parker, executive director of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. “The event has raised needed funds for our nonprofit community hospital.”

Antonio’s Custom Catering, winner of gold, silver and bronze medals at the Culinary Olympics in Germany, will cater the elegant dinner. Fine wines are poured during the evening, featuring local award-winning wineries. The pièce de résistance eliciting “ooh’s and ahh’s” is the famous “dessert tent.”

Guests dance the night away with a live band and peek at the stars with Nevada County Astronomers, who will have their telescopes set up for star-gazing.

The affair includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner, complimentary premium wines and beer, dessert, dancing and star gazing. There will also be a no-host cocktail bar. Reservations, $125 per person ($75 tax deductible) and need to be ordered in advance—no later than July 13.

For more information, call Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation 530-477-9700 or visit

Where To Rest

After dancing the night away in the foothills—hiking, biking or wine tasting, for that matter—there’s always a place to rest your head. Grass Valley and Nevada City offer a wide range of lodging options, from quaint B&Bs to deluxe hotels. Some examples:

Broad Street Inn in Nevada City, built in 1870, prides itself on providing clean, comfortable accommodations at affordable rates. Located in the heart of Nevada City, the Victorian inn offers six contemporary rooms. Their peaceful garden setting is perfect for a relaxing getaway.

Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley is the newest full service hotel in the region. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites provides premium amenities for traveling families and business travelers. It is within walking distance to downtown and offers free WiFi, a fitness center, free breakfast and nightly wine reception.

Grass Valley Courtyard Suites Tucked in a quiet neighborhood a block from downtown—an ideal spot for a getaway. It features luxurious, spacious rooms on lovely landscaped grounds with a heated swimming pool, fitness center and sauna. It also has a new day spa.

(photo credit: Allie Aguilar)

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