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Loomis festival spreads community spirit

Bike and pet parade; park dedication this Sunday
By: Elizabeth Speth Loomis News Correspondent
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Loomis celebrates the new, the old, and the animals at Tracking the Loomis Spirit festival this Sunday. Festivities begin at 11 a.m., June 12, with a pet and decorated bike parade down Taylor Road. The parade begins at Loomis Grammar School and no pre-registration is required. At 2 p.m., a dedication ceremony for the new Blue Anchor Park will be held. Free food sampling, blue grass music, games and activities will be available during the event. Town Manager Perry Beck said, “We are taking a look at history here, but at the same time moving into the future. Mostly, though, this event is a celebration of the critters.” The event is the brainchild of Diane Nicholas, of Loomis, who founded Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue. She said Sunday’s activities are about the “abundance of animals ‘making tracks’ right here in the Loomis Basin, a wealth that most of us aren’t even aware of.” Activities will be held at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed and Loomis Train Depot. Nicholas’ husband, Bill, has planned an International Food Tasting at the Blue Goose from 12 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.. Attendees can pick up a free “passport” to sample fare from seven countries, along with a dessert bar. During the event, a petting zoo will feature baby pigs, lambs, miniature goats, and alpacas. Activities at the Depot include a bluegrass band, ice cream sampling, and games. At Blue Anchor Park, face painting, a hula-hoop contest, water balloon toss, and spoon and egg races will keep visitors of all ages busy. The dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. will include testimonials from former Blue Anchor fruit shed workers, who will “say a few words about the shed in its heyday,” according to Beck. The new park is named after the Blue Anchor fruit shed, which was destroyed by fire in 2002. The first phase of the new Blue Anchor park, funded by a $220,000 state grant, is nearing completion. “You can’t see it, but there was a lot of infrastructure we took care of,” Beck said. “We’ve finished grading, installed sewage and water fixtures, laid out the basic design, put up the play structure.” The completed park is expected to cost about $460,000, and will eventually include public gathering areas, water features, public restrooms and a skateboard area. The town recently secured a Caltrans grant of $195,000 for construction of a new parking lot at the facility. Mark Foley, owner of Blue Goose Produce, manages the historic building Blue Goose Fruit Shed for the South Placer Heritage Foundation. He calls the new park “a nice tie-in between local businesses and a family gathering place.” “We are not one demographic here. We are young kids, business people, senior citizens. There’s a little bit of all of it in Loomis,” Foley added. The “tracking” aspect of Sunday’s celebration, in addition to animals, could easily refer to Foley’s historic produce business, situated in an area that was once dependent upon local food growers and the nearby railroad. The railcars took locally produced fruit to eastern U.S. and European markets, and connected Loomis with the rest of the world. Foley called Loomis “a wonderful combination of history and the future,” “We’ve kept the small town atmosphere, while still providing for improvements the town needs to grow,” Foley said. For more information on Tracking The Loomis Spirit, call Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue at (530) 889-5822 or the Loomis Chamber of Commerce at 652-7252. TRACKING THE LOOMIS SPIRIT CELEBRATION WHAT: Blue Anchor Park dedication, pet and bike parade, blue grass music, free food and ice cream sampling, games, activities WHERE: Downtown Loomis, Train Depot and Blue Goose Fruit Shed WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 12 SCHEDULE:11 a.m. bike and pet parade starts at Loomis Grammar School, no pre-registration required. Park dedication at 2 p.m. SPONSORED BY: Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue and the Town of Loomis INFORMATION: 652-7252, (530) 889-5822