Jan 25, 2018 05:00AM ● Published by Kerri Regan
By Kerri Regan and Ronda Alvey
• Clovis began as a freight stop along the San Joaquin Valley Railroad in 1890, and was incorporated as a city in 1912. Today, it’s home to about 107,000 people.
• The city’s largest employer is the Clovis Unified School District, followed by Clovis Community Hospital.
• Some of the more notable folks who have called Clovis home include singer Ryan Beatty and actor Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel on “Glee.”
Round ’em Up!
No one does rodeo quite like Clovis. The 104th Annual Clovis Rodeo is set for April 26-29, and it features concerts, dances and after-parties in addition to the main event, one of the premier professional rodeos in the world. On Saturday morning, more than 150 entries will march their way through Old Town Clovis to the delight of more than 25,000 fans (yes – that’s equivalent to a quarter of Clovis’ entire population!). This fun family tradition has been enjoyed for generations.
More than 200,000 visitors flock to Old Town Clovis to enjoy hundreds of vendor booths during the annual Big Hat Days, set for April 7-8. Crafters, artisans and a variety of local merchants delight in showing off their wares, live music keeps your toes tapping, and a carnival and petting zoo entertain the little ones. And nobody will go hungry in the presence of dozens of food vendors who are on hand to satisfy your international food cravings (there’s never a bad time to treat yourself to a bag of kettle corn). Sponsored by Table Mountain Casino, it’s one of the largest craft shows in the area. Don’t forget your big, fun or fancy hat!
Tag – You’re It
Up for an adventure? No Surrender Laser Tag and Adventure Park is one of a handful of fast-paced places to get some action. Based on the game “Call of Duty,” No Surrender’s tactical laser tag experience promotes teamwork and strategy. The facility also includes a three-story adventure course which is a blast (kids must be 42 inches or taller to be in the course without an adult). Bonus: Kids can bring a grandparent to the adventure course for free!
Sunny Side Up
Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Sandy’s Country Junction. Their homestyle grub, high-octane coffee and service with a smile are even worth the wait on a busy Sunday morning. We’ve got plenty of faves (and we do love everything about a huge, country-style breakfast), but our go-tos tend to be Eggs Benedict or an omelet. Kids devour the strawberry waffles. Feeling extra hungry? Select biscuits and gravy instead of toast. Portions are huge.
Things to do in CLOVIS
We love a good challenge, and when we saw Andiamo Ristorante Italiano’s claim that they’ve got the best cioppino in town – well, we had to check that out! Sure enough, the traditional fisherman’s stew didn’t disappoint – but if fish isn’t your thing, they’ve got a robust menu for lunch and dinner, as well as pizza if you’re craving a pie. The lobster ravioli was outstanding and the minestrone lived up to the hype. Andiamo’s also offers a full bar. It’s a romantic spot for date night – you may be serenaded by an accordion player. Buon appetito!
We’ve Got Your Number
Looking for a neat spot to enjoy a cold brew? 559 Beer – Clovis’ first microbrewery – recently expanded to include the 356 Tavern. Eight craft beers celebrate the diversity of the Central Valley and honor the heritage of the Williams family, who have lived here for more than a century. Raisin Farmer Ale pays homage to the brewers’ grandfather, and Bourbon Barrel Ale was inspired during family vacations along Kentucky’s bourbon trails. The tavern also features local wine and “comfort food.” We loved their imaginative style.
Up, Up and Away
There’s nothing quite like watching hot air balloons rise over the Central Valley skies at dawn, so mark your calendar now for ClovisFest and the Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly, scheduled for Oct. 27-28. The annual event features free, family fun, including hot air balloons, craft vendors, foods, carnival, car show and live entertainment. At the International Village, each booth represents a different cultural group from the Central Valley.
Walk and Wine
Enjoy wine from a variety of local wineries and restaurants during the biannual Old Town Clovis Wine Walk (the next one is May 5). Tickets include a commemorative wine glass and a punch card, which includes a map of participating wineries. Shopping, sipping and tasting your way through Old Town is a pretty darn delightful way to get to know this quaint area and its merchants.
On the map: CLOVIS
1: Clovis Botanical Garden: This three-acre, water-wise demonstration garden is sustained through memberships, donations and grants and is maintained by volunteers. The park is lovely and tranquil, and its exhibits are designed to educate and inspire.
2: Old Town Clovis: A web of bicycle trails wind through Clovis and Fresno, and we’re fast approaching the most beautiful time of year to take a leisurely ride. Try the Old Town Clovis Trail to Woodward Park and escape the frenetic pace of real life.
3: Lamonica Stadium: Experience the Friday night lights this fall at the Clovis High football stadium that was named in honor of retired NFL quarterback and Clovis alum Daryle Lamonica (“The Mad Bomber”).
4: Dan Rouit Flat Track Museum: – This facility pays homage to motorcycle and flat-track racing. It’s a local treasure that draws visitors from all over the country.
5: Wild Water Adventure Park: It’s a smidge outside the city limits, but this facility includes waterslides, wave pools in a park-like setting that even includes fishing lakes. From high-thrill rides to a leisurely swimming hole, the park offers refreshing fun for folks of all ages during the summertime.