Feb 27, 2019 11:00AM
● By Kerri Regan
By Kerri Regan and Ronda Alvey
• Tulare was founded in 1872 by the Southern Pacific Railroad and got its name from Lake Tulare.
• The town of Tulare burned down and was rebuilt three times in its first 14 years of existence.
• Tulare hosted the national championships for the decathlon in track and field in the mid-1900s.
• Two-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Congressman Bob Mathias, former U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., and silent movie actress Lois Neilson have all called Tulare home.
Things to do in Tulare:
World famous: Tulare is home to the internationally known World Ag Expo at the International Agri-Center – the largest annual agricultural exposition in the world, which is visited by more than 100,000 people from all over the world.
Tower power: The 65-foot Tower Square Clock and Bell Tower downtown honors Tulare’s Azorean and Portuguese heritage, while the Tulare Water Tower looks like a glass of milk with a straw and features the phrase, “We’ve Got It.” The water tower honors the town’s position as a top dairy producer in California.
Grubbin’: Downtown is a hotspot for places to eat. Pitty’s BBQ, inside a vintage airplane, offers family favorite recipes made daily from scratch – their tri-tip sandwich is a can’t-miss. Rosa’s Trattoria & Bar serves up traditional Italian dishes, and Hazel’s Kitchen prepares a mean Chinese Chicken Salad.
Celebrate History: A dozen historical murals throughout the city depict scenes from Tulare’s and California’s history. The Tulare Historical Museum spotlights local heroes and showcases the city’s rich heritage. Or stop by Bob Mathias Stadium, where you can find a reproduction of the cauldron that was reproduced to honor Tulare’s participation in the 1960 Winter Olympics torch run. Aviation buffs are sure to enjoy the historical display of two vintage military airplanes at Mefford Field – a B-17 bomber serves as a World War II dedication, while an F-4 Phantom memorializes Tulare County residents killed in the Vietnam War.
Things to do in Tulare:
Milk It: Rosa Brothers Milk Company is famous for its fresh-as-can-be ice cream, milk and coffee creamer. Brothers Rolland and Noel live on the farm and work the same land that their family began working three generations ago. Farm and creamery tours are available.
Join the Fun: Some of Tulare’s many annual events include the Beer Bus Crawl in March, the Spring Carnival and Eggstravaganza in the spring, and Cinco de Mayo in May; the Jack O’ Lantern Jubilee and Haunted Hayride, the Zumwalt Park Autumn Festival, and the Rusty Roots Show in the fall; the Wine Walk in November and the Tulare Children’s Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting in December.
Stop and Smell the Flowers: The Gardens includes an expansive garden and gift center, do-it-yourself workshops and a lovely venue for weddings and other special events.
A Day at the Park: Del Lago Park includes picnic shelters, a water play area and 1.35 miles of lighted walking paths; its Movies at Dusk series features free family movies on an outdoor screen every Friday in July. Zumwalt Park plays host to Concerts in the Park all summer long.
Bravo: Bravo Farms offers a unique dining and shopping experience. Leave time to browse the gift shop after your meal – and if you go on Wednesdays, treat yourself to half-priced wine.
Curtains Up: The Encore Theatre is an intimate black box theater with seating for 100. Productions include musicals, comedies and family-friendly summer productions featuring local youth. Refreshments are delivered to audience members, and seating is cabaret style.
Built to Last: The Tulare Union High School Auditorium and Administration Building (circa 1890) is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and the Tulare Women’s Clubhouse is the town’s oldest building (it was originally The Library Hall).
On the map, Tulare:
1. The Land O’Lakes Dairy Co-op has been farmer-owned since 1921, and is one of Tulare’s largest employers.
2. The Tulare Outlets feature more than 50 designer and brand name stores, along with a movie theater and numerous restaurants.
3. Tulare Golf Course is an 18-hole public course with a pro shop and dining room.
4. DT1 MX motorcycle track and cycle park is open to the public and offers a variety of off-road and motocross tracks.
5. Kaweah Brewing is a fun, relaxing place to enjoy a pint of craft beer.