Taste and see: Friends of Sutter’s Fort to present two events – one culinary, one haunted

By LANCE ARMSTRONG, Valley Community Newspapers writer

Sutter’s Fort will be the site of two upcoming events, which will serve as fundraisers for the Friends of Sutter’s Fort.

A Taste of History

DINNER SERVICE will be provided by Plates Café, a division of St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

DINNER SERVICE will be provided by Plates Café, a division of St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

The first of these events, A Taste of History, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This event will feature some of the city’s top chefs, who will use 19th century recipes and add their own modern touches to them.

One of the event’s major sponsors will be Whole Foods, which will provide quality produce that will be used throughout the evening.

The event will begin with a reception, and wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres will be served while guests will have the opportunity to interact with the chefs, who will be preparing various levels of their dishes in the fort’s period facilities.

The event, which will also include live, historic, acoustic music, will be highlighted by a four-course, seated dinner, which will begin with a chicken mole salad prepared by Jay Veregee, executive chef of Old Sacramento’s Ten 22 restaurant.

Lisa Mealoy, executive director of the Friends of Sutter’s Fort, said that when it comes to early Sutter’s Fort history, presenting a Mexican-type dish at this event is very fitting.

“One of the things that people don’t necessarily know is that California was actually a part of Mexico,” Mealoy said. “During the time of Sutter, there was a lot of excitement and transition with Mexico and Sutter was very involved with the Mexican government. So, we’re talking about highlighting the chicken mole, the Mexican aspect of things.”

Also taking part in the event will be Patrick Mulvaney of midtown Sacramento’s Mulvaney’s B & L restaurant.

CHEFS PREPARE FOOD on the fire pit at Sutter’s Fort during last year’s A Taste of History event. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

CHEFS PREPARE FOOD on the fire pit at Sutter’s Fort during last year’s A Taste of History event. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

Mulvaney will be preparing local, grilled, king salmon with American River fennel and West Sacramento heirloom tomatoes. The dish will be paired with pinot noir wine from Rail Bridge Cellars of Sacramento.

Mealoy said that it will be a pleasurable experience to have such fine chefs at the event.

“They are Sacramento’s local celebrity chefs and they are extraordinarily talented, but they also happen to be extraordinarily nice people, who are very generous in the community and lots of fun to get to work with,” Mealoy said.

Tickets to this fundraiser are presently being sold for $85 per person.

For additional information regarding this event, call (916) 323-7626.

The Haunted Fort

The second upcoming event presented by the Friends of Sutter’s Fort will be the very timely fall event, The Haunted Fort, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

An official Sutter’s Fort news release notes that the fort was “once a portal for weary pioneers (and) again serves as the gateway to their restless spirits, who return to tell the tales of their lives and melancholy deaths at this special family-friendly event.”

WARM WELCOME. Brightly colored table décor welcomes guests to last year’s edition of A Taste of History. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

WARM WELCOME. Brightly colored table décor welcomes guests to last year’s edition of A Taste of History. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

The Haunted Fort will feature 45-minute, guided, in-the-dark, “spooky,” historic tours of the fort that will present characters from different eras of the fort’s past. These tours will begin about every 10 minutes.

Mealoy describes this event as an opportunity to hear about “dark and creepy and intriguing stories of the pioneers and people of Sacramento who came through and had some sort of relationship with the fort.”

Continuing, Mealoy said that guests will meet people who will be portraying such characters as former Sutter’s Fort curator Harry Peterson and members of the Donner Party.

“(Guests) will learn about the characters themselves and why they’re so fascinating and why they may have left their marks, their spirits, here at the fort,” Mealoy said. “They all have very dramatic stories. And part of the goal behind this (event) is to help people see that we have tremendous stories that are a part of history that go way beyond just the dates and the numbers and the facts and the figures.”

As for actual ghosts at the fort, Mealoy said, “We do have reports of ghosts and ghosts sightings here (at the fort), but it’s all in one’s belief. But any stories that we hear, nobody seems to feel that there’s anything malevolent or threatening here, and this event itself is intended to be a family event. It’s not a horror house type of event.”

Admission for The Haunted Fort event will be $6 for ages 17 and older, $4 for ages 6 to 16, and free for ages 5 and younger.

STEP TO THE BEAT. A Taste of History will include live, historic, acoustic music. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

STEP TO THE BEAT. A Taste of History will include live, historic, acoustic music. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

For further information regarding this event, call (916) 445-4422.

Friends of Sutter’s Fort

Because proceeds from both of the aforementioned events benefit the Friends of Sutter’s Fort, Mealoy believes that it is important for the community to be informed about this nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.

Although the Friends of Sutter’s Fort is only about three years old, it evolved from the Sacramento Historic Sites Association, a much older foundation that supported Sutter’s Fort, as well as the California State Railroad Museum, the Stanford Mansion, the California State Indian Museum and the California State Capitol Museum.

Eventually, the Sacramento Historic Sites Association was divided into individual cooperating associations that were dedicated to specific state parks.

Volunteers are absolutely essential to the success of the organization, which also operates the trade store at Sutter’s Fort.

In regard to The Haunted Fort event, Mealoy said, “(The volunteers) help in the research for the stories, because it’s important to us that they be historically accurate. They help to design the scenarios, they help to put everything together and they just knock your socks off. There’s no way that this event could happen if we didn’t have (the volunteers).”

BREW MASTER Brian Cofresi of the River City Brewing Co. will prepare a special brew for this year’s A Taste of History event. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

BREW MASTER Brian Cofresi of the River City Brewing Co. will prepare a special brew for this year’s A Taste of History event. / Photo courtesy, Friends of Sutter’s Fort

Mealoy said that having a foundation specifically dedicated to supporting the historical programming at Sutter’s Fort is very beneficial in continuously improving upon the functions and activities of this longtime popular state historic park.

For additional information regarding upcoming Sutter’s Fort events, visit www.suttersfort.org.

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2 comments so far

  1. Elisabeth Montgomery
    #1

    Fort Sutter “Taste od History” was the highlight of our Simmer 2011 Great Books Study Tour with Chinese students from Yucai School in China who were studying the Western Frontier. Fabulous food, arts and crafts, and music. We highly recommend this unique and charming evening.

  2. Elisabeth Montgomery
    #2

    Fort Sutter “Taste od History” was the highlight of our Summer 2011 Great Books Study Tour with Chinese students from Yucai School in China who were studying the Western Frontier. Fabulous food, arts and crafts, and music. We highly recommend this unique and charming evening.

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