Mineral King brings their 37th annual picnic indoors

(Rigo Moran)

Mineral King Preservation Society moves their annual Picnic in the Park event indoors following Mineral King Road closure; historian Terry Ommen features as guest speaker

VISALIA – Mineral King Preservation Society has opted to keep its tradition alive by keeping its “Picnic in the Park” event up and going in spite of Mineral King Road’s closure. This year, the event’s presentation will be taken care of by historian Terry Ommen.

This year, Mineral King Preservation Society’s annual Picnic in the Park is switching their location to Cafe 210 in Visalia, located at 210 W. Center Ave. Each year people of the Valley come together to enjoy refreshments and hear a free presentation related to Mineral King and the Southern Sierra region. The event is free and open to the public, and is set for Saturday, July 15 at 1 p.m.

“It’s something that we continue to put together as a way to give back to the community that we’re so proud of,” director of Mineral King Preservation Society Lisa Montiero said.

For the past 37 years – excluding 2020 – the Mineral King Preservation Society has hosted its annual event at Mineral King in the Sequoia National Park. However, due to road repair issues following the spring storms, there is currently no public access to Mineral King.

“It’s bittersweet because we miss being in mineral King, but I am excited to be able to reach a wider audience.” Montiero said.

Rather than cancel its annual Picnic in the Park, the Mineral King Preservation Society instead decided to host its event in Visalia. This year’s presenter is historian Terry Ommen, who Montiero described as one of the best storytellers of Tulare County history. Ommen will be doing a new presentation for this event titled “Visalia’s Close Connection to Mineral King.”

“He’s just a fantastic storyteller. He put together a really great presentation and does a lot of research before he does a talk,“ Montiero said.

According to the Mineral King Preservation Society, past presentations for the event have been done in reenactments, tall tales, talks about subjects like the once proposed Disney ski resort, the KNP Complex fire and many more.

“It feels really important that our group has been around since 1986,” Montiero said. “For us, as a small nonprofit, we are very passionate about preservation, and about the history of Mineral King and the surrounding community.”

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