The Visalia View

[ART METHOD SUCCESS] It’s not what you think!

Take away your preconceived notions of art, community service, and rural Central Valley and get ready to embrace a new generation of

Artist Eric Gonzalez

Artist Eric Gonzalez

artists, educators, mentors and art scene insiders. Meet Eric Gonzalez, the Visalia 2017 Artist of the Year.

Spray Can artist Erik Gonzalez got his start in the big cities of Los Angeles and the Bay Area where he honed his craft in graffiti art and learned from a community that shared a similar vision. But due to the high cost of living in those urban areas, he relocated to Visalia, a vibrant town at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California’s Central Valley. Although only about 3 hours from LA, Erik didn’t think that Visalia had an audience for graffiti and street art and continued to work on projects in LA. That all changed when he was asked to help organize Visalia’s Taste the Arts Festival, an annual celebration of the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the community that this year takes place on October 20. Arts of all mediums, including street art, come together and take over the streets of downtown at this free festival.

Erik is an ‘all-in’ kind of guy and so once he committed to serving the community through art and public engagement, he jumped in with both feet by serving on the Taste the Arts organizational committee, founding the Urbanists Collective mentoring youth on the importance of art and education, and still having time to create his own work.

It was through his work with Taste the Arts and the Urbanists Collective that Erik discovered a deeply engaged community which energized him to dig deeper and reach further.

Taste The Arts 2013 Guest Artist Agana

Taste The Arts 2013 Guest Artist Agana

Take the ‘Queens of Style’ event for example. In celebration of International Women’s Month in March, Urbanists Collective invited women aerosol artists from around the U.S. to Visalia for a one-day festival to celebrate these talented artists. And they came! Some from as far away as Texas, Chicago, Arizona and throughout the rest of California. Word is spreading, and along with returning participants there are several major artists ready to sign up for next year.

This surprising journey has taken Erik to places one would never expect to see a spray can artist: the National Parks. This September, as part of the Dark Sky Festival in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, he will paint a ‘mobile wall’ to introduce urban artists to the Parks. Quite a leap from the concrete ‘canvases’ of the big city. As Visalia is the gateway to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (the Park gate is just 40 minutes east,) he hopes a new generation of local area youth will begin to appreciate the wide open space of the great outdoors as a place of inspiration as well as gain a ‘respect for nature.’

Visalia supports a lively and diverse arts scene that includes a symphony orchestra, art galleries, arts center for adults with developmental disabilities, murals, one of the largest publicly held Native American basket collections in California, art-painted fire hydrants, and even painted dumpster enclosures. And now add to that a growing and respected Urban Art scene with a hip venue called The Lumberyard where panels and siding become larger than life graffiti canvasses.

After meeting with Eric, it is clear that he has found his home in Visalia, not just for his family but for his art. The youth he mentors in and

Urbanist team collaboration: Erik Gonzalez, Joel Martin, Joanna Sanchez, Reggie Gamboa, Ryan Giles

Urbanist team collaboration: Erik Gonzalez, Joel Martin, Joanna Sanchez, Reggie Gamboa, Ryan Giles

around the area, as well as the city, benefit from his passion and energy as he helps to weave together a diverse arts community that draws artists and art lovers to this vibrant central valley city.

More information:

  • Dark Sky Festival: September 7-9, 2018 throughout Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park. All events are free with admission to the parks and include talks by NASA astronauts, star parties, solar viewing, events for kids, and of course Street Art by Erik Gonzalez.
  • Taste the Arts: This annual festival –this year it will be on October 20– is presented by the Arts Consortium, the official arts council of Tulare County. Located on the streets of downtown Visalia it is a celebration of the rich cultural and artistic heritage of our community. The Central Valley has a diversity that attracts a broad spectrum of cultures to our region, each with its own distinctive arts and traditions. Taste the Arts celebrates this multi-cultural background with an event just as unique! Taste the Arts offers a full-day of free activities with more than 70 regional visual artists and their paintings, sculptures, steel work, photographs, gourds, and jewelry. Two packed stages feature musical acts, dance troupes, and cultural performers. Hands on opportunity with aerosol art and printmaking workshops, and a Farmers Market “Fun with Food” sculpture contest. ALL FOR FREE!
  • The Urbanists Collective mission is to promote the professional expansion of urban art within the community through art education, demonstration, and outreach. Urbanists embrace the concept of redefining public space, with the addition of art and public engagement. Our main focus is to promote the education and positive expansion of urban art within the community. Our group has rapidly grown to include talents such as spray-can artists, photographers, tattoo artists, writers, poets/vocalists, DJ’s, screen printers and more.

Watch for their Queens of Style event in March 2019.


Famous Visalians: Do you know these locals?

© Rebecca Sanabria

Meet local Brian Poth, Hollywood actor with credits that include Six Feet Under, 3 seasons with CSI Miami, and Criminal Minds to name just a few. Born in Tulare Brian began acting as a child and grew it into a full-time acting career. But his most satisfying role to date is that of Executive Director of The Source LGBT + Center in Visalia. Brian now lives in Visalia and aside from his upcoming movie Backseat due out in December (starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams) has put Hollywood behind him and is focused on development of an LGBT outreach center to meet the growing needs in the community. The organization’s mission is to provide space within our community for the LGBT+ population to Learn, Grow, Belong, Transform, Question + Support.

The Source LGBT + Center hosts fundraisers to further their mission including this fall’s “Visalia Over The Edge” event! The public is invited to help them meet their goal by rappelling down the side of the Visalia Marriott Hotel in downtown. That’s right: rappel down from the top of the building on the EXTERIOR!! The CVB will be there this November 11 as our Executive Director goes Over The Edge!

Since Visalia is gateway to 2 National Parks our team chose the theme ‘National Treasures’ for the event to highlight our partnership with Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. So if you are into adventure like we are, sign up to repel. If you like to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground, then just come to watch. Either way your adrenaline will be pumping!

Want to donate to their cause?

This story is a first in an occasional series that will introduce you to Visalians we think you should know. They may be famous, successful in their field, hometown heroes, do something super interesting or a combination of all of that! Enjoy!

Majestic Mountain Loop: 3 National Parks in 3 Days

Majestic Mountain Loop

3 National Parks, 3 Days, 1 Epic Journey

Do header-shutterstock_242365438you hear that knocking on your door? That’s summer announcing it’s here to stay for a while, which means you get some time off. But those precious days spent away from the office shouldn’t go to waste via you melting into the couch binge-watching Netflix’s newest series. No, you need to enjoy Mother Nature at her finest with visits to three of California’s best national parks.

Where is this tremendous triple-threat of natural beauty? Luckily for you, they’re just outside the city limits and has all the information you need to get there. That’s why they’ve partnered with us to give you the best of the Majestic Mountain Loop that will connect you with Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Park.



After spending the night in the gateway city of Visalia, get an early start to the day. Gas up before  heaImage 1 Sequoia National Park 1-shutterstock_544562563ding to stop number one, Sequoia National Park, the home of the largest single stem tree in the world. But before you gaze upon the Burj Khalifa of trees, check out the Giant Forest Museum and hike to the top of Moro Rock. On your way to the General Sherman Tree—the aforementioned tallest of the bunch—drive through

Tunnel Log. You literally drive through a tree.


Kings Canyon

Image 2 Kings National Park2-shutterstock_69082225Sequoia is great, but Kings Canyon National Park is your destination on day two. And just like its sister park to the south, Kings is home to a tree older than some rocks. The General Grant Tree is the main attraction of Grant Grove and a must-see. Pack a picnic basket and head to Zumwalt Meadow for a scenic lunch. And if you want to work off the meal, drive to Road’s End and explore the many hiking trails in the area. At the end of the day, head to Oakhurst, just outside Yosemite, for a good night’s rest, before the last leg of this epic journey.



The final day of your three-day excursion to these beautiful national parks will end at possibly the most famous. Yosemite was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984 and for good reason. Bridalveil Fall, Cathedral Peak, and the U-Shaped Valley are one-of-a-kind features that wilImage 3 Yosemite National Park3-shutterstock_124360591l light up your Instagram page. But the mother of them all is Half Dome. If you’ve got the onions, sign up for a cable hike to the visor of this impressive rock formation.





Three days, three parks, one route. That’s what you’ll get when you set out from Visalia on the Majestic Mountain Loop. Your rental car is about to go on the best drive since it came off the assembly line.


Meta Description: If you thought visiting three of the best national parks in three days is impossible, presents to you the Majestic Mountain Loop.

Tags: summer, road trip, Oakhurst, Visalia, California, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Majestic Mountain Loop, car rental

Author: Chris Killen

Top 5 Ways to ‘Cool Down’ in Visalia!

Here in Visalia, summer can be hot, Hot, HOT! But we are here to help you beat the heat. Check out these top 5 fantastic ways to cool down in Visalia.

splash Pad

Take a dip in the pool or play in the splash pad

Public Swim @Redwood High School:

Tuesday- Saturday, Noon- 3 PM

Splash Pad @Riverway Sports Park

Daily, 11 AM- 8 PM

Bumper Boats

Ride the Bumper Boats

Cool off at Adventure Park when you splash, bump and squirt other boaters!


Rolled Ice Cream          Panini Nut House

Get an Ice Cream!

Stroll through Downtown Visalia with an ice cream cone in hand from one of these fantastic locations:

Baskin Robbins

Panini Nut House

‘How We Roll’ Ice Cream (opening mid-July)


Go to the ‘Dive-In’ Movies

Saturday Nights @ Mt. Whitney High School

Swim from 6:30-8:30 PM

Movie starts at dusk

July 7- Wonder (PG)

July 14- Jumanji (PG-13)

July 21- Coco (PG)

Info: (559) 713-4365


Grab a ‘Cold One’ at our local craft brew pubs:


Barrelhouse Brewing

Kaweah Brewing Co.

Sequoia Brewing Co.

Visalia Brewing Co.


Pita Kabob Gastropub


Check out our restaurant guide for locations

Don’t forget to check out the Visalia Buzz or browse our website for more fantastic things to do!

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Limitless Travel: A guide for travelers with limited mobility


Its summer-time, and families and friends are hitting the road and heading to the National Parks to see our nation’s treasures. It’s good to know that people with all abilities can get out there and enjoy the parks too, just like our friend Travis did.


We invited Travis Norvell to visit Visalia for a special trip to Sequoia National Park. We met Travis at the Travel anThe two Sequoiasd Adventure Show  an awesome 2-day travel show open to the public that is held annually in San Diego, LA and the Bay Area and in other cities around the country. Attendees to these shows are avid travelers looking to find their next vacation destination, meet with destination representatives, and listen to guest speakers like Rick Steves, Samantha Brown and many others. Travelers wander the aisles meeting people from destinations all over the world like Asia, Europe, South America and all points across the USA, including Visalia-gateway to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Travis was there with his wife Shelly enjoying the exhibits and looking to plan his next big adventure. Travis has done a lot of great things in his life but seeing the giant sequoia trees was not one of them. And that was a problem.


You see, Travis’ middle name is Sequoia! Yes, he was named after a tree. Here’s why. When Travis’ mom (an earthy, self-described hippy who hadn’t decided on a name for her soon-to-be-born son) was pregnant with him, his grandparents would refer to her ‘bump’ as tree; as in ‘how’s Tree growing?’ However, when Travis was born he had many congenital birth defects and was quite small, not like a tree at all. Very upset, Travis’ mom said to her parents: ‘Here I promised you a tree, but all I got to give you is a twig!’ But his wise grandpa replied, ‘He’ll always be a giant sequoia to me.’ And that is how Travis got his middle name: Sequoia.

Once we heard his story we knew we had to bring him here so that he could see these giants for himself.  So we set to work creating an itinerary that would be perfect for a person with limited mobility.

We began by booking a room at the Visalia Marriott Hotel. This newly redesigned property has guest rooms and suites featuring plush bedding and 55-inch smart TVs. It also offers fully accessible rooms, which was just perfect for Travis.

Next we arranged for tickets on the seasonal (May to September) Sequoia Shuttle. Sequoia Shuttle, which picks up at most Visalia hotels, takes visitors from the gateway town of Visalia up into the Park and connects them to the free in-park shuttle. Sequoia Shuttle provides affordable, convenient access to Sequoia National Park, and has wheelchair accessibility on all shuttles. Once passengers arrive at the park, there are numerous trails and attractions that offer wheelchair accessibility.

A gift basket was waiting for Travis at the hotel along with a note that said to enjoy dinner on Main Street, a short, one-block walk from the hotel. With over 50 locally owned restaurants, boutiques, bars and art galleries, Visalia’s historic Downtown is the place to be. He took our suggestion and enjoyed the brief walk to Main Street that proved easy to navigate. Then he was back to the hotel to rest up for the next day’s trip to the sequoias.


Travis’ journey began when he was picked up at his hotel by the Sequoia Shuttle for the ride to the park. On the path to General Sherman Each 16-passenger shuttle is wheelchair accessible, features comfortable seats, luggage space, and an informative video during the trip. Once in the park, riders are dropped off at Giant Forest Museum which is a hub for the free, ticketless in-park shuttle that transports visitors to all the main sites. Travis got on the bus headed for the General Sherman Tree – the tree that people from all over the world come to see – and the reason for his visit.

We of course took the obligatory photos – friendly visitors offered to take the pictures for us – and had the chance to hear a ranger talk about the trees and the grove. This informal gathering took place right at the base of the Sherman tree amid the grove of giants. We wandered the paths, reading the educational signs, gaping at the trees’ enormity, carefully looking at the ‘slice’ of a sequoia and noticing the burn marks from 1,000 years ago and were amazed that these trees have stood for 2,000 years.

When hunger got the best of us, we headed to Lodgepole, for a bite to eat and a chance to look for some souvenirs. From there it was back to the Giant Forest Museum for a look at the exhibits and to learn more the park before catching the Shuttle back to his hotel in Visalia.


I don’t know what exactly Travis was thinking when he saw these giants for the first time but judging by the look on his face he was in awe! Was he thinking about the fact that these tree start life from a seed the size of an oatmeal flake then grow to be the largest living thing on earth? Was he thinking that against improbable odds these trees have weathered storms, droughts, fire, and humans to live to be thousands of years old? (The General Sherman is estimated to be 2,000 years old!) Perhaps his mom knew what she was doing when she named him Sequoia. Travis may have started life smaller than expected but he certainly has grown into an amazing man.



General Sherman Tree Trail (Giant Forest): This short trail leads a few hundred feet from an accessible parking area to the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on earth. The entire trail is paved with gentle inclines and limited cross slopes, and benches along the trail provide plenty of places to rest.

Big Trees Trail (Giant Forest): This level, ⅔-mile loop trail circles a meadow surrounded by giant sequoias. Trailside exhibits interpret the natural history of the grove. The portion of the trail from the Giant Forest Museum to the accessible parking area is packed soil with a slight incline and cross slope. The remaining loop portion is a paved and wooden boardwalk, and is nearly flat.

Sequoia Shuttle: The Sequoia Shuttle, operating all summer long, is the perfect way to get to the Sequoia National Park. The shuttle departs from various convenient locations throughout Visalia, Exeter, Three Rivers, and Lemon Cove, Ca. several times a day, seven days a week. Reservations are required and round-trip tickets are only $15, this includes unlimited shuttle service inside the park.

Visitors Centers:  All visitor centers and museums have paved, flat paths leading from parking areas to information desks, exhibits, bookstores, and restrooms

Wheelchairs may be borrowed at no cost at Lodgepole Visitor Center and Giant Forest Museum. They can be used anywhere in the parks but must be returned by the end of the day, before each visitor center closes. Ask at information desks, and be prepared to provide your address and phone number.


Summer is Finally Here!

Now that school is ending and kids are wild with the excitement of summer vacation what is going to fill all their free time?! Keep the kids busy and enjoy your summer too with these fantastic June events!

Tipper_ThumbsUp_120Visalia Rawhide’s mascot, Tipper has gone missing and we need your help to find him! This summer from June 18- July 7 search for Tipper in participating Downtown Visalia shops and win prizes! Do some shopping and let the kids search for Tipper. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Check out an evening of music at the Visalia Fox. GN RESIZEDThey’ve got a fantastic summer line-up with Jethero Tull’s 50th Anniversary Tour, an Acoustic Evening with LeAnn Rimes and so much more! Check them out at

23130828_1843821208978636_313866132127016445_nImagine U Children’s Museum has awesome summer camps coming up that you won’t want to miss. You’re kids will learn and have fun at these all day week long themed camps including: animals, stars, water, science and more! Check them out at

100_2652Finally, take a peek at for fantastic summer fun! Coming up are Movies in the Park & Dive-in Movies every Friday/Saturday starting June 15. Don’t miss out on family movie nights or on fantastic summer classes for everyone!

June 2018 Visalia Buzz

Welcome 2018 Rawhide Baseball Team!

2018 Year of the Cowbell

Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau would like to welcome this year’s Rawhide Baseball Team to our beautiful city! Here in Visalia there is always something to do; from farmers markets and festivals to arts and hikes, and of course attend Rawhide Baseball games!

We are so glad that you will be joining our Visalia community, and the Rawhide fans can’t wait for the coming season! Best of luck to the team, and let baseball season begin!!

If you are ever looking for local things to do, check us out on our website, give us a call at 559-334-0141 or email us at for some fantastic places to visit and events to attend.

General ShermanVisalia is the gateway city to Sequoia National Park, which is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains– the tallest mountain range in the contiguous United States. Also, the park is home to the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest tree! Many Visalia locals love to head up to the trees to take in the beauty of nature, right in our backyard! To plan your visit check out Don’t want to make the drive? Take the Sequoia Shuttle any day of the week Memorial Day through Labor Day. The shuttle stops at most Visalia area hotels.Family Farm Fresh_RESIZED

Farm to fork fresh cuisine and the foodie’s ultimate paradise, Visalia has great things to offer in the food industry! From local favorites to sweet treats, creative recipes and concoctions that will literally make your head spin, you’ll never find a destination more ready to dish it up. To really get a taste of Visalia, make sure you visit our locally owned downtown restaurants before or after a game to settle a rumbling tummy. For some great ideas check out the Farm To Fork Culinary Excellence Itinerary and the downtown restaurant guide below:

Families around the world are looking for fun and kid-friendly things to do that  entertain- and educate- the kids, whether local or traveling. While the obvious outdoor choice is a visit to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, we have a few more local suggestions.

And here is Bumper Boatsa great kid-friendly Itinerary just for you: Fun Things to do with Kids

Please browse our website for more information about where to stay, places to eat and more adventure. We are always updating our events calendar with new events and there is always something for everyone. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call.


Welcome to the New Year

As we have left 2017 behind and are working through these first few days of the new year we want to invite you to celebrate 2018 and Visit Visalia! We have amazing events lined up for the coming year and we don’t want you to miss out on any of them.

Every month we post a blog about the exciting happenings in Visalia for the month and here is none other than our first blog of 2018!sequoia_sept-167-2_RESIZED

  1. Fee Free Day at Sequoia National Park!– How cool is it that our national parks honor important historical figures and waive the entrance fee for a few days each year?!?! Martin Luther King Jr. was a the most visible spokesperson in the Civil Rights Movement and should be celebrated in a peaceful place. Celebrate the life he brought to our nation among the towering and peaceful Giant Sequoia Trees.    For more information visit:
  2. The Sequoia Symphony Orchestra Presents: The Planets–If you want to hear some amazing music, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to hear the The PLanetsSequoia Symphony Orchestra! This month the Symphony will be performing a beautiful concierto by Holst called “The Planets and Ravel.” For more information visit:
  3. Three Doors Down at the Visalia Fox– Three Doors Down will be joining us right here in Visalia this season! In 2014 the band sold out their show in Visalia and this year is expected to do the same! The band’s “Back Porch Tour” will feature some very special acoustic performances of their most popular songs and they are looking forward to playing in smaller, more intimate settings where they can really get to know their fans! For more information visit:

January Buzz 20183DD at Fox



If these events aren’t enough to get you packing, check out this flyer of annual events:

Annual Events 2018


New Year’s Eve in Visalia

We have a special treat for everyone this New Year’s Eve! From the Lamp Liter Inn’s “Black & White New Year’s Party” to “Family Fun Night” at Visalia’s Adventure Park the town is sure to be filled with celebration and cheer as the end of 2017 draws near.

          GI Forum New Years Eve     New Years Eve Party 2017

When we say we have something for everyone we really mean EVERYONE! There are options for families to celebrate together, for kids to celebrate with other kids, and for the adults to celebrate without the kids. So come on out and have a good time with us this New Year’s Eve!!!

Below are just a few of these great options:

  1. New Year’s Eve Dance
    • Dance the night away at the GI Forum’s New Year’s Eve Dance at the Visalia Convention Center! An event you won’t want to miss as the music plays, dancing ensues and the balloons drop at midnight.NYE Party at BarrelHouse
  2. Wyndham Visalia
    • Check out the Wyndham Visalia (tickets go fast so get yours now!) for an evening of music by August, a local favorite 10 piece band. There will be party hats, hors d’ovres and a midnight champagne toast!
  3. Black & White New Year’s Eve
    • Lamp Liter Inn is hosting a fantastic evening with DJ’s “DJ Vine” and “Sparkki Markki.” Dress in your favorite black or white outfit and head on over for a wonderful evening celebration.
  4. Family Fun Night
    • Visalia’s very own Adventure Park will be hosting a New Year’s Eve for the whole family! Go Karts, miniture golf, bumper boats, laser tag and so much more for only $15.

Don’t forget to check out


New Years Eve 2017 Special Buzz

Happy Holidays!

This holiday season Visalia won’t let you down. Every weekend is jam packed with things to do from ice skating to holiday shows and downtown open house shopping to holiday movies. We would love to have YOU join us this season!

Ice skating VisaliaVisalia Parks & Recreation Department is once again presenting “Ice Skate Visalia.” Located on Main St. in Garden Street Plaza, Visalia’s own ice rink is open for public skate and private parties. In the weeks before December 25, some of your favorite holiday movies will be projected near the rink so you can skate and watch at the same time! For more information visit:



Downtown Visalians are once again hosting their “Holiday Open House” event! Join in the fun with photos with Santa, Horse drawn carriage rides through charming Downtown Visalia, Holiday shopping at our local boutiques and wonderful downtown dining. All this and more within walking distance! For more information visit:

Click the link below for more events and holiday fun:

December Buzz 2017