Clovis and the Central Valley have become one of California’s most popular inland destinations, thanks to the area’s wonderful weather and scenery and the creativity and hard work of its citizens.
Tourists and locals, alike, love Clovis for its exciting cultural, historic and sporting events.
Old Town Clovis
The meticulous renovation of 1892 Clovis to the current day includes cobblestone intersections, old-fashioned street lamps and picturesque store fronts. Old Town Clovis boasts a small town western atmosphere with the richness of the past and today’s important amenities like eclectic shopping, beautifully-maintained streets, public art, historic buildings, fine dining, comfortable cafes, boutiques, gift shops and antique stores.
BIG Hat Days
The Table Mountain Casino BIG Hat Days, a Clovis Chamber event, is held each April. It is the largest two-day celebration in Central California and is second only to the Big Fresno Fair in attendance. Over 150,000 visitors travel to Old Town Clovis to enjoy the free festival that covers over 15 blocks.
Thousands of vendors from across the country vie for the 400 craft and commercial business booths, knowing they will do quite well with the Clovis crowds. In addition, there are over 40 food booths in the Bullard Food Court, sating every kind of appetite, a Michelob Ultra Beer Garden, live local bands and a carnival for the little ones.
Started over 75 years ago as part of the rodeo celebration, BIG Hat Days has become a major festival. It not only provides safe family fun for visitors, but it also produces over $9 million for the city coffers as its huge crowds visit other city establishments.
In 2018, a Farm-to-Table Dinner was added to April’s list of activities and it was so popular that it will be continued. The event featured a “King’s Table” down the center of Pollasky Ave-nue with flowers, lights and music and several of the best Old Town restaurants were showcased, presenting a five-course meal, as well as a signature cocktail and unique wine and beer pairings.
Presented by The Business Organization of Old Town Clovis, the Farm to Table Dinner benefits the Heart of the Horse Therapy Ranch.
Later in April, Clovis starts looking like an old-fashioned Western town as cowboys and animals start arriving for the annual Clovis Rodeo. Held on the last full weekend in April, it is California’s second-oldest rodeo, begun in 1914.
The event, which supports local charities, includes art shows, roping contests, the crowning of the rodeo queen, as well as steer wrestling, bull riding, bulldogging, barrel racing and mutton busting (by children from ages 5 to 8).
The Old Town Farmers Market, hosted by the Business Organization of Old Town, B.O.O.T., is a valley favorite. On Friday nights from May through September, five blocks of Old Town are filled with delicious farm-fresh produce and food vendors. There is live music every week, more than 30 vendors nightly and local artists in the ArtHop section. The North American Pole Vault Championships are held right in the middle of the street in July and you can’t miss the Peach Party, also in July, as well as the Pistachio Party, which ends the season. A year-round market also takes place every Saturday morning with growers and food vendors.
Clovis Night Out
The ninth annual Clovis Night Out will be held in September, featuring local vendors, emergency and government vehicle displays, free bounce houses, food booths, live music and more, followed by a fireworks show. As usual, it will be held at Sierra Meadows Park, on the corner of Sierra and Temperance.
ClovisFest & Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly
October means autumn leaves, football and the Table Mountain Casino ClovisFest and the Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly, a Clovis Chamber event.
The days start out with the launch of dozens of hot air balloons at the Rodeo Grounds, a selection of food and coffee and you can get close to the inflating balloons.
They then cross the street to enjoy ClovisFest where over 250 craft and food booths fill 14 blocks offering great merchandise and a wide variety of foods to eat. The carnival will entertain the little ones who can get fancy balloon animals on Fourth Street and goodies in the Kids Zone.
The International Village at ClovisFest brings the community entertainment, sponsored by the Fresno/Clovis ’ Convention & Visitors Bureau,
throughout the day with live performances and cultural booths. Performers from different cultures and heritages showcase their dances and musical instruments on a large outdoor stage. Organizations set up booths for the community to learn about their culture. Children can participate in the Passport program and visit each booth to receive a stamp and maybe win a raffle prize.
The National Parks
Yosemite National Park, which is located approximately 90 minutes away from Clovis is best known for its waterfalls. But its nearly 1,200 square miles also includes ancient giant sequoias, deep valleys, majestic meadows and some of the best scenery in the world. It offers several lodges, campgrounds, snack bars and restaurants within the park.
Kings Canyon National Park (which includes plentiful camping facilities lodges, restaurants and stables) and Sequoia National Park (featuring campgrounds, a few lodges, a snack bar and a store) are located much closer to Clovis and are adjacent to each other in the central part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
This is the place to ski and snowboard during the winter and, during the summer, to enjoy cooler temperatures than in the valley. You can bicycle, play disc golf and attack the Vertical Challenge Rock Wall at this 7,000-foot-high mountain resort during the warm months. The Inn at China Peak offers great lodging and a popular restaurant.
The casinos in Clovis and the surrounding area provide a fun way for adult visitors to spend time. There are four close by including Table Mountain, Chukchansi, the Clovis 500 Club and Club One.
In addition to large, nationally recognized events, Clovis also presents many smaller, community events like the Old Town Wine Walks and Craft Beer Crawls, which take place in both spring and fall, the Antiques & Collectibles Show and Glorious Junk Days, the Annual Old Town Car Show and the Spring and Fall Flea Market days.
The holiday shopping season is kicked off with “One Enchanted Evening” in November and horse-drawn carriage rides through Old Town start the weekend after Thanksgiving and run through Christmas.
The highlight of the Christmas season, however, is the Children’s Electric Light Parade presented by the Old Town Kiwanis Club. Over 100 brightly-lit floats and marching groups parade down Pollasky Avenue, followed by Santa Claus in his big, white sled.