4 Things to Do in Butte County in September
The students are back in school, the promise of fall looms, and the dog days of summer are behind us—welcome, September! The unofficial start of autumn in Butte County is a reinvigorating time in the county, chock full of local activities for residents and visitors alike.
Whether it’s settling in for some wings and a beer for the start the fall sports seasons or bringing the family along for community events, September provides a bounty of fun, engaging activities.
Watch the Races at the Silver Dollar Speedway
September 2021 features two opportunities to catch great races at the Silver Dollar Speedway.
The first is the The Louie Vermeil Classic. Traditionally held at the Calistoga Speedway, this year, its 13th annual event will take place on Labor Day Weekend at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds for two days of fun events. Racing enthusiasts will love watching the popular USAC/CRA non-wing 410 sprint cars battle it out on the Silver Dollar Speedway's famed high-banked quarter-mile clay oval track on Saturday and Sunday nights. There will also be wine and beer tastings, along with live music, during the day for those looking for a different kind of fun and excitement.
Just a few days later, racing fans can return to the Speedway for the Gold Cup Race of Champions, now in its 67th edition. Kicking off Wednesday, Sept. 8 with a two-day event called the Platinum Cup (winged 360 sprint cars), the multi-day racing event also includes a Christmas-themed Black Light party, a golf tournament, a chili feed, and a fan appreciation BBQ, on top of the high-competition racing taking place all week.
Catch a Game
Up in the pines, Paradise High School’s football program is perennially a powerhouse in the Northern Section. Games at Om Wraith Field are a raucous, energetic blast—Paradise residents turn out in droves whether they have kids on the team or not, and the field is nestled in the pines, giving a feeling to visiting teams that they are stepping into the Bobcats’ well-guarded lair.
In Oroville, the jewel remains Harrison Stadium, a modern all-purpose stadium that plays home to Oroville, Las Plumas, and, on occasion, even Butte College, a junior college team of national renown.
Of course, if you’re more of an armchair quarterback, there are numerous watering holes with big screens all across the county. If the comfort of a chain restaurant is your speed, Chico’s got Buffalo Wild Wings, but it’s also well worth checking out some more local flavor. Downtown Chico’s Madison Bear Garden remains a popular choice for its many screens (including outdoor patio TVs) and tasty burgers. If you’d rather watch the game over some billiards, The Keg Room in Oroville is a more cozy bar setting with a short menu of tasty bites and pool tables.
Oroville Salmon Festival
Another annual event paying homage to local nature, the Salmon Festival is a celebration of the migration season that brings the fish back to the Feather River in advance of the spring spawn. Including a street fair with arts, crafts, and dancing, complete with various salmon dishes, a 3k Salmon Dash, and viewing of the fish hatchery, this is an outstanding family event, especially for those with nature-loving kids. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Sept. 25.
You can also enjoy a guided float down the Feather River, hosted by the Forebay Aquatic Center. The float is an 8-person raft, guided by a DWR biologist, and starts at the hatchery and ends at Riverbend Park. Visit the Forebay Aquatic Center's website for more information to and reserve your spot!
Watch the Seasons Change
Because Butte County experiences warmer temperatures later in the season, it can often feel like fall sneaks up on us, but make no mistake—it’s one of the area’s more beautiful times of the year, and if you start to notice, there are already a few crunchy leaves on the ground!
With a rich abundance of tree varieties in the area (especially in Chico, “the City of Trees”), Butte County is spoiled for some breathtaking views as foliage starts to turn colors. Later in September, when the oaks and sycamores begin to turn, an explosion of yellows, oranges and deep reds can be seen; a drive down the Esplanade in Chico is probably the most well-known local scene for tree-gazing.
Orchard country, however, is also beautiful in the fall. In Durham, the bursting pinks and greens of spring that preceded harvest season will soon give way to a brief but gorgeous yellow-and-orange rush of lined trees. Whether you’re cruising the back roads of Butte County or decide to take your bike out for a ride specifically to catch these views, you might consider bringing a camera along.