This is the only event in Marysville that is actually worth the trip from Sacramento (or even from Grass Valley). Chinese immigrants settled here in large numbers during the Gold Rush, and built this temple to their water god Bok Kai. In honor of their god, they hold an annual festival, hoping for a good harvest. The highlight of the festival is a giant paper-mache dragon (over 100 feet long!), that parades down D Street to the Bok Kai Temple. It is carried by volunteers from Beale AFB, all active-duty Air Force members. I participated in 2002. It was a unique experience.
In recent years, all members of the original Chinese-American community have left. They went off to college, got an education, and obtained good jobs somewhere else. There are hardly any decent jobs here. Consequently, the old Bok Kai temple has fallen into disrepair.
But the Bok Kai Festival is still worth seeing. It's held in early spring, usually late February or early March.
This is a rather polluted man-made lake, but there are some redeeming aspects. A sidewalk and several benches line the perimeter and a small pedestrian bridge crosses to a grassy island and gazebo. Geese and their biological waste adorn the sidewalk as well. Try not to slip and fall or tick them off, as they may become bold enough to chase you.
There is also a automobile overpass on one end of the lake. If you were to rent a paddle boat, you'd see a collosal structure of birdnests that look like little adobes underneath the bridge.
Despite problems with poverty, decay, and related issues, downtown Marysville has a lot of potential because of its past size and importance. It's pretty big and has quite a few old buildings still.
The area has also picked up a bit, particularly along D St, with a number of business in an attractive, walkable, urban setting. However, nearby major streets like 5th Street and E St, are very heavy automobile thoroughfares, not pedestrian friendly, and with a number of boarded up buildings or unpleasant lots. Chief among the boarded-up places is the old Hotel Marysville (for picture, see my intro on Marysville), every window and the whole ground floor completely boarded up. Faceless and start, and imposing at five stories tall, in its current state, it is downright threatening. It has great potential and hopefully will be fixed up someday soon like the old hotel in downtown Stockton that was saved from decay (in fact, some work seems to be going on). Right now, though, it is an unfriendly blight and I get the chills just being in its presence.
Never been, but I get to hear the whine and squeel of the cars at night sometimes (even 3 miles away). If you're into racing you'll probably get a kick out the local speedway.
I did ride on the go carts right next to the speedway. It was a slightly tricky course and a lot of fun. Let the wife win, of course!
My motorcycle club (southern cruisers) went on an incredible all-day trip through the Sierras last summer. We rode up to Oroville and on to Quincy, Downiville, Nevada City, and then back home.
Down by the river the dirt bikes fly high. I like to stair at them when I drive over the bridge, except when I almost accidentally drive off the bridge. Looks like fun anyway.
Chinese religious festival during the lunar new year; tours of the local temple are available the third Sunday of each month.