Angels Camp is preparing for a street fair for the ages Sept. 28 and 29 to conclude a year-long celebration of the centennial anniversary of the city’s incorporation.
“The street fair may well be the largest event held on Main Street since the frog jumps were held there in the 1920s and ’30s,” said event promoter Jay Shotwell.
Angels Camp Business Association President and Centennial Celebration Committee Chairman Tey Cross said organizers are aiming for more than 5,000 attendees.
“It’s going to be off the hook,” Cross said. “We wanted to really just come out with a big bang for the city to celebrate the occasion.”
Frog jumping, in the Calaveras Visitors Center parking lot at Main Street and Hardscrabble Lane, will of course be a part of the event but it is shaping up to much bigger than that.
Highway 49 as it traverses South Main Street from Utica Park to Angels Creek will be closed for five hours that Saturday, the second day of the event, the first opportunity the city has had to do so in more than 50 years.
The Highway 4 bypass and Vallecito Road will serve as an alternate route with Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and city government combining their efforts to permit the rare event.
That opens things up to allow multiple music stages, Western gunfights, an old-fashioned soap box derby, remote control car races, pony rides and numerous vendors.
“We’ve kind of run the gamut of musical genres that are family-friendly,” Cross said.
That will start with a kickoff concert from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, at Utica Park, featuring headliner Dan Crary and Thunderation and opening act acoustic trio Faux Renwah.
On Saturday, the main stage across from the Calaveras Visitors Center will host Big Earl and the Cryin’ Shame and reggae rockers. On the south stage in front of the Utica Hotel will be San Francisco DJ’s and Teddy Randazzo Jr.
On the north stage in Utica Park, the Fabulous Off Brothers will be performing live classic rock throughout the day. Plan B will perform in the “Wine and Cigar Lounge” in the rear parking lot of Sue’s Cafe and Crusco’s and Sidewinder restaurants.
The Visitors Center lot also will feature old-style Western shootouts staged by Sierra Nevada Guns for Hire of Jackson.
The soap box derby will be run by the Northern California chapter of All American Soapbox Derby at the north end of Utica Park.
“I think the greatest opportunity is just bringing the community together for an event where the downtown and its existing businesses ... can be featured in this way,” said City Administrator Michael McHatten. “Visitors will see a little more of what the city is really about.”
The Angels Camp Business Association is contributing about $20,000 to put on the event, Cross said. The city designated $4,000 for the celebration in last year’s budget.
The street fair is the third major event in the celebration, following a May 5 antique car show and an old-fashioned style July 4 celebration at Utica Park that drew about 900 attendees.
Angels Camp is gearing up for three more years of anniversary celebrations: 2013 — the 165th anniversary of its founding; 2014 — the 165th anniversary of the 1849 Gold Rush; and 2015 — the 150th anniversary of Mark Twain’s visit to Angels Camp.