Angels Camp celebrates 100th anniversary

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The main event in the historic Gold Rush town of Angels Camp's year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary as an incorporated city is set for Saturday when a street fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will close Main Street for the first time in over 50 years.

"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 Jay Shotwell, one of the organizers.

The fair will include Western gunfight re-enactments, a frog jump, an old-fashioned soap box derby, pony rides, vendors of all descriptions, street performers, food and drink concessions, and a variety of music stretched from the historic downtown to Utica Park.

The weekend celebration will start Friday with a kickoff concert of historic American music in Utica Park from 6 to 9 p.m., starting with the acoustic trio Faux Renwah, specializing in old-time music with an original twist.

The headliner for the evening will be Dan Crary, a master of the guitar, and his band, Thunderation.

A variety of local musical talent will also entertain on Saturday on four stages located throughout the historic downtown.

On the main stage across from the Calaveras Visitors Center, Big Earl and the Cryin' Shame will play every musical style from jazz and blues to rockabilly and rap.

Big Earl will be followed by local band Dyemusica and their unique blend of reggae rock.

On the south stage in front of the Utica Hotel will be San Francisco DJs and Teddy Randazzo Jr.

On the north stage in Utica Park, the Fabulous Off Brothers will perform live classic rock throughout the day.

Just off Main Street, in the area dubbed "The Wine and Cigar Lounge" - the parking lot behind Sue's Café, Crusco's Italian Ristorante and Sidewinder's restaurant - local band Plan B will perform, while local wineries will pour a selection of wines, restaurants will serve from their back doors and professional cigar rollers will demonstrate the cigar-rolling process.

The activities in this area will continue until 4 p.m.

The street fair will stretch from Utica Park south to Angels Creek, where Highway 49 meets to former turnoff to Highway 4.

Special shuttles will run along Main Street between the event and parking lots at Bret Harte High School and the Calaveras County Fairgrounds.

The Calaveras Visitors Center parking lot will be the site for the centennial frog jump arena as well as the old-style Western shootouts staged by Sierra Nevada Guns for Hire from the Jackson area.

Next door, a beer garden will fill the side street of Hardscrabble Lane.

At the north end of Utica Park will be an old-fashioned soap box derby, run by the Northern California chapter of All American Soapbox Derby Inc.

Utica Park will also provide a myriad of family activities including pony rides, face-painting, arts and craft, and beer, wine and food vendors.

The historic Gold Rush town of Angels Camp was founded in 1848 by Henry Angels, who set up a trading post to serve as a base camp for the crowds of gold miners who swarmed the area during the Gold Rush.

In 1912, town residents, including women voting for the first time, voted to incorporate as a city in order to improve the roads, water supply, sanitation and other services.

Its three-mile long Main Street is a busy section of the north-south Highway 49 and for many years could only be closed for an hour at a time to accommodate local parades. The new Highway 4 Bypass now provides an alternate route for north-south traffic.

Angels Camp was made world-famous by author Mark Twain in his tale "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," which was set at the bar of the old Angels Hotel.

Today, Angels Camp is a base camp for outdoor activities and mountain sports with its proximity to the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, as well as its many nearby golf courses, caverns, lakes, trails, camping areas, wineries, lodging and restaurant offerings.

The 2012 Centennial Celebrations are being organized by the Angels Camp Commemorative Committee of the Angels Camp Business Association with the support of the City of Angels government and various sponsors.

Angels Camp is busy planning three more years of celebrations:

• 2013 - The 165th anniversary of its founding.

• 2014 - The 165th anniversary of the 1849 Gold Rush.

• 2015 - The 150th anniversary of Mark Twain's visit to Angels Camp.

For more information, call Jay Shotwell at 408-666-9200, Shelby French at 303-7637 or the Angels Camp Business Association at 736-1333.

11880700
The Union Democrat
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