Things get jumpy in Calaveras

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat /

The 87th annual Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee opens its four-day run on Thursday.

This year, fair organizers are bringing back the rodeo for the first time in more than 10 years. There also will be daily drawings for $1,000 in cash - and $10,000 on Sunday.

In addition, the fair will have an assortment of farm, home and art displays, plus carnival rides, rock and country music and the Miss Calaveras Pageant at 8 p.m.Thursday.

That's not to mention numerous frog jumping competitions, which have put the fair on the map as a Northern California tourist destination. The jumping contests will culminate in the International Frog Jump Finals at 3 p.m. Sunday. Other Sunday events include the junior livestock auction at 9 a.m., with the Friends of the Fair $10,000 drawing and destruction derby at 5:30 p.m.

Winners of the fair's first "Cowboy Up: For Men Only Cooking Competition," will be announced Thursday. On Friday, a special 5K fun walk, "Rock it in Red," will be held for awareness of heart health, in partnership with Mark Twain Medical Center.

The walk will start at 10 a.m. at the front gate.

Participants will get a free T-shirt and chances to win health-friendly prizes like pedometers and healthy cookbooks, according to Isabel Moncada, special events coordinator. Participating youths who wear their school jerseys will get tickets for carnival rides.

The first "Cowboy Poetry" competition also will be held at 4 p.m. Friday. Entries are already closed.

The Calaveras Idol performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association will be back to thrill Calaveras County audiences for the first time in more than a decade.

The Rodeo Grand Entry will begin at 7 p.m., with competition starting at 7:30 p.m.

"Our community really wanted a rodeo, so we decided to bring the rodeo back," said Laurie Giannini, fair manager. "Rodeos and fairs just kind of fit together."

It was brought back by money raised by the Friends of the Fair in partnership with Sam L. Higgins Ranch after the loss of significant state funding.

This year's carnival will include new carousel and tractor ride for kids. The carnival opens at noon daily, with rides priced separately.

Concerts, which are included in fair entrance fees, will feature a Johnny Cash tribute by the James Garner Band at 7 p.m. Friday and Journey Unauthorized at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Also performing will be local musicians Dyemusica at 6 p.m. Friday and Debbie Patterson and Ryan Richelson at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Each day, "Miwuk Village" will feature American Indian demonstrations, which predate even the historic frog jumps. Numerous other competitions, booths and vendors will fill the minutes between organized events.

It all kicks off with a Kiddie Parade through downtown Angels Camp at 10 a.m. Thursday. Children 12 and younger get into the fair for free Thursday.

Gates open at 8 p.m. daily except 7 a.m. Sunday. Gates close at 11 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and midnight Friday and Saturday.

This year's theme is "Fun For the Whole Herd!"

Ticket information is available online at www.frogtown.org or by calling 736-2561.

The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee is one of the longest running events in California. It earliest roots date back to 1893, held that year in Copperopolis. The fair eventually found a permanent home outside of Angels Camp.

The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, inspired by the famous Mark Twain tale "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," has grown to an event with more than 35,000 attendees.

It is estimated that the fair generates approximately $25 million in revenues through hotels, restaurants, retail, payroll and other related revenues through out the community.

11918770
The Union Democrat
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