Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Friends of Columbia and Columbia State Historic Park will present "Diggin's Tent Town 1852," their annual living history event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Sunday in Columbia.

Visitors can experience the events and environment of an 1850s mining camp that is re-created in detail depicted by more than 150 costumed volunteers, from the clothing, food and entertainment of the period to the powerful stories of the early miners as they struggled to "strike it rich."

Guests can meet the merchants, artisans and entertainers who have come to the diggin's to "mine the miners' pockets."

Attendees can interact and observe the lifestyles of the early miners as they prepare their meals, launder their clothing and care for gardens and livestock, and learn about their crafts, how their children played, their music and other forms or entertainment - including gambling.

Columbia State Historic Park is now designated as a National Historic Landmark District and has been preserved to tell the story of the towns which arose during the California Gold Rush to serve the needs of miners.

California State Parks has restored and continues to preserve more than 30 of the original brick buildings along the town's Main Street. Columbia State Historic Park annually hosts over 400,000 visitors and is a major tourist destination in Tuolumne County.

Its many historic-style stores and restaurants are run by over 20 concessionaires whose businesses, along with park staff and volunteers, help recreate the experience of the California Gold Rush for visitors from around the world.

Admission to Columbia's "Diggin's Tent Town 1852" is $5 per adult and $1 per child 12 and under. There is no charge for parking and admission to the park.

For more information, call Columbia Visitor Services at 588-9128 or visit