Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Native Sons of the Golden West, Columbia Parlor 258, will sponsor a parade Saturday to kick off the Admission Day Celebration in Columbia State Historic Park.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m.on Columbia Street and continue along Fulton and Main streets. Everyone is welcome to walk, ride or march in the parade and decorate using the theme, "California, the Grizzly Bear."

A souvenir ribbon will be awarded to each entry.

There is no charge to participate. Entry forms are available at or at the Native Sons Museum in Columbia. Forms also will be available Saturday beginning at 9 the staging location on the corner of Jackson and Columbia streets.Call 588-8475 for more information on the parade.

Activities will begin at 10:45 a.m. with a flag raising and rifle salute by the Columbia Militia. Following the parade, costumed volunteers throughout town will give demonstrations and talks on various park buildings.

A barbecue lunch sponsored by Native Sons of the Golden West will be available for purchase from noon to 3 p.m. Antique firefighting equipment also will be on display near the fire station on Main Street beginning at noon. Visitors may enjoy an 1850s "Fashion Show" at 12:30 p.m. at Eagle Cotage and music by fiddler Dave Rainwater from 1 to 3 p.m. in the gazebo.

Free town tours are scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m., a free tour of the historic cemetery will be given by historian Sherrin Grout.

In 1849, Californians sought statehood. After heated debate in the U.S. Congress arising out of the slavery issue, California entered the union as a free state on Sept. 9, 1850.

"The Golden State's rich history has since been shaped by people of every ethnic background who traveled here seeking economic, social and educational opportunity, and a life of quality and breathtaking beauty," said park representative Philip McDonald.

Columbia State Historic Park is 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 over 30 of the original brick buildings along the town's Main Street.

Columbia State Historic Park hosts thousands of visitors each year, including more than 10,000 fourth graders studying California history. For more information on activities in the park, call 588-9128.