By LIZ HARRELSON
In a town often quiet after dark, about 150 people gathered at Rocca Park last night to celebrate Jamestown's 155th birthday and to eat free cake.
The sounds of gunshots, music and the clip-clopping of horses' hooves filled the air, adding long-anticipated life to this otherwise peaceful town.
Stores stayed open late. Residents sat in lawn chairs and picnicked in the park. People dressed in period costumes ambled amongst plain-clothed visitors.
All marked the August 1848 founding of Jamestown by Col. George James, a San Francisco lawyer who decided to try his luck in the Mother Lode.
One boy, arriving late, tugged his mother's arm in an attempt to have her hurry across the street toward the happenings.
"We just moved here, and my son was really excited to come down here and get a little bit of history," said Bethany McBeth, 34, of Sonora.
"And we heard there'd be cake."
This event is one of three planned to bring more night life to the town.
"Jamestown just needs a little more activity ... needs to revitalize itself and get the locals and residents together," said Norbert Mede, 37, owner of the Jamestown Hotel. Mede helped plan last night's event and supplied the birthday cake.
McBeth's son, Ozzie, 8, said he had visited Jamestown before and liked how old it looked. This old town, he said, sparked his interest in learning more about the area's history.
He was not disappointed.
Included in the evening events were the telling of historic tales, a wild west reenactment complete with a shootout, walking and horse-drawn carriage tours, live music by a symphony and a trio of Scottish musicians.
After a quick "Happy Birthday" was sung, a full sheet of chocolate cake covered with vanilla icing was quickly consumed.
"It's good," Ozzie said between mouthfuls.