• What: Murphys Homecoming.

• When: Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Where: Murphys Community Park.

• Admission: Free (cost for duck race fundraiser).

• Information: visitmurphys.com, (209) 728-8183.

A revamped Murphys Homecoming will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at Murphys Community Park. The 68th annual event aims to include the entire family.

“We want this to be a fun-filled family oriented event that is tailored for the wonderful people who live in the Murphys area and their friends,” said Murphys Community Club President Sue Friedman. “We are encouraging people, who are so inclined, to come in vintage attire suitable for this historic Gold Rush town.”

The day will kick off at 8 a.m. with a run/walk organized by Brian Klassen, who has staged many runs. Named the Firecracker Five, it will be five miles in length and is patterned after a foot race that was held in the area in the 1970s and 80s. Participants will gather at the park and traverse a course that goes down Six Mile Road, past Ironstone Vineyards, returning to the park. Admission “cost” is a non-perishable food item that will be donated to the Murphys Pantry. Those wishing to register should call Klassen at (209) 607-5073.

The morning activities will include a craft table for kids, fishing games, face painting and vintage photo opportunities.

Another morning highlight will be the Murphys Cakewalk. A popular game in the 19th century, a cakewalk is like musical chairs with baked goods as prizes.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., rousing music will fill the air provided by Mic Harper and the Calaveras Community Band. Tracing its heritage to the Gold Rush days, the band plays a range of music from Sousa marches to classical music.

Throughout the morning and well into the afternoon, Helen’s Hut will be the place to go to purchase barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs, ice cream and a variety of drinks, including beer and wine. As is the case with most of the day’s activities, proceeds will go to the Murphys Community Club — the group that maintains the heavily-used park.

A long-standing Homecoming tradition, the Old Timers Luncheon, sponsored by the Native Daughters of the Golden West, will be provided at noon for any Murphys-area resident who has lived in the Murphys, Vallecito and Douglas Flat area for at least 10 years and is at least 70 years old. Reservations are necessary.

In the afternoon, the 23rd annual Murphys Duck Races will be held in Murphys Creek to the benefit the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program. The Duckling Race at 1 p.m. costs $3, while the Quacker Race at 1:30 p.m. costs $5. At 2 p.m. will be the Golden Goose Race for $10. Prizes will be awarded at each race. For more information, visit calaverasmentoringfoundation.org.

During the afternoon there will be a variety of games for all ages including sack, three-legged and wheelbarrow races, a water balloon toss, and tug of war.

The day’s activities will conclude with the first Homecoming Bocce Ball Tournament starting at 6 p.m. Organized by Jan Schulz and his “Bocce Buddies,” the tournament will feature 20 two-person teams that will descend on the recently created bocce courts to vie for prizes. Schulz can be reached at (209) 728-3753.

There is no admission charge for Murphys Homecoming and ample free parking is available nearby. Donations to help maintain the park are accepted.

Jail or Bail

A cross section of Murphys “celebrities” will be carted off to jail and will have to rely on the generosity of others to gain their release as part of Murphys Homecoming.

It has been a long time since the Gold Rush-era Pokey — the historic building adjacent to the Community Park — has had an occupant. This will all change when the 68th homecoming event is staged.

Starting at 11 a.m., each half hour an officer of the law will “arrest” two local notables, escort them to the pokey and lock them in. Each “prisoner” will have 30 minutes to raise $200 bail from friends, neighbors and other sympathetic folks to secure their release. All money raised will go to maintaining and improving the park.

The list of Homecoming “criminals” runs the gamut of public officials, educators, business owners, and other community leaders.

Calaveras County Supervisor Michael Oliveira as well as school superintendents Mike Chimente and Kathy Northington will take their turn. Gold Electric’s Jim Heryford, Sierra Hills Market’s Mike Croshaw, Murphys Hotel owner Brian Goss, realtor Leanne Smith, and Sierra Nevada Adventure Company’s Suki Tuthill will all serve time.

Additionally, Murphys Business Association president Steve Gonzales, Murphys Area Community Tennis Association president David Bowman and Friedman will be jailed.

Jim Bailey will serve a dual role as emcee and participant. Jenny Baxter will be at the pokey to collect money and to make sure nobody escapes.

“This is the first time we have tried this, so we can’t be certain how it will all work out,” Friedman said. “We are very pleased that these civic-minded women and men are willing to take part on behalf of the park. I am sure there will be a number of surprises, but we expect it to be a lot of fun.”

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