The 2019 49er Festival, Chili & Salsa Cook-off, a centerpiece event for the tourism-reliant Highway 120 town of Groveland, is set to get loud early Saturday with a staged gunfight, an aircraft flyover, and the Main Street Parade.

It’s an all-day event, scheduled 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and people are expected to start lining up along Main Street, the same as Highway 120 as it passes through downtown Groveland, by 8 a.m. or earlier for the 9 a.m. parade start, said Jane Collier, assistant manager for the Iron Door Saloon and Grill.

Early risers can start with a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast served by Little House in Groveland Community Hall.

Award categories in this year’s parade include horseback, walkers, motor vehicles and floats. Kym and Paul Purifoy are grand marshals for this year’s parade. At previous 49er Festivals, Paul Purifoy has portrayed the local Old 49er, helped start the parade with staged gunfights, announced the parade, and initiated the flyover tradition. The Purifoys will be riding in their Ferrari-driven 444-horsepower Maserati.

Collier said business owners, residents and boosters are excited for what’s billed as the 30th annual 49er Festival.

“It brings business to Groveland every year,” Collier said Friday in a phone interview. “It’s fun for everyone.”

Organizers are urging people to come in Wild West costumes and take part in the Hot Chili Charlie beard contest. Some people are going to watch from the Groveland Hotel balcony with house-made whiskey sours or mimosas from Provisions Taproom. The Chili & Salsa Cook-off is at Mary Laveroni Park, with booths, vendors, an auction, raffle, contests and live music. There’s also a poker run hosted by downtown merchants, archery, and a chainsaw carve-off.

This year’s 49er Festival comes a year after organizers hustled to stage the event in September 2018. Storm damage from the March 2018 megastorm wiped out parts of Mary Laveroni Park, and forced cancellation of the 17th Annual Where the Hell is Groveland Car Show that was scheduled in June 2018. The 17th edition of the car show was successfully staged in June this year. Organizers considered cancelling last year’s 49er Festival but staged it with help from Groveland Rotary Club fundraisers and volunteers.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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