Fairs and Festivals

Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee

Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee

Larry the Cable Guy - Frog Jump

Larry the Cable Guy at the Calaveras Frog Jump

209-736-2561
101 Frogtown Road
Angels Camp, CA
frogtown.org

You don’t want to miss this fun and historic event that highlights Calaveras County’s rich history. Enjoy the Frog Jump International Competition, carnival rides, livestock, Destruction Derby, entertainment and much more!

Related links: Frogtown RV park | The celebrated jumping frog of calaveras county | Barrel of Monkeez

Blogs featuring the Calaveras County Fairgrounds: Taste your way through Calaveras | Frog jump fun: Top 5 don’t-miss activities | The ultimate vacation: Rope, Ride, Ribbit | Spring: Unwind, indulge… or both | National Frog Month Heralds Calaveras Frog Jump

Videos featuring Frogtown: Unusual Tales of the Sierra Nevada Videos featuring Calaveras Frog Jump: Kyle looks for frogs

Innovations in Tourism Event WinnerThe Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee received the BEST EVENT award in the 2014 Calaveras Visitors Bureau Innovations in Tourism Awards for annually bringing in over 45,000 visitors for frog jump, rodeo, demolition derby, the new outhouse race, etc.

 
Best Event Calaveras County FairThe Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee received the BEST EVENT award in the 2015 Calaveras Visitors Bureau Innovations in Tourism Awards for bringing in new events like the Back Country Horsemen, and continually enhancing Fair & Frog Jump.

Calaveras Grape Stomp

209-754-0127
Murphys Community Park
calaveraswines.org

Every year on the first Saturday in October you will find a crowd gathered to watch and take part in the Annual Grape Stomp. The event celebrates harvest and the rich wine industry of Calaveras County. Come and stomp a few pounds of grapes or simply be a spectator at this fun and crazy event! Along with the event, the Gold Rush Street Faire takes place with over a hundred vendors for you to peruse.

Celebrating 30 Years of the World Record Frog Jump

The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee is coming right up, May 19-22 at Frogtown in Angels Camp. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Rosie the Ribiter’s record setting frog jump of 21 feet, 5 and ¾ inches. We’ll be celebrating her World Record on Kid’s Day, May 19, when frog jumping is free for kids 12 and under (click here for Fair schedule and tickets). Read on to learn about some of our famous local frog jockeys and find out how you too can become part of the Frog Jump legend.

Portrait of Kitchells

L-R: Jon, Laura and Joe Kitchell have been frog jockeys for over three decades. | Jason B Smith

It was 1979, a hot day at the Fair, and it was time to grab a cold drink and catch a little bit of the famous frog jumping competition. Sitting in the audience that day, Angels Camp residents Jon and Laura Kitchell, along with their friend Mike Nash, realized there were no locals competing in the event. They decided the hometown needed some representation, so the following year they went out and caught a handful of bullfrogs – and their team has been competing ever since. Only now it has grown to include younger generations, and the Kitchell name is synonymous around the frog jump stage as the family dynasty to beat.

Rosie the Ribiter

Rosie the Ribiter’s brass plaque on the Frog Hop of Fame

They still don’t hold the record for the longest jump, however – that belongs to Lee Giudici and his frog Rosie the Ribiter, who set the bar at 21 feet 5 and ¾ inches back in 1986. You can find the brass plaque commemorating her historic win along the Frog Hop of Fame, Main Street, Angels Camp.

As we head into May, the waters are warming, frogs are busy feeding and our local frog jockeys are gearing up for the 2016 Frog Jumping Competition. The week before the Fair, they’ll head out under cover of darkness to some of their secret spots with nets and headlamps to catch this year’s group of bullfrog contenders. By the time the week is out, many of the critters will have been returned to the wild, while the most promising amphibian athletes will have their turn on the main stage to make the jump that has become legend. Even though every frog and their jockey are on the stage as individual competitors, the Kitchells are part of a multi-family team for whom this has become annual tradition. “It’s all about the camaraderie and just having fun,” says Jon.

 

California Bullfrog ready for Frog Jump

California Bullfrog ready for Frog Jump

Novice Frog Jumpers Take Note

 

This year is your chance to be part of the fun too! The Fair’s Jump Start! program encourages new participants to try their luck at frog jumping. It provides everything your friends, family, coworkers or organization need to compete. Maybe you could challenge Rosie’s World Record!

“We developed Jump Start! because folks watching in the stands have long asked how they can get involved. This program makes it easy. And, we hope it captures the imagination of a new wave of frog jockeys who become just as enthusiastic as our veteran competitors,” says program coordinator Bob Lema.

For a fee of $60 each team receives six frog competitors and can include two to six novice jumpers who receive instructions and coaching from past winners of the iconic event. Jump Start! teams rotate through the preliminary rounds of the competition alongside seasoned frog jockeys – some who’ve been doing it for over 50 years.

The 50 frogs tallying the longest leaps during the four-day event advance to the Grand Finals on Sunday afternoon. Last year, frog jockeys from three Jump Start! teams made it to the Grand Finals, proving frog jockeys in training have as good a chance of victory as any seasoned frog team member.

 

Joe Kitchell going for the win at a past Frog Jump | File Photo

Joe Kitchell going for the win at a past Frog Jump | File Photo

 

Jump Start Team Basics

 

  • Complete an entry form at the Entry Booth adjacent to the Main Stage. Designate a Team Captain (age 21 and above) and the frog jockeys who will actually jump the frogs. Teams may have from two to six members.
  • Six frogs are provided to each team, as well as a frog box to hold them. You will also name your six frogs so we can record their jumps individually, just like every other team.
  • Each team receives an orientation on frog handling and jumping. Our primary concern is always the welfare of the frogs.
  • Jump Start! teams follow the same rules as the other teams for timing, frog placement and team behavior on the Main Stage.
  • Any frogs qualifying for the Grand Finals from Jump Start! teams will be identified and held over for the Grand Finals, providing the team commits to return for the final competition on Sunday afternoon.
  • The number of Jump Start! teams per day will be set by the availability of the frogs.
  • Designated representatives of the Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee can deny a team jumping for the team’s personal behavior and/or treatment of the frogs.
  • Frog Jumping is a very fluid experience. Weather conditions and other factors may affect the staging of the event. All teams must follow the rules in jumping their frogs.

Sign up early to take advantage of coaching available prior to the Frog Jump. For more information, contact the Fairgrounds at 209-736-2561 or email info@frogtown.org. Contact Jump Start! Coordinator Bob Lema at robert.lema@gmail.com.

Here’s a short video about the Kitchells and the Frog Jump legacy –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNJhjiOUpAE

 

Frog Van

Keep an eye out for the Frogmobile, hitting the road during May | File Photo

 

Famous Frogs Hit the Road This Month!

 

The Frogmobile and its entourage of frogs and their handlers will go on tour to local schools in the coming weeks and wind up at the state capitol on May 18 for a friendly frog jumping competition among state legislators and elected officials.  The capitol event is sponsored by Senator Tom Berryhill, who represents District 14, and the winner will advance to the Main Stage finals at Frogtown on May 22.  The Frogmobile is available to rent – so you can have your own frog jumping contest at your own event! Just about the only time it’s not available is during our own Jumping Frog Jubilee. You can get full details on renting the Frogmobile from the www.frogtown.org website. Meanwhile, here’s a list of where it will be stopping in Calaveras County.

Michelson Elementary: April 29, 1:00pm
Mountain Oaks School: May 9, 11:30am
Calaveras Government Center: May 10, 11:30am
Copperopolis Elementary: May 11, 9:30am
Christian Family Learning Center: May 11, 2:00pm
San Andreas Elementary: May 13, 8:00am
West Point Elementary: May 13, 10:30am
State Capitol: May 22

See you at the Fair!

Frog Jump 2015 – This Year’s Entertainment Line-up

May is in the air and it’s time to get to the Fair!   There is still one week left to enter our Ultimate Frog Jump and Fair Family Getaway for 4. This year the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee is celebrating 150 years since the publication of Mark Twain’s famous story about the Calaveras jumping frog!

In addition to all the great classic attractions like Rodeo and Demolition Derby, every year the Fair brings lots of new and exciting entertainment options. Here’s what is on deck for the big weekend, May 14-17.  Visit the Fair’s website for full event details and schedule.

Musical Acts at the Calaveras County Fair

One of the Fair’s highlights is always the lineup of headline musical talent, concerts are included with the price of Fair admission.

Asleep at the Wheel

Asleep at the Wheel

Asleep at the Wheel – Friday May 15. 8:00pm, Main Stage. Head to the main stage for this nine-time Grammy award winning band, known for their spectacular performances and fun western swing style.

Fleetwood Mask – Friday May15, 8:00pm, Lawn Stage. Considered to be the best Fleetwood Mac tribute bands going, Fleetwood Mask gets the personal endorsement of Mick Fleetwood for the passion and style they bring to the music.

Foreigner Unauthorized – Saturday May 16. 8:00pm, Lawn Stage. Get ready for an incredible show with another top tribute band known for their commitment to a true and soulful Foreigner sound. This show promises to get you all Hotblooded with some Double Vision to boot.

About the Author – Sunday May 17, 3:00pm, Lawn Stage. Acoustic-pop duo About the Author brings their popular Contemporary Christian style to the last day of the Fair.

 

Fables of the West

Fables of the West

Family Entertainment at the Calaveras County Fair

The following acts can be found on an ongoing basis everyday at the Jubilee and are sure to bring smiles to faces of all ages.

Mark Twain – in honor of the 150th anniversary of Mark Twain’s story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras, Pat Kaunert, local Mark Twain impersonator will be telling stories and entertaining crowds on the Luly Pad stage every day.

Gypsy Time Travelers – Husband and wife team Michel Olson and Christy Horne have been making a name for history- and themselves – as they travel the US in their recreational castle, blacksmith shop and stage rig known as “Florence.” They combine educational storytelling with dramatic “anvil accompaniment” for a truly unique experience.

Fables of the West – Hit the trail of tales with the Fables team, according to team owner and founder, “It’s high energy and interactive, and we try to involve fair guests by literally making them the main focus of the show.” They’re known as a “strolling-grounds act,” meaning there is no set show time or even a stage, so you might find yourself in the middle of a performance anytime!

Sadie’s Balloon Mania – Keep an eye out for Sadie the Balloon Lady, known for her wild balloon creations and crazy costuming. She and her brightly colored scooter will be roaming the Fairgrounds, delighting the crowd with her balloon art.

Something Ridiculous – The high energy juggling and acrobatic slapstick stuntmen known as Something Ridiculous will be performing wildly fun acts all weekend long! Be sure to catch a glimpse of their action packed show.

Need a place to stay during Frog Jump?

See our Angels Camp lodging properties page for a wide variety of hotels, motels, B&Bs and vacation properties.

Nearby, there are a couple of Vallecito lodging properties about 7 miles from Angels Camp.

Murphys lodging is another great alternative.  Just 9 miles (or 15 minutes) from Angels Camp, historic Murphys is home to multiple lodging options from hotels and motels to vacation rentals and B&Bs. Plus you can enjoy wine tasting in nearly two dozen tasting rooms right in historic downtown.

Get full details on things to see and do in Calaveras from our digital Acitivities Guide.

 

 

Gold Rush Street Faire

Gold Rush Street Faire

 Main St
Murphys

Shopping is to “live for” at the Annual Gold Rush Street Faire, as Main Street fills with over 100 booths of quality arts and crafts, antiques, handcrafted goods, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, and food booths, in addition to Murphys’ multitude of one-of-a-kind specialty shops. The event is hosted by the Feeney Park Foundation, and has been a valued tradition in Murphys for many years.

Related links: Calaveras Grape Stomp – October 6, 2012

How Do They Jump So Far?

Slow Motion Frog Jumping

Slow Motion Frog Jumping

When people hear some of the records set by winners from Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee competitors over the years they frequently ask one question–“21 feet?? How do they get their frogs to jump so far?”

(Check out the awesome National Geographic video below to get a slow motion peak at what makes a frog really fly.)

Well, let’s be clear–only the famed record holder Rosie the Ribbiter managed 21 feet thus far–but check back in a month to see if the 2016 competitors have yet to hoist her from her esteemed seat.

So, first of all, each frog gets three consecutive jumps and the distance is determined by measuring the most direct line between their starting and stopping point. Their human handlers–lovingly known as “frog jockeys”–have a variety of strategies for getting the biggest forward lunging leaps.

These strategies range from super food frog diets to how they encourage their frogs at jump time. Some frog jockeys clap, cheer, sing, or stomp encouragement. Afterwards, all frogs are rewarded with a trip to the frog spa and treated as the local talented celebrities they deservedly are. But the real secret, is partially in the frog’s anatomy.

Purchase (discounted) tickets online or view the schedule for the May 19-22nd 2016 Jumping Frog Jubilee at www.frogtown.org

 

 

 

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