6 Top Tips for Fourth of July in the Foothills

Now that we’ve launched into summer, you might be dreaming of a long weekend getaway, hanging with family and friends, soaking up the charm of small town Americana.  Well your timing is right, because July 4th weekend in Calaveras is among the best times of year to be here.

4th July Fireworks | Jack Forkner

4th July Fireworks | Jack Forkner

From charming old-fashioned Independence Day festivals to a stellar fireworks show and live entertainment, you’ll find plenty of patriotic fun with six ways to celebrate:

1. Start with History—Mokelumne Hill has one of the oldest Independence Day parades in the foothills, and kicks off the day with a pancake breakfast at the town hall, followed by the parade. Few small towns call up the Gold Rush and historic Calaveras County like Moke Hill (as the locals call it).  And if you’re lucky enough to grab a room at the Hotel Leger,there will be plenty of weekend entertainment with Open Mic Night on Friday and Sunday afternoon’s Backyard Blues and BBQ,  where you can enjoy live blues poolside in the hotel’s courtyard.

WHERE: Moke Hill Town Hall,  8283 Main Street, Mokelumne Hill, CA 95245
WHEN:  Pancake Breakfast:  7:30am – 11am at Town Hall;   Parade:  11am
CONTACT: Hotel Leger Info:  (209) 286-1401,   www.hotelleger.com

2. Enjoy a quintessential small town celebration with the Calaveras Community Band performing Friday July 4th in San Andreas.  Tracing its roots to the Gold Rush days, when the musically inclined among the miners would get together and play at public gatherings, the Band continues its tradition of playing classic American tunes as a free public service and is a truly unique slice of Calaveras County culture.  Tap your feet to patriotic tunes and enjoy a hearty afternoon barbecue – all proceeds will support the Calaveras Community Band.

WHERE: Turner Park, 287 Treat Avenue, San Andreas, CA 95249
WHEN:  3:30pm – 6pm BBQ  $10;  Concert begins at 6:30 and is free
CONTACT:  www.calaverascommunityband.org

3. Salute our veterans at Angels Camp’s patriotic picnic and old-fashioned July 4th. Enjoy games for the kids, prizes and tasty food.  Wear your red, white and blue!  Stick around the park in the evening as Fresh Fridays Farmers Market gets going with fresh local produce, crafts and other gourmet goodies.

WHERE: Utica Park, Angels Camp CA 95222
WHEN: 1pm – 6pm for July 4 Celebration;  Farmers Market 4pm until dusk

4. Run off some steam (and work off some of those celebration calories) with a few friends on Saturday July 5 – choose from a half marathon four-person relay or solo run on a picturesque backroad through ranching country, or the 10K run, 5K run/walk.   Spend the morning challenging yourself on the hills of Vallecito, then refuel with a post-run BBQ, with wine tasting, raffle and awards ceremony.

WHERE: Twisted Oak Winery, 4280 Red HIll Road Vallecito, CA 95251
WHEN: July 5,  8:00am – 12:30pm, check in and race day registration opens at 6:30am
RACE FEES: (bbq included):  5k/10k – $35;  Half Marathon Individual – $40;  4-Person Relay -$120
Lunch for non-runner adults: $10;  Children: $7
CONTACT: On Your Mark Events, Registration and more information, or call (209) 795-7832


July 4 Parade Ebbetts Pass

5. Get some cultural immersion at the Sierra Nevada Arts and Crafts Festival and Independence Day Parade, upcountry in Arnold. Cooler temperatures and an eclectic variety of fine arts and crafts, gourmet food and entertainment make for a fun family weekend.  You haven’t seen amazing quilting and burl wood furniture until you spend a day browsing here.  Featuring over 60 booths and live country/swing music from the Stardust Cowboys, the festival runs both Saturday and Sunday in Cedar Center, with a pancake breakfast by the Arnold Lions Club both days and the Independence Day Parade, Saturday at 11am.

WHERE:  Cedar Center, Arnold CA 95223
WHEN:  July 5-6;  8am – 5pm
PARADE:  Saturday July 5, 11am


6. Enjoy spectacular fireworks and family fun at Ironstone Vineyards. This has proven to be the standout pyrotechnic show in the region and draws people from all over the gold country, and that’s the icing on the evening cake.   ABC News calls it “One of the Best Small Town Celebrations.”  Fireworks start at dark, but doors open at 4:30pm and there’s fun for the whole family, including a bounce house, climbing wall, jugglers, food, wine and beer, and live music by Shane Dwight, Uplands Drive and local darling Jill Warren.

WHERE:  Ironstone Vineyards, 1894 Six Mile Road, Murphys CA 95247
WHEN:  July 5, Doors open 4:30pm
PRICES:  Adults $10, Kids 6-12 $5, Under 5 free
CONTACTwww.ironstonevineyards.com   209-782-1251


Other Things You’ll Want on Your Radar This Weekend:

  • Barrel of Monkeez is offering a sweet deal for July 4th – just $4 each for all of their fun indoor activities. They’re open from 11 – 6 and are promising indoor temperatures at least 10 – 15 degrees cooler than outside.
  • Tasty Fridays, including First Fridays in Murphys Park, this month featuring the Stardust Cowboys.  Bring a picnic or enjoy a prepared dinner from a local caterer.
  • Ride the Rails on a historic steam engine, at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.
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