Angels Camp Festivals and Events focus on the history and traditions of this delightful Gold Rush town. Two events celebrate Mark Twain’s story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras”: The Jumping Frog Jubilee, part of Calaveras County’s annual fair, and the Mark Twain Wild West Fest. The annual Lighted Christmas Parade, Open House & Wine Stroll shows Angels Camp at its most festive, while the Taste of Calaveras shows off the culinary and wine culture of the entire county. To see a full list of events in Angels Camp, go to our Angels Camp Festivals & Events directory. You can see what’s happening right now in Calaveras on our current events calendar.
Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee
The Calaveras County Fair is the longest continuously operating fair in the entire state. It’s also home to the international Jumping Frog Jubilee, commemorating Mark Twain’s first international, best-selling, short story: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras. The four-day festival takes place on the third weekend of May each year. Local frog wranglers collect hundreds of wild California Bullfrogs and bring them to the Frog Spa at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, where they are treated to a Club Med style holiday experience with occasional jumping. Fairgoers can visit the frogs at the frog spa, and rent a frog to jump on the stage. Professional teams compete to win the world record, a handsome cash prize and trophy, as well as local immortality in the form of a commemorative brass plaque in downtown Angels Camp’s “Frog Hop of Fame.”
Other fun activities at the fair include rodeo, demolition derby, outhouse race, wine tasting, live music, arts and crafts booth and lots more entertainment.
The Mark Twain Wild West Fest
The Mark Twain Wild West Fest is a fun street festival which takes place on the third weekend in October in charming, historic downtown Angels Camp, features a Mark Twain take on the wild west with three stages of non-stop music, comedy and entertainment. Roving street performers, magicians, jugglers, and gun-slinging cowboys, a liars contest, fence painting inspired by Huck Finn and many more period entertainments take place throughout the town. See shoot-out reenactments with outlaws, and visit gold miners in their encampment, learn how to gold pan and how to master rope tying, while also enjoying arts and crafts booths, food, wine and beer.
The icing on the cake might be the annual Mark Twain Wild West Fest Nuggets of Gold raffle. This year, six real, solid gold nuggets worth $5,400 in total, will be raffled off to one lucky winner. Choose to take the nuggets or $3,000 in cash.The winning ticket will be drawn at 4:00 pm on the day of the Mark Twain Wild West Fest. Second prize is a getaway to Virginia City, Nevada. Winners need not be present to win. Enter the Nuggets of Gold raffle (or learn more) here.
Even if you’re not entering the raffle yourself, it’s quite a show! Armed mountain men (pictured above) will lead a procession down Main Street to Firefall Jewelers, where the antique safe will be ceremonially unlocked, and the nuggets retrieved. The mountain men will transfer the nuggets to a locked safety box and return to the north end of town, to the stage finale where the winning raffle ticket will be drawn.
Angels Camp Christmas Lighted Parade, Wine Stroll & Open House
Take a charming historic Gold Rush town like Angels Camp, deck it out for Christmas, and it takes on the kind of magic captured by a Norman Rockwell painting. The Angels Camp Lighted Christmas Parade & Wine Stroll is small town Americana at its best, where locals line the street for the lighted Christmas parade, a choir sings carols on the deck of the Visitors Center, and free cookies and hot chocolate with a candy cane stirrer are offered by volunteers. Santa’s arrival tops off the parade, and then he’s off to meet with children for gift requests and free photo ops. For the next couple of hours, Angels Camp’s boutique shops stay open late, and offer a $5 wine glass for tastings at multiple shops to help you kick off the holiday shopping season with cheer.
Angels Camp Museum & Carriage House Events
Angels Camp Museum keeps history alive with its multiple events year-round – geared to kids and adults alike with kids art camps, lively lectures and docent-led demonstrations of Gold Rush machinery and equipment. Check out the Angels Camp Museum’s events for what’s coming up next or check our Calendar of Events.
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