Summer may be past, but it’s hardly time to settle down here in Calaveras County. On the contrary, the beginning of fall is a time of big celebration and the first weekend of October is packed with three signature events you won’t want to miss. To give you some help deciding where to be, we’ve put together a summary of each.
Valley Springs Pow Wow – 40th Anniversary
As the story goes, in 1975 a wayward rockhound came knocking at the door of the Snyder Ranch in Valley Springs, asking if he could go looking for rocks on their ranch. Turns out, he found some interesting specimens, then brought his friends – and an annual gathering was born. Now, forty years later, some 4500 people are expected to attend the three-day Pow Wow, featuring rock, gem and mineral buyers and sellers from far and wide, Native American ceremony and dance, live music and family friendly activities in this outdoor festival on a working cattle ranch. If you’re a fan of “earth treasures” you’ll want to check this place out – it’s the only one of its kind in Northern California, and known as the closest thing to Quartzite outside of Arizona (another major annual gathering of rock lovers). Vendors arrive Thursday evening, Friday is kids’ day at the Pow Wow, with busloads of school kids expected, Saturday and Sunday are the main market days.
Young rock hounds dig for fossils at the Valley Springs Pow Wow.
Valley Springs Pow Wow, October 3-5
1290 Paloma Road, Valley Springs, CA 95252
Free Admission, Dry camping (no water or hook ups – best suited to RVs or self contained campers) available for $10 per site
Lumberjack Day in West Point – 40th Anniversary
Yes, another ruby anniversary is being celebrated up Highway 26 in the town of West Point, a town whose roots are firmly planted in the 20th century’s timber industry. The day gets rolling with a pancake breakfast and box car derby, followed by a car show, art and craft fair, parade and a day full of food, fun and friendly competition. There aren’t many places you can get a taste of axe throwing contests – with categories for men and women – as well as timed competitions for hot sawing logs, choker setting, double hand bucking and many more! You’ll come away with a fine appreciation for the forest products industry that has been a huge part of this county’s history, and get to kick up your feet afterward to live music and dancing into the night.
A scene from the Lumberjack Day street parade.
Lumberjack Day, October 4
7:00am – 10:00pm
West Point, CA 95255
Free Admission – Food, crafts and beverages available for purchase
Grape Stomp in Murphys
With October being the time that grape harvest is in full swing, the Calaveras wine industry wanted to create a fun opportunity for everyone to get involved in the season’s excitement. Now in its 21st year, the Grape Stomp has become one the signature parties of the year. Held in conjunction with the Gold Rush Street Faire in Murphys, the Stomp draws hundreds of spectators to Murphys Park as teams of two compete to stomp the most juice out of a barrel of grapes. The county’s wines are flowing by the glass throughout the day with specialty food vendors and a silent auction offers the chance to bid on some great finds – like luxury rafting trips, B&B stays and of course, fine Calaveras wines. All proceeds from the event benefit community nonprofits. Watch a few rounds of the wild Grape Stomp contest and you may find yourself signing up for next year’s competition!
Competitors stomp it out at the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance’s Annual Grape Stomp.
Grape Stomp, October 4 – Produced by the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance
9:30am – 5:00pm
Murphys Community Park, Murphys, CA 95247
Free Admission to watch, Competition is sold out. Wines and food available for purchase.