Looking for authentic, small town fun to celebrate the Fourth of July? If you’re heading to Calaveras for the long weekend, here are seven ways to enjoy yourself…
1. Discover one of the best “small town Fourth of July celebrations” in the country. That’s right. According to ABCNews.com, Ironstone Vineyards’ annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks is one of the best small-town Independence Day events in the nation. This year’s festivities fall on Saturday, July 6. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. and the 30-minute firework show begins at dark. Make it a night with great food and beverages (wine and beer for the big kids), as well as bounce houses, climbing walls and games for the little kids. Adults $10, Kids 5 to 12-years-old $5, 4 and under free.
2. Hop aboard the “Movie Star Locomotive.” For the holiday weekend, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park will offer train rides behind the “Movie Star Locomotive” Sierra No. 3. Steam train ride passengers will be treated to a six-mile, 45-minute round trip ride along the rails of the famous “Movie Railroad,” passing through California’s scenic Gold Country where scenes from many Hollywood movies were filmed. The historic locomotive departs on-the-hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. all four days of the extended holiday. Tickets for all holiday steam train excursion rides include park admission and cost $15 for adults, $8 for youths ages 6-17 and kids five and under are free.
3. See one of the oldest running Independence Day parades in the MotherLode. On Thursday, July 4 head to the charming town of Mokelumne Hill and find a spot on Main Street for the parade which kicks off at 11 a.m. Hunkering down early is a good idea. Locals definitely show their pride for this parade. After the parade rolls through, pack up your chairs and stroll over to Shutter Tree Park for games, contests and a BBQ.
4. Have yourself an old fashioned Fourth. Check out Angels Camp’s patriotic picnic on Thursday, July 4 from Noon to 5 p.m. in Utica Park. Festivities feature music by the US Navy Seal Cadet Band of the West, a salute to veterans, lots of old-fashioned games with prizes, and a variety of food (including free cupcakes and hot dogs for the kids).
5. Wander the Sierra Nevada Arts & Crafts Festival. Following the annual Independence Day Parade in Arnold (Saturday, July 6 at 10 a.m.) make your way through 65 booths of fine crafts, art, and gourmet foods offered at the 41st Annual Sierra Nevada Arts & Crafts Festival. The Festival is held on the park-like grounds of Bristols Ranch House Café along Highway 4 in downtown Arnold from 10am – 5 p.m on July 6 & 7. Admission and parking are free.
6. Join the locals for a patriotic concert and BBQ. Throw down a blanket in Tuner Park in San Andreas on Thursday, July 4 and enjoy smoked Tri Tip or BBQ Chicken ($9 per person), plus a rousing concert that will leave you feeling uber patriotic. BBQ begins at 3:30 p.m., concert at 6:30 p.m.
7. Grab your rubber chicken and wine glass for an outdoor concert. Ok, so this isn’t necessarily a patriotic affair, but it’s definitely worth mentioning if you’re looking to enjoy yourself over the long weekend. Twisted Oak Winery’s Folk at the Oak Summer Concert Series continues on Friday, July 5 with a performance by hilarious folk artists, Uncle Bonsai. Tickets are $20 in advance/$25 at the door. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. A yummy dinner (pork shoulder slow-roasted in their underground pit barbecue, grilled Smart Chicken, black bean and corn salad, and a refreshing feta-watermelon salad) will also be available for purchase and wine too, of course.
See what else is happening over the 2013 Fourth of July weekend at our events calendar.