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Feb 21st
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Home Places to Visit Historic Towns Step Back in Time and Enjoy California’s Gold Rush Days

1852 Tent Town Comes Alive at Columbia State Historic Park

Step Back in Time and Enjoy California’s Gold Rush Days

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Just as the merchant economy seemed to spring up overnight in the gold fields, Columbia State Historic Park will be alive with activity in its own tent town as history is recreated for the public and school children during the last weekend in May.

Although Columbia State Historic Park is open every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas), only once a year is the public invited to step back in time to see what the early Columbia Diggins may have looked like in 1852 when the town was just beginning.

For four full days, more than 100 costumed volunteers will run shops and businesses in Columbia's Diggins Tent Town. The public is invited to see what Gold Rush life was like by participating in this exciting event.

Costumed docents will have sarsaparilla, baked goods, lemonade, jerky and pickles for sale along with other items from the time period for guests to purchase. Visitors will also have a chance to pan for gold, go bowling, wash clothes, watch live theatre performances, and listen to music throughout the day.

"The whole experience will make you look at 1852 in a different light," said Park Interpreter Danielle Belluz. "You will probably appreciate the advances in technology a little bit more after spending some time down in the ‘diggins.'"

The town's old Gold Rush-era business district has been preserved, with shops, restaurants and two hotels. Visitors have the chance to time-travel to the 1850s, imagining life when gold miners rubbed shoulders with businessmen and the other residents in Columbia.

Visitors can experience a bygone era watching proprietors in period clothing conduct business in the style of yesterday. There are opportunities to ride a 100-year-old stagecoach, pan for gold, or tour an active gold mine.

Columbia Diggins Tent Town 1852 is presented May 28-31, 2009, from 10-5 daily, at Columbia State Historic Park, four miles north of Sonora in Tuolumne County, just off highway 49. Admission is $3 adults and $1 children over 5. Parking is free. Call (209) 588-9128, or visit
www.parks.ca.gov or www.FriendsofColumbiaSHP.org for further details.

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