Empire Mine State Historic Park hosts 117th Miners Picnic
Empire Mine State Historic Park presents the 117th Miners Picnic, Empire Mine State Historic Park, 10791 E. Empire Street, Grass Valley CA 95945, Saturday, August 25th,Gates open at 10:00 & close at 5:00, activities from 10:30 – 4:00, $7 adult/$3 ages 6-16/Under 6 free Contact: (530) 273-8522, www.parks.ca.gov or www.empiremine.org
Submitted by Courtney Ferguson
“Since 1895, it’s been an annual summer highlight,” said event chair Jack Laird, “and this year looks like it may be the most colorful of all.” (Jack is also a docent and tour guide with impressive mining knowledge.) “Originally, the Miners Picnics raised proceeds to help miners’ widows and children, injured miners, and those out of work. Today, it’s a chance for visitors to see the mine come to life again, full of grease, grit and gold.”
In its heyday, the Empire Mine ranked as one of the oldest, largest and most prosperous hard-rock gold mines in America. Today, Empire Mine State Historic Park welcomes around 100,000 visitors from all over the world each year.
The Miners Picnic remains a big-hearted, action-packed event – only now
proceeds help support the Park through tough times of budget cuts and threats of closure. With Living History, an old-fashioned cakewalk, games, gold panning, food and fun, it’s an unusual, memorable day for all – including a brand-new ‘Search for the Gold’ challenge and the chance to meet Dolly the mining mule.
“A dramatic rescue reenactment is scheduled for high noon in the Mine Yard,” Jack added. “It’s also a golden opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch on the beautiful Empire Mine State Historic Park grounds.” Visitors can bring their own food, or purchase hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches, pasties, drinks and ice cream from local vendors. There’s a new ‘Search for the Gold’ challenge, games, gold panning and live entertainment from The Begin Family Fiddlers. Living History at the Mine Yard will feature displays in the Blacksmith Shop. Even the old administrative offices will be buzzing with activity. Docents in period costumes will be welcoming guests at Bourn Cottage, as they portray local historic characters such as Mr. and Mrs. William Bourn, Jr. and George Starr, the man who supervised the Mine during its glory days – as well as Katie Moriarty, Bourn Cottage’s popular housekeeper.
With so much to offer visitors of all ages, spending the whole day is highly recommended. “It’s a colorful, interactive way for everyone, especially children, to learn why our local history has captured the world’s imagination,” Jack emphasized.
The Miners Picnic will be held on Saturday, August 25th at Empire Mine State Historic Park. Gates are open from 10:00 to 5:00, with activities scheduled from 10:30 to 4:00. Prices: $7 per adult, $3 children 6-16, and children under 6 are admitted free. Phone (530) 273-8522 or visit www.parks.ca.gov or www.eimpiremine.org