MARIPOSA – Are you ready to rock on? The California State Mining and Mineral Museum is in the midst of a summer filled with fun activities the whole family can dig.
For starters, stop by and see the famous Fricot Nugget of gold, now back on display in the vault area of the Museum, following security upgrades.
Weighing as much as a modest Thanksgiving turkey, the spectacular 14 lb. crystalline gold specimen is said to be the largest California gold specimen remaining from the 1800s. Additionally, new display cabinets feature large Neptunite and fine Benitoite samples. Benitoite is the official state mineral of California and San Benito is the only site in the world where it’s known to have been found.
A series of special programs are set to take place at the Museum before and during the Mariposa County Fair, which takes place Aug. 29 – Sept. 1.
On Thursday, Aug. 28, visitors to the Museum can chat with a gold miner in period attire, and see the tools necessary for survival in the gold rush days. Lucky participants that day, and on most Saturdays and some Sundays throughout summer, will also be able to pan out some gold. Call 209-742-7625 to check for availability of gold panning.
Also during the Fair, on Aug. 28 – 29, families should be on the lookout for free children’s activities at the Museum, along with mine tunnel tours. While the Fair stays open late, the museum closes at 5 p.m.
On Sept 1, the California State Mining & Mineral Museum “49er Gold Camp” living history enactment will be set up from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Museum is actively seeking volunteers for a variety of positions. Organizers plan their annual round of Volunteer Training starting in late September. Anyone interested in volunteering as an event helper or tour guide is welcome to contact the Museum for more information. Trained volunteers are essential, they say, in order for the Museum to offer educational tours and events.
While you’re marking your calendar for fun stuff to do, be sure to note the 8th annual Blazin’ Hog BBQ Competition and Zydeco Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Fairgrounds. Food, beer, wine, arts and crafts, and great vendors will all be on premises for the BBQ and music extravaganza that’s a fundraiser for the John C. Fremont Hospital Foundation. Watch for “two big shows,” at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., with cash prizes awarded to some lucky participants. General admission is $15 with discounts for seniors and kids.