OAKHURST – A number of milestones are coming up in Yosemite National Park, the first of which is the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant on June 30, 1864, by President Abraham Lincoln. The Grant set aside Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove for preservation and enjoyment.
These milestones will be celebrated in and around Yosemite, with Oakhurst hosting the first commemorative event.
Located about 15 minutes below the southern entrance to Yosemite, Oakhurst’s annual Mountain Heritage Days celebration will be themed around the Yosemite Anniversaries. The event takes place Sept. 20 and 21, with most of the activities happening at Fresno Flats Historic Park.
“The Yosemite Anniversaries are a big deal for our area and all the gateway communities,” said Rhonda Salisbury with the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau. “They will really put a spotlight on Yosemite and the surrounding towns. We’re excited to be able to host the first anniversary event.”
Salisbury has been working on the anniversaries PR/Marketing Committee for over a year helping to honor of the creation of Yosemite.
Mountain Heritage Days kicks off with a BBQ and melodrama performed by the cast of the Golden Chain Theatre, “Run to the Roundhouse Nellie: He Can’t Corner You There.”
“Not to put history on hold, but we want to ensure the audience really takes part with the booing the villain, cheering hero, sighing for the heroine, everything that makes a melodrama fun,” said Mary Lou Finley, vice-president of the theatre.
The show will include a recitation of Lincoln Signing the Yosemite Land Grant. Also planned for the evening, the three girls who will represent Oakhurst throughout the anniversaries as the Mountain Belles will also be introduced during the show.
On Saturday the celebration continues with the Mountain Heritage Days Parade. The procession starts at Fresno Flats at 10 a.m. and makes its way down Road 426 (School Road) to Golden Oak Loop. Entries include live bands from across the region, classic cars and trucks, numerous floats and entries from service organizations and public service corps.
One special parade entrant will be the Yosemite Mounted Patrol.
“We’re very excited to have them come down to be part of the parade,” said Salisbury. “It’s great to see the National Park Service take part as it highlights the connection with Yosemite.”
The celebration returns to Fresno Flats after the parade where there will be tours of the historic buildings on site, several of which are of the same period as the Yosemite Grant. There will also be crafts for children, demonstrations of blacksmithing, woodcarving, quilting and spinning.
There is a wine party scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Fresno Flats Garden, followed by a community BBQ dinner featuring ribs and salmon at 5:30.
“Yosemite and Oakhurst are tied together in history as the park’s proximity played a huge role in the development of the community,” said Salisbury. “Mountain Heritage Days reflects that and makes it a great way to kick off more than a year of marking Yosemite’s anniversaries
For dinner tickets or more information, call 559-658-2019. For a full schedule of events, visit the event’s calendar page at the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau.
Friday: September 20
4 – 6 pm Children’s Activities
5 pm Hotdogs and chips and soda only $5
6:30-7:30 pm Square dancers
Saturday, September 21
10 am vendors and arts and crafts
10 – 11 am – Parade
11 am – Silent Auction
12 – 3 pm Children’s Art Activities
12: 30 – 2:30 pm Cake walk each half hour
1 pm – Sluice Box Derby
1:30 pm Cow Race
2 pm – Parade Awards
4 pm Silent Auction Closes
4 – 5:30 pm Wine and Cheese Recption with Chambermaid Singers
5:30 pm Barbecue Dinner with live music
6:30 pm – Door prize awarded