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Wildland Firefighter Hootenany Festival Offers Family Fun

COARSEGOLD — Whether it’s entering your scruffy buddy into a facial hair contest, trying your luck at the 50/50 corn hole tourney, publicly praising your beloved, dining on delicious food all day and night, or listening to great music — there are scores of reasons to come out and support the people who watch out for you, at the Wildland Firefighter Hootenanny on Saturday, Apr. 27 at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds.

Admission is free and parking is $10, so load as many people into your vehicle as is legal and head on over for a good time with entertainment all day and into the evening; some activities and all meals come with a fee — this is a fundraising event for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Last year, they raised about $7,000 for the national organization with local ties. This year the goal is $10,000, says organizer Erin Capuchino. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more worthy way to celebrate with the whole family. Did we mention food trucks during the day and a dinner catered by The Wild Fig on Saturday night?

The event is designed to mimic the fire camps that get set up during large campaign fires, creating a mini-citiy experience for the community, including equipment and other interesting things that most people would never experience without being out on the fire line.

Hootenanny proceeds will benefit the Wildland Firefighters Foundation (WFF) which honors past, present and future wildland firefighters by providing financial assistance, PTSD support services and other help to the families of fallen and injured wildland firefighters across the country. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation maintains the National Wildland Firefighter Monument and educates the public about wildland fires and the men and women who give their lives to protect lands impacted by wildfire.

Gates will open Saturday at 9 a.m. with festivities beginning at 10 a.m. In addition to exciting events and musical entertainment throughout the weekend, guests will enjoy a special presentation by the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF).

5K Mop Up Fun Run 

Saturday events start at 8 a.m. with registration for the 5K Mop Up Fun Run at 9 a.m., organized by Yosemite High School cross country team. Sign up here.

Corn Hole Tournament 

Saturday’s special events include an official Corn Hole Tournament hosted by the California Corn Hole Association.

Cornhole is a game growing quickly in popularity that can be found in many backyards, at tailgates, weddings, and bars. Small bags filled with dried corn are tossed at a target consisting of an inclined wooden platform with a hole at one end.

Come show off your skills! The winning team gets 50 percent of the entry fees and the other 50 percent goes to The Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Check in for the Corn Hole Tournament begins at 10 a.m., with the competition beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Stache & Beard Competition

Facial hair and weeks on the line go hand in hand, so firefighters are invited to step out and show off some scruff.

On the day of the festival, organizers may split a category to accommodate a large pool of contestants — with the event scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Categories may include mustache, goatee, and beard. ‘Stache & Beard Competition’ is graciously hosted by the Fresno Beard and Mustache Club. Participants may sign up on Saturday or sign up early here.

Fire Spouse of the Year

Every year the spouses are left to tend to the home, kids and life. Sometimes due to the location they may not hear from their loves for weeks at a time. They can take anything thrown at them and stay up nights worrying.

Firefighters are encouraged to take a moment to nominate their spouse for the Wildland Firefighter Hootenanny Fire Spouse of the Year. Organizers say all nominations will be reviewed by a panel featuring a variety of firefighter wives from different agencies, in different stages of life.

The top three contenders will be honored during dinner at the Hootenanny, just before 5 p.m. Dinner purchase is not necessary, but attendance at the dinner is required to participate.

Dinner catered by The Wild Fig

The cost for a delicious meal catered by The Wild Fig restaurant is $20 and $5 of that goes to the Foundation. Dine on your choice of BBQ brisket or chicken, with hearty beans, creamy coleslaw, roll and butter.

Raffle, Silent Auction

Hootenanny attendees will also be able to support the Wildland Firefighters Foundation by bidding on a silent auction and there’s also a raffle for firefighters, offering prizes of tools, gear and other items, planned for Saturday.

Live Music & Kid Zone

Vendors, food trucks and a beer garden will be available. A number of groups will perform music throughout the weekend, including The Mediocres at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and OakFire Rising at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The festival is headlined by Motel Drive on Saturday, taking the stage at 6:30 p.m. Free entry to the event.

If you’re got children along, you won’t want to miss the Kid Zone with bounce houses, a mechanical bull, and Tenaya Lodge archery — the fee is $10 for a kid’s wristband with unlimited access.

Event benefits Wildland Firefighters Foundation

Full Hootenanny details are available at their website or on Facebook.

The Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds are located on Road 415 near Highway 41.

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