Columbia is an historic attraction set among the hills of California Gold
Country. There's nearly always something going on in this thriving Gold Rush
town near Sonora, CA.
COLUMBIA BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
On this day we celebrate the discovery of gold by the Hildreth party (March 27,
1850). Gather in the middle of town for a speech, cake, punch, and reenactments
as well as docents in costume throughout town. Columbia State Historic Park,
Call: (209) 588-9128.
April 8, 2012 Sunday late morning to early afternoon
COLUMBIA’S VICTORIAN EASTER CELEBRATION
Dress up in your Victorian Easter finery and march in the Victorian Easter
Parade. Registration begins at 11:00 am, and the parade is at 12:30. Children
will enjoy Columbia’s popular Easter Egg Hunts. The Small Fry Egg Search at noon
is for ages 3 to 5; and after the Easter Parade, the Junior Egg Poachers (ages 6
to 8) will try their luck at 1 p.m. , and finally the Great Egg Scramblers (ages
9 to 12) at 1:30 p.m. Find the golden egg and win a prize! These free events are
sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Call: (209) 536-1672, columbiacalifornia.com
April 15, 2012
36th Annual COLUMBIA WINE TASTING
The 36th Annual Columbia Wine Tasting will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012
from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Columbia State Historic Park. A benefit for the
Columbia College Culinary Arts Program, tickets are $60 approx. Over 70 wineries and local food purveyors
will be represented in the popular event. Sponsored by the Columbia College
Foundation. For tickets, Call: (209) 588-5089, gocolumbia.edu/foundation.
April 21, 2012 -- Saturday
33rd Annual OLD MILL RUN
10K Run, 2-Mile Run/Walk, Kids Mini Mile, Kids Mile. Events begin at 9 a.m., and
benefit the Tuolumne County Community Christmas Eve Dinner. Contact Cathie
Peacock for more information at (209) 586-4802
May 5, 2012 -- Saturday
150th Anniversary of CINCO DE MAYO in Columbia
Sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Call: (209) 536-1672, columbiacalifornia.com
May 5-6, 2012 – Saturday & Sunday
53rd Annual FIREMENS MUSTER
Volunteer fire crews from around the western United States will take part in the
competition, presented by Columbia Volunteer Fire Department Engine Co. No. 1.
The muster parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday on Main Street in Columbia. Other
events include hose cart races, bucket brigade, skills competition, hand pumper
contests and a Saturday dance. Admission is free. Call: (209) 532-8718
May 20, 2012
ROSE DAY - New!
May 28, 2012 – Monday
MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE
Memorial Day services start at 11 am on Monday, May 28 in the old Veterans
section at the Columbia Cemetery. The ceremony takes about 20 minutes. There
will be prayers, information on Memorial Day, the Battle Hymn of the Republic
and a salute to those buried in this section. The ceremonies are conducted by
the Columbia Foot Dragoons and the Columbia Grenadine Belles. Call: (209) 536-1672.
May 31-June 3, 2012 – Thurs-Sun daytime
Step back in time to the year 1852 and discover what life was like in a gold
diggings encamp.m. ent! Over 150 volunteers help recreate this time in history
by living the life of a miner, merchant, actor/actress, and more. School tours
are led Thursday and Friday by reservation. Sponsored by the Columbia State
Historic Park and Friends of Columbia State Historic Park. Call: (209) 588-9128 for more
June 9, 2012 – Saturday
4th Annual SARSAPARILLA ROUNDUP
Features free contests from noon to 4 p.m., including mug slide, horseshoes,
bottle cap fling, pin the label on the bottle, spelling bee, and belching
contest; and frosty cold sarsaparilla. Sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of
Commerce. Call: (209) 536-1672, columbiacalifornia.com
June 9, July 7, Aug 11, Sept 8, Oct 6, 2012 -- Saturday evenings
Have you heard that there are ghosts in Columbia? Join us on the tour to find
out where they lurk and the stories behind those who lived in Columbia during
the Gold Rush. Contact Columbia State Historic Park at (209) 588-9128.
June 16 & 17, 2012 – Saturday & Sunday
46th Annual FATHER’S DAY FLY-IN, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday.
Columbia Airport. Call: (209) 533-5685
June 17, 2012
COLUMBIA CAR SHOW
June 18 through 22, 2012 – Monday through Friday mornings, 9 a.m. - noon
SUMMER ARTS CAMP
Summer Arts Camp is designed to partner children ages 7 to 12 years old with
professional artists and performers so students can explore their creative
self-expression and appreciation of the arts. Meet each morning in the Solari
Garden at the corner of Jackson and Columbia Streets. On Friday, June 22 the
merchants of Columbia host a reception for our young artists. Call: (209) 532-2787
for more information. Registration on a first come/first served basis. Hosted by
the Central Sierra Arts Council.
June 23, 2012
SUMMER STREET DANCE
July 4, 2012 -- Wednesday
COLUMBIA’S GLORIOUS 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION
Celebrate our nation's birthday the old-fashioned way! Come to Columbia State
Historic Park on the 4th of July and participate in the many activities the
49ers enjoyed way back when, including a glorious parade up Main Street at noon.
Folks in Columbia began the 4th of July parade tradition in 1852. After the
parade, listen to the Great Mother Lode Brass & Reed Band concert, dance in the
street, and try your skill at the many contests popular in the early days of
Columbia. The kids will enjoy trying to climb the greased pole, hunting for a
needle in the haystack, and participating in the bucket brigade and the cake
walk. Other contests for kids of all ages include nail pounding, watermelon and
pie eating, egg relay race and egg toss, and a five-way tug-of-war. The parade
and concert are free, and entering the contests only costs a buck. Finally, to
top off your day, a tri tip barbecue dinner will be served at 4 p.m. . Barbecue
tickets are $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for children under 10 (2011 prices—could
change). Come early for the best parking and bring lawn chairs. The festivities
will begin with a flag raising and firing of the cannon at 11 am. Sponsored by
the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Call: (209) 536-1672.
July 21, 2012 – Saturday evening
BIG BAND STREET DANCE
Step back into the 1940s and put on your dancing shoes to boogie down to the
music of Rod Harris and his orchestra. This free event is sponsored by Friends
of Columbia State Historic Park. Call: (209) 532-3184
July 28, Aug 18, Aug 25, Sept 1, 2012 -- Saturdays
We invite families or groups to solve an actual crime that occurred in Columbia
in the 1800s. You will witness the event, interview key members to the crime and
get a chance to subpoena them in court. Then you will select one person from
your group to question people on the stand. At the end, you will determine the
outcome of the crime. Contact Columbia State Historic Park at (209) 588-9128.
August 18, 2012
SUMMER STREET DANCE
August, 25, 2012
COLUMBIA BUTTON SHOW
September 8, 2012
CALIFORNIA ADMISSION DAY PARADE
The Native Sons of the Golden West, Columbia Parlor #258, sponsors a California
Admissions Day Parade in Historic Columbia. The Native Sons have a tradition of
preserving California History--the parade is one of those that started in 1876,
and revived in 2008. There are many other events held on Admissions Day in
Historic Columbia, the parade is just one of them. For information, call
September 15, 2012 – Saturday evening
BACK TO SCHOOL 1861
Enjoy beautiful evening at the historic schoolhouse. During this
reminiscent event, take a tour of the upstairs, sit in on a lesson taught by a
docent dressed as an 1860s school teacher, play games of long ago, listen to
music, and help make hand-cranked ice cream. Contact Columbia State Historic
Park at (209) 588-9128.
September 16, 2012 – Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
40th Annual COLUMBIA ART SHOW
This fine art show features almost 50 local painters, sculptors and
photographers who will display their art on the shady streets of the Columbia
State Historic Park. This event is FREE to the public. Call: (209) 536-9047, columbiacalifornia.com
September 28-30, 2012
TUOLUMNE WRITER'S RETREAT
Further announcements and details to follow. Call: (209) 588-0711
September 29, 2012 – Saturday afternoon
30th Annual POISON OAK SHOW at the St. Charles Saloon in Columbia State Historic
Park. Aren’t you just itchin’ to participate? This event is like a traditional
flower show, except all entries must include poison oak! Some of the categories
are: best arrangement of poison oak, most original poison oak dish (with
recipe), best photograph of poison oak, best photograph of poison oak rash (or
in person). Sponsored by the St. Charles Saloon. Call: (209) 533-4656.
October 6, 2012 – Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
30th Annual FIDDLE & BANGO CONTEST & CHILI COOK-OFF
The Fiddle & Bango Contest (yes, “bango”) is held at the gazebo in Columbia
State Historic Park. More than 40 musicians compete for prizes in the following
categories: fiddle, banjo, vocal, guitar, mandolin and miscellaneous. The grand
prize is a gold nugget, and there are cash and gift certificate prizes in each
category. The entry fee to compete in each category is $12 and contestants sign
up between 9 and 10:30 am. The Fiddle & Bango Contest is free to the viewing
public. Bring lawn chairs, hats and sunscreen. T-shirts will be available for
sale ($20). All ages and music genres are represented in this contest, which is
sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Competition begins promptly at
10:30 a.m., and continues all day, except for a lunch break, which features a
CHILI COOK-OFF. For $5 get your miner’s tin cup, spoon, and ballot and enjoy
chili cooked and served by Columbia Chamber teams at various locations in town.
Call: (209) 536-1672, columbiacalifornia.com (2011
Enjoy a cornucopia of country crafts, comestibles, demonstrations of skills, and
music and dancing on the shady streets of Columbia State Historic Park,
decorated for the harvest season. Wear your Gold Rush duds and enjoy a visit to
the past. Fun for everyone, and it’s free!!! Almost fifty vendors, dressed in
1850s attire, will display their handmade arts and crafts for sale, including
pottery, jewelry, apparel, home decor, wood furniture, baked goods and many
others; and some will demonstrate their skills. Attractions include
demonstrations of spinning and weaving by the Mother Lode Weavers & Spinners,
face painting, miniature horses, and entertainment by various local groups of
musicians and dancers. Sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Call:
(209) 536-1672, columbiacalifornia.com
October 20, 2012 -- Saturday evening
STORIES IN STONE
Visitors are led through Columbia’s historic cemetery by costumed volunteers
carrying lanterns where they will visit 13 grave sites. The dead come to life as
interpreters tell about their lives, how they died, and how they came to lie in
Columbia’s cemetery. Contact Columbia State Historic Park at (209) 588-9128.
October 27, 2012 – Saturday 5:30 p.m.
5th Annual ILLUMINATION OF THE JACK-O’-LANTERNS
Carve your pumpkins, turning them into classic peg-toothed grinners, artfully
chiseled ghouls, leering witches, or any family-friendly design of your
choosing. Bring your carved gourds to the Columbia Museum on Main Street for
judging, and enjoy the live musical entertainment. Prizes will be awarded for
the most original, most gruesome, most entertaining, etc. At dusk the
jack-o’-lanterns will be illuminated. This free event is sponsored by the
Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and fun for all ages. Call: (209) 536-1672, columbiacalifornia.com
November 11, 2012 -- Sunday, 11 a.m.
VETERANS DAY REMEMBRANCE
In Columbia’s historic cemetery at 11 am, the Columbia Foot Dragoons explain the
significance of Veterans Day and how it came into being, and fire a single
volley. Call: (
November 23 through December 16, 2012 -- weekend days
COLUMBIA CANDY KITCHEN CANE MAKING
Participate in making traditional candy canes during the holidays. Must send a
request to the store by postcard before Labor Day to enter lottery for
reservations. Hosted by Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen. For information, call
November 30 & December 1, 2012 -- Friday & Saturday evenings
Enjoy walking play that wanders the streets of Columbia at night and
ends with music, dance, and refreshments. Make this an annual holiday event for
you and your family and learn more about the Christmastime of years past.
Contact Columbia State Historic Park at (209) 588-9128.
December 8 & 9 and December 15 & 16, 2012 -- Sat & Sun daytime
A MINER’S CHRISTMAS
Sit around a campfire drinking hot cider or coffee and join in conversations
with miners as they roast chestnuts. Children can make some favorite crafts of
the 1850s and keep an eye out for Father Christmas as he wanders the streets
looking for good boys and girls! Contact Columbia State Historic Park at
December 9, 2012 -- Sunday 11 a.m.
CHRISTMAS EQUESTRIAN PARADE
Sponsored by the Mid-Valley Unit of the Back Country Horsemen. Call: (209) 823-3538
for more information.
December 9, 2012 – Sunday 5:30 p.m.
30th Annual LAS POSADAS NATIVITY PROCESSION
Las Posadas is a Spanish tradition that re-enacts the biblical story of Mary and
Joseph's search for shelter in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Since 1983 the people
of Columbia have put on their own version of Las Posadas each December--with a
distinctive 1850s flavor. Characters in this re-enactment include Mary and
Joseph and their donkey, the three Wise Men, tax collector and innkeeper, and
miners and musicians and other costumed townspeople. Columbia's Main Street is
decorated for the Christmas season, and luminaria light the way for the
procession, while on-lookers hold candles and join in singing Christmas carols.
Call: (209) 536-1672.
December 14, 2012 – Friday evening, 5 - 8 p.m.
6th Annual MERRY MERCHANTS
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the MERRY MERCHANTS invite you and yours to
enjoy an evening of old fashioned Christmas charm in Columbia! Shop in the
tradition of times gone by without the hustle and hassle of malls or traffic
jams. As you stroll through the Columbia State Historic Park on this enchanted
evening, listen to the sounds of the season—Christmas carols and songs performed
by local children, and stories told by storytellers. Delight in traditional
tastes—roasted chestnuts, hot gingerbread, and more; and warm yourself from the
inside out with cups of delicious hot holiday specialties. Enjoy a free carriage
ride on decorated Main Street. Fun for all ages. Call: (209) 536-1672, columbiacalifornia.com