California Festivals


Gold Nugget Days Paradise California

PARADISE - Gold Nugget Days April 25-26, 2015

Gold Nugget Parade Saturday, April 25, 2015 N00n

Full schedule:

Gold Nugget Days is an annual event that began in 1959 to celebrate the discovery of a 54-pound gold nugget 100 years earlier  in 1859.

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Opening Ceremonies/ Queen Contest Paradise Performing Arts Center, 7pm

Friday, April 25,  2014
Highlanders and Miners Ball, Tickets are $25 in advance $30 per person at the door, Veteran’s Hall, 6:30 pm, 2 Bands: Ha’Penny Bridge and Big Mo & the Full Moon Band along with the Thirsty Miner Pub

Saturday, April 26, 2014
Donkey Derby, Old Magalia, 9am – 10 am
Parade, Skyway 12 pm
Children’s Art Contest, Paradise Depot, 12pm – 4 pm
Carnival and Petting Zoo, Museum Grounds, 12 pm – 4 pm
Cowboy Chow Deep Pit BBQ, Museum grounds, 1:30pm – 4 pm
Children’s Costume Contest, Museum Grounds, 2 pm
Melodrama, Paradise Performing Arts Center, 7 pm

Sunday, April 27, 2014
Barbecue Hoagie Lunch, Museum grounds, 12 pm
Children’s Art Contest, Paradise Depot, 12pm – 4 pm
Carnival and Petting Zoo, Museum Grounds, 12 pm – 4 pm
Melodrama, Paradise Performing Arts Center, 2pm
Drawing of registered badges for the gold nugget, Museum, 4 pm
Posted on March 11, 2014, at 8:02 pm


The gold nugget was found in Dogtown. Today's event commemorates California's heritage and rich roots, with a fun four days filled activities and entertainment. Among them are the Tent City.  The re-enactment includes actors (real people) dressed and living as miners once did along the West Branch of the Feather River. Panning, rockers with sluice boxes, hard rock, and dry mining are terms you'll get to know--all about looking for gold.  The miners had lives, as well, so you get to see them breaking the law--and see justice served.  Visit Mrs. Bassett's cabin, the trading post, and the undertaker. Also open are the blacksmith's shop, the schoolhouse, and the Wells Fargo Assay Office with its replica of the Dogtown Nugget.

Unlike the beauty queen contests where young ladies wear swimsuits and sing, the Gold Nugget Queen is chosen by most authentically creating a period costume of the 1850-1899 era. The candidates are judged on the historical accuracy of their costumes, the quality of the portfolios, their poise and demeanor and their appearance. The dress is the most important factor.

In addition, there's a children's costume contest  where kids must dress in period clothing with prizes awarded.

Dogtown Revue is a hoot!  This variety show with music, dancing, comedy, and skits -- all showcasing the range of talent on the Ridge takes place one night during the festival at the Paradise Performing Arts Center.

Donkey Derby on Saturday commemorates the race up the hill to Dogtown to show off their good fortune when miners found the 54-pound gold nugget at Whiskey Flat in April 1859. During today's race, donkey and driver teams compete to get up the hill to Magalia community center and through an obstacle course-while carrying 54-pound weights.

If you think a small city named Paradise doesn't have fun, this is one of the best events of the year to discover where the real Paradise in California exists.  Discovery is around every bend during the Gold Rush commemoration. Businesses paint windows, put up decorations and displays and encourage their employees to dress according to the theme. Merchants support the festivities, as well.

Sunday at the Gold Nugget Museum is a festive day with food, music and a time to relax after all the big events of Gold Nugget Saturday. There are hoagie lunches for sale, lots of music, gold panning, blacksmithing and friendly faces.

The events listed were from a typical annual event and are subject to change!


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