Old-fashioned fun at Pioneer Day today | TheUnion.com
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Old-fashioned fun at Pioneer Day today

Pioneer Day returns to Smartsville today. The local tradition honors the early pioneers who came to California for gold and stayed to raise their families.

Festivities kick off at 9 a.m. and go until 4 p.m. in downtown Smartsville, located just off State Route 20, about halfway between Marysville and Grass Valley.

Organized by the Smartsville Church Restoration Fund, Inc., the nonprofit organization working to restore the historic former Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, Pioneer Day offers guided tours, music on stage, historic personage interpretations at the new Timbuctoo Theater venue, food, exhibits and displays, arts and crafts vendors, children's activities, games, and lots of plain old fun.

Guided tours of the town site of Sucker Flat and the hydraulic mining sites will be conducted almost continuously during the day. The former Catholic Church, constructed in 1871, will be open for inspection so that recent restoration work can be observed, and numerous other local Smartsville historical sites will be identified on a map for self-guided tours.

New this year is the Timbuctoo Theater, an expanded storytelling area where experts and family members of pioneers will give visitors unique insights into life in the early days of Smartsville and Timbuctoo. Characters may include Black Bart, Lotta Crabtree, Mary Covillaud, Mark Twain and Lola Montez.

Vendors will be selling handmade arts and crafts, food and historical items. Local history books, as well as a variety of souvenirs, will be on sale.

Pioneer Day is meant to be a family friendly festival with activities and entertainment that are also oriented to children. Everyone is encouraged to come in Gold Rush-era costumes.

Music on stage will feature Beau Bevitori, the OCD band from Yuba City, the Stamp Mill Stompers, a Dixieland group from the Nevada County Concert Band, the Rough and Ready Fruit Jar Pickers and more.

In addition, a raffle of items from local merchants will be conducted, a number of demonstrations of old-fashioned craftsmanship will be available, and there will be activities for all ages. The general public is invited and admission is free. All proceeds will go toward restoration of the historic former Catholic Church.

For detailed information on Pioneer Day 2014, visit PioneerDay.info. The church restoration website is SmartsvilleChurchRestoration.org. Call Kit Burton at 530-743-0413 or Kathy Smith at 916-838-2757 for information and answers to specific questions. Volunteers are appreciated.