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Humbug Day

North Bloomfield will come alive this weekend with the clang of iron in the blacksmith shop, the whinny of horses in the livery stable and the blast of an 1800’s-era water cannon.

Saturday marks the 41st annual Humbug Day, formerly known as “Homecoming” in the historic mining town of North Bloomfield. During the height of the hydraulic gold mining craze from 1875 to 1884, as many as 2,200 people lived in the town and worked at the nearby Malakoff Diggins.

Since then, the population has dwindled but has always been occupied by at least 10 residents, Ranger Christy Sherr said. She lives there with her husband and gives regular tours of the town.



“Homecoming” began as a reunion for families that had once lived in the old town. While most of the old-timers are gone, some of their descendants still come to swap stories, said Sherr.

“Humbug Day” is free and will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the heart of town ” now managed as a state park.




“Most people come because they want to see the parade and shooting of the water canon,” said Sherr.

All the historic buildings will be open including the drug store, general store, 1862 Skidmore House, livery stable, saloon, barbershop and museum.

Rock-n-Horse Ranch will hold wagon rides, there will be old fashioned children’s games and prizes, blacksmith demonstrations, and a gold panning trough open all day.

Other activities include candle dipping, tin punching, spinning, weaving, lace making, butter and ice cream making demonstrations.

“There will be lots of hands-on things for kids to do,” said Sherr.

The shooting of the water cannon and a parade will take place about 12:30 p.m. The public is invited to dress up in period costume and walk in the parade.

Chinese history tours and tours of historic plants growing in the area will also be available.

There will be a barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato and green salad, root beer floats, brownies, popcorn, snow cones and Lazy Dog dipped ice cream.

Live music will be performed by the local Bluegrass band, Mountain Laurel and the Anderson Family Bluegrass Band, whose youngest performer is 3 years old. Rick Toles: “Alkali – Last of the 49ers” will provide gold rush history and music.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail laurab@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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