Rough and Ready shares its unique history
Although it may seem taboo to celebrate a secession from the United States in the current era of patriotic fervor, that’s exactly what residents and visitors of Rough and Ready will do this Sunday.
At least 2,000 spectators are expected to attend the town’s 36th annual Secession Day Celebration which commemorates the time when this mining town seceded from the Union in 1850 and created its own “peaceful independent republic” for three months, according to the Rough and Ready Chamber of Commerce Web site: http://www.roughandready chamber.com.
When residents formed The Great Republic of Rough and Ready, the town earned the title of the world’s “newest and smallest nation,” before rejoining the Union on July 4 of the same year, the chamber Web site states.
“It’s an anomaly of history,” said Everette Burkard, Rough and Ready Chamber of Commerce secretary.
Burkard, who has been involved in Secession Day for 16 years, expects this Sunday’s celebration to be similar to past celebrations, which means “old costumes, old cars and old-timers.”
Highlights include stories about this mining town’s history told by Larry Filer, one of Rough and Ready’s oldest residents and a former Nevada County supervisor, on the main stage at 9 a.m.
Following Filer’s old stories, the Rough and Ready Rascals will perform “The Ongoing Saga of Rough and Ready,” the play that has preserved the secession story for the past 36 years.
The Gra-Neva A’s antique car group and the Horseless Carriage Club members will drive 19th century cars and carriages through Rough and Ready during the 1 p.m. parade.
The Ladies Auxiliary Club will raffle off a handmade quilt patterned with patriotic folk art as well as other donated items at 3 p.m. All proceeds will go to the Rough and Ready Fire Department for radios, protective fire gear and other equipment needed to maintain the volunteer force, Ladies Auxiliary Club President Carolyn Gannon said.
Food and refreshments will be served all day, starting with the Chuck Wagon breakfast served by the Rough and Ready Fire Department on the post office lawn from 7:30 a.m. until about 11:30 a.m.
W.H. Fippin’s Blacksmith shop, where visitors can help make horseshoes and copper plates, is likely to be a popular attraction again for younger visitors at Secession Day, Burkard said.
Bill Knorr, Rough and Ready Secession Day Celebration’s blacksmith, will provide demonstrations throughout the day.
Although Secession Day does not provide revenue for the town of Rough and Ready, according to Burkard, the event is worth it as long as visitors relax and enjoy themselves.
“I hope everyone has fun,” he said. “It’s a day to kick back and celebrate a humorous event in history.”
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Rough and Ready Secession Day Celebration
WHEN: Sunday from 7:30 a.m. until about 4 p.m.
WHERE: Rough and Ready Grange, 14550 Rough and Ready Highway
INFORMATION: Everette Burkard at 432-1501
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