Heritage Days and Miners Rally Aug. 15-17

OROVILLE – Preparations are underway for the fifth annual Oroville Heritage Days, as well as the NW Miners Rally to be held in Oroville Aug. 15-17.

The 2008 Heritage Days are presented by the Okanogan Borderlands Historical Society and will feature several events including an Antique Tractor Show on Main Street near the railroad tracks.

Heritage Days starts off on Friday with a dance featuring the group Rusty Spurs. The dance will take place at the Depot from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

On Saturday there will be a Heritage Walk from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Costumed leaders will guide participants in a walk to pre-1920’s buildings in the central part of Oroville. The Farmer’s Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Meanwhile, Art in the Park will take place at Madeline Wells Park behind the library. Art in the Park is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be craft demonstrations at the Depot from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. and the Oroville Garden Club will have a yard sale on the balcony there from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Cascade and Columbia River Railroad will provide a train engine for people to check out at the end of the tracks on the east side of Main Street (Hwy. 97).

The Tractor Show includes an “Around the Block” procession, an extra slow race and a two block race. The general show is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16 with the Around the Block procession at 12:30 p.m. and the races beginning at 1 p.m.

Music featuring Kent Halverson and six other groups is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bruce Tweedy and his musical glasses will be at Yo Yo’s Restaurant at 10 am. and 2 p.m. Ice cream sundaes and Centennial cake will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bruce Tweedy will hang up his guns and perform his last ever fast draw demonstration at the Depot steps at 12 p.m.

The NW Miners Rally and Gold Festival is a three day event Aug. 15-17 which will be at the City Park (the one behind the Oroville Visitor Information Center) again this year. The event, sponsored by the Resources Coalition, attracts small-scale and recreational miners from throughout the northwest, but everyone is invited to come and learn about prospecting, according to Mark Erickson, president of the Resources Coalition.

Like in past years, the rally, now in its sixth year, will include demonstrations of various techniques in small scale gold mining, as well as allow a chance for some hands-on learning. A tour of Kinross’ Buckhorn Project is planned for Friday. The tour is on a first-come-first-served basis with just 20 tickets available and starts from the park at 9 a.m.

“The Miner’s Rally itself will begin at noon in order to give the vendors a chance to set up,” said Erickson. “Every vendor said they were excited to come back this year… they were all extremely happy with the turnout last year and said they did very well.”

Last year the rally, in its first year at the City Park location, had about 2000 people stop by, according to Erickson, who adds the event has gotten inquiries from as far away as Upstate New York this year.

“The old location at River Oaks RV Park was nice because it was near the river, but I think being close to the highway downtown we were able to attract more people who might not have seen us at our old spot which was kind of remote,” Erickson said.

According to the Resource Coalition’s website, the “NW Miners Rally is organized to allow the public to meet, participate and learn what small-scale mining and prospecting is really about by participating in activities with real miners.”

“Prospector Ed” from Riverside will be among the guest speakers at the rally, according to Erickson.

“He is an amazing resource… he has the degrees and pedigrees behind him. He is very knowledgeable in relation to mining,” he said. “This year he will be giving a demonstration of his method of fire assaying.”

The rally goes from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. There is no charge to participate and there will be free drawings for prizes three times a day on Saturday.