Angels Camp returned to its wild west roots on Saturday for the Mark Twain Wild West Fest, in celebration of the town’s most revered visitor: Mark Twain.
Thousands of attendees walked through Main Street to enjoy the Wild West-theme attractions, from western shootouts and tomahawk throwing instructions, to western-inspired singalongs and informational booths.
“The turnout is really great to see for the little city of Angels Camp,” said Amada Anderson, who attended the event with her husband, Ace, and two children Cash, 3, and Lane, 1. “The weather didn’t stop anyone.”
The event lasted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., during which time attendees were able to enjoy food provided by local vendors and restaurants.
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., a musical festival was held in Utica Park for those looking for some extended partying past the regular festival hours.
Karen Ewens came all the way from South Carolina to enjoy the event. According to Ewens, events like the Wild West Fest give her an opportunity to feel like she’s back at home.
“I missed the west,” said Ewens. “It’s something I wanted to come back for. I’m really enjoying seeing the old frontier store shops and hearing the Gold Rush history.”
That sense of Gold Rush history was a feel that festival organizer Stella Maguire said the organizing board was trying to capture in planning the event.
“We’re really pleased with the turnout,” said Maguire. “With the weather, you never know what’s going to happen, but I think people wanted to come out and recognize and celebrate our history.
The Kit Carson Mountain Man Club descended from the mountains of Amador county to show onlookers how to properly light a flint, fire a flint-lock rifle and throw a tomahawk into a stump of wood. The group performed alongside Southern Comfort, a Sacramento based singing group.
“I wish there was some more people to see it,” said Randy Martin, president of the Kit Carson Mountain Man Club. “We had some good participation with some of the shows, but that didn’t matter. Anything to pick up the buckskin.”
Ken O’Neil, 62, from Rocklin, showed up the event in a steampunk costume, a spinoff of the western genre. Spray painted Nerf gun in hand, O’Neil said that the event gave him an opportunity to share his hobby of steampunk.
“I’m having a great time,” said O’Neil. “It’s a great place to be. It may have taken a while to get here, but it’s been so much fun.”
The Wild West Fest replaces the former Gold Rush Days, which was held every fall until the Butte Fire cancelled the 2015 event.
The Wild West festival was sponsored by Sutton Enterprise, Carson Hill concrete, the Calaveras Cannabis Alliance, Sonora Region Medical, Cal-Waste and a host of other sponsors that can be found on the event’s website.