Come to Coloma – come to the Gold Rush! One weekend every October, Coloma is filled with sights, sounds, scents, and hands-on experiences as costumed volunteers living in a tent encampment and working a recreated mining camp show us history. Merchants hawk their wares, musicians play period instruments and sing songs of the early immigrants, and children play games from the 19th century. Artists make pictures, tools, and clothes, visitors learn how to pan for gold and make candles and rope, and miners tell tales from the goldfields.
During the festival, visitors may rub shoulders with adventurers and historical figures, such as James Marshall, who found the nugget that started the California Gold Rush.
In the beautiful Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park under graceful trees, “Tent Town” is the site of much of the action. Near the main museum (where the food vendors are located), volunteers in period dress and tents will cook over open fires and demonstrate trades such as spinning, weaving, basket making and more. Wagon rides are available for hire. And an extra-special feature is free mail service in Tent Town! Folks can write letters (the old-fashioned way) in a General Delivery tent, and mail will be delivered by horse. Experience some of the many cultures that were here at this important time in history through Mexican and Spanish/Californio tents, the Miwok Village, and the Chinese Store museum.
There is even more fun activity across the street. See a blacksmith at work! Docents will be demonstrating period blacksmith techniques at the still-functioning Monroe Blacksmith shop on Main Street.
Also in the park, the historic Thomas and Capini Houses will be open on specific days for a special inside look. And for more fun, activity, and history, volunteers all three days will be in the area of Sutter’s Mill interpreting the building of the mill, the discovery of gold, and a carpenters’ cabin. Even more – right there along the river will be a re-creation of a 1849 mining camp. See it live!
Coloma Gold Rush Live! is presented by Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and the Gold Discovery Park Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the interpretation and conservation of the Park. There is a modest entry and parking fee. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is located in Coloma on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn.