WINTHROP Celebrating western life for 69 years, this weekend’s ‘49er Days is packed full of tradition mixed with modern entertainment.
Festivities kick off at noon Friday when the Ride to Rendezvous, a cavalcade of about 150 horseback and wagon riders, rolls into town after four days traveling through the mountains.
Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Kristen Smith said there are no major changes to this year’s event.
At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the Vigilantes and West Coast Country Heat dancers make their return to ‘49er Days performing in front of Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon, 176 Riverside Ave.
The groups will join in on the ‘49er Days parade, themed “Buckboards and Petticoats,” at 11 a.m.
While an estimate of parade entries wasn’t available Monday, “I do know entries have been coming in steadily,” Smith said. “People can show up the morning of the parade and join.”
Smith noted that “it would be great” to have more representation from the Omak-Okanogan area.
The parade will be led by the 2014 Lady and Grand Marshal, Lois McLean and Ken Westman; as well as the junior royalty, Queen Vanessa Smith and princesses Lily Darwood and Katherine Tannehill.
Right after the parade, children’s games will take place in front of Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe, 207 Riverside Ave.
Games include the egg toss, a pie-eating contest, international gummy bear spitting and more.
At noon in Winthrop Park, people can browse display camps hoisted by the Washington Outfitters and Guides Association, check out the Mountain Men camp, munch on food offered by several vendors and listen to cowboy songs and poetry by Lauralee Northcott in the band shell.
Local musicians and members of the Columbia Chapter of the Western Music Association will also perform.
At 4:30 p.m., the Fairfax Junior High School Band will take the stage.
The Outfitters’ dinner in the park will be from 5-6 p.m. A fee is charged.
The Winthrop Barn, 51 state Highway 20, will liven up at about 7 p.m. Saturday with cowboy poetry, music and campfire stories. A country western family dance is at 9:30 p.m. Admission is charged for both events.
Things stay active through early Sunday afternoon. The Outfitters serve up a Mother’s Day cowboy breakfast from 8-10 a.m. in Winthrop Park. There is a charge per plate.
A live auction and state packing competition runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when cowboys show how fast they can wrap their gear and load a mule.
Horses, riders head for town
WINTHROP – About 150 horseback and wagon riders rose bright and early Tuesday morning at their camp on the rodeo grounds before departing on a four-day trip around the mountains.
“The Ride the Rendezvous folks report that they had record interest in this year’s ride, which leaves for the hills tomorrow,” Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Kristen Smith said Monday. “There are people coming from all over the U.S. to join in.”
This is the 16th year for the Ride to Rendezvous, hosted by the Washington Outfitters and Guides Association.
The Outfitters take a different route every year, and this one has been traveled about three times, spokeswoman Marva Mountjoy said.
The riders were scheduled to arrive in Twisp at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The route took them from there under the town cross, over Boulder Creek and up over the Rendezvous, with plans to arrive in Winthrop by noon Friday to kick off ‘49er Days weekend, Mountjoy said.