'49er Days starts Friday

Wagon train rolls into town to kick off Old West celebration

Royalty are, from left, Kay Dee Sims, Lily White and Monica Chavey.

Credit: Winthrop Chamber of Commerce
Royalty are, from left, Kay Dee Sims, Lily White and Monica Chavey.

— The 70th annual ‘49er Days celebration, with the theme “Ashes to Sunflowers,” will be Friday through Sunday in town.

It features packers and pack strings, cowboys and cowgirls, the Wells Fargo stagecoach, a wagon train and plenty of Western events, music and fun, organizers said.

Festivities kick off at noon Friday when the 17th annual Washington Outfitters and Guides Association Ride to Rendezvous horse and wagon train arrives downtown.

“Come and watch the horses and wagons ride through town after spending five days on Methow Valley’s back country trails,” ‘49ers organizers with the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce said.

Saturday brings performances by the Vigilantes and the West Coast Country Heat Line Dancers at 10:30 a.m. on Riverside Avenue. The 70th annual ‘49er Days parade begins at 11 a.m. on Riverside Avenue.

Motorists on state Highway 20 will be detoured around downtown during the parade, the state Department of Transportation said.

“The parade promises more horses, mules and pack strings than any event in Washington,” organizers said. “Special this year, a piece of history is rolling into town with the legendary Wells Fargo stagecoach.”

In the days of the frontier, Wells Fargo stagecoaches carried passengers, mail and valuables from town to town across 3,000 miles of American territory.

For the parade, prizes will be awarded for the best entries in each category.

Sheri’s Sweet Shop, 207 Riverside Ave., will offer old-fashioned games, including pie-eating, gummy bear spitting and egg-throwing contests.


Winthrop Chamber of Commerce

Grand Lady and Marshal are Carol and John Lester.

Beginning at noon in Winthrop Park, outfitters and guides will gather for their 27th annual Packers Rendezvous. Friends and families are invited to stroll through the park all afternoon and visit the display and mountain men camps, try a taste of Dutch oven cooking, visit vendors and watch packing demonstrations.

The Methow Valley Snowmobile Association and Winthrop Kiwanis Club will offer brats, hot dogs and pulled-pork barbecue sandwiches until 2 p.m.

Starting at noon, bandshell performers will include Lauralee Northcott, the Columbia Chapter of Western Music Association and other local musicians. They will offer cowboy songs, Western music and poetry. The Fairfax Junior High School band will perform at 4:30 p.m.

An outfitters’ dinner starts at 5 p.m. in the park, followed by cowboy music, poetry and campfire stories at 7 p.m. in the Barn, 51 state Highway 20. A family Western dance is at 9:30 p.m. in the Barn.

Sunday brings at cowboy breakfast from 8-10 a.m. From 10 a.m. to noon, visitors can participate in an auction and cheer on the professional outfitters competing in the state packing competition.

Royalty for the weekend are Queen Lily White and Princesses Monica Chavey and Kay Dee Sims, and Grand Lady and Grand Marshal Carol and John Lester.


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