Mountain Heritage Days ... a time to remember

A variety of activities pay tribute to the past: Parade, sluice box derby and community dinner highlight the weekend.

Brian WilkinsonSeptember 12, 2012 

Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park comes alive this weekend as the community gathers for the 16th Annual Mountain Heritage Days in honor of Oakhurst's pioneer days.

This year's them is 'Celebrating 100 years of Oakhurst,' paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of the town's name change from Fresno Flats to Oakhurst.

The event is sponsored by the Sierra Historic Sites Association.

A group of 24 Mountain Area descendants of residents of Fresno Flats in 1912 or before are serving as Grand Marshals for the event.

The Grand Marshalls include Phil and Adele (Bissett) Bartholomew, Roy and Barbara Bissett, Ralph and Betty Bissett, Jerry Reed, Anita Fulmer, George and Elaine Wright, Luci Sweet, Paula Starner, Barbara Norma Colbern, Carla (Colbern) Glazebrook (1975 Mountain Belle) and Pee Wee and Sonja Westfall.

The Grand Marshalls will be in Saturday's 10 a.m. Mountain Heritage Days parade riding on the Fresno Flats yellow wagon and in antique cars provided by the Road Rattlers car club.

Fresno Flats Village & Park on School Road (427) opens at 4 p.m. Friday with vendors, a silent auction, an ice cream social, children's activities and the park's gift shop and museum welcoming visitors. Silent auction items include a two-night stay at the Anaheim Marriott and Disneyland tickets, Hearst Castle tour tickets, vouchers for Oakland As and Los Angeles Dodger tickets and a Jackie Mallouf framed photograph. The auction closes at 4 p.m. Saturday

Fresno Flats volunteers are handling Fridays dinner with croissant chicken sandwiches along with soda for the children and beer for adults. At 6:30 p.m., the Golden Chain Theatre's mini-melodrama "A Fastidious Finagling Fiasco Fixing Fresno Flats" will be performed in the park's gazebo. In addition, the Golden Chain Singers will perform.

Parade 10 a.m. Saturday on School Road (427)

At 10 a.m. the Heritage Days Parade rolls down School Road (427) featuring bands from Yosemite, Minarets and Mariposa high schools along with the Coarsegold Elementary School band. The parade will also have horse-mounted riders, clowns, antique cars and classic hot rods, dance groups and several service organization floats.

Entries will include Smokey Bear, the Yosemite High School Cadet Corps, Golden Chain Theatre's Can Can dancers and members of the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst.

The parade route will head south on School Road (427) and then west on Crane Valley Road (426) past the Sierra Star, ending at Golden Oak Loop.

Robin Underwood of Underwood Insurance will continue his father's tradition of riding in the parade. His father, Tommie Underwood, died in March 2011, and Tommie participated in every parade since 1973, most of them with Robin by his side. Robin has sponsored six trophies for this year's parade in honor of his father.

Parade announcers will be at Fresno Flats, the corner of School Road and Crane Valley Road and in front of the Sierra Star on Crane Valley Road.

At the end of the parade all children who participates in the parade will receive popcorn and lemonade from Fresno Flats volunteers.

Parade awards will be presented at 2 p.m. at Fresno Flats.

Fresno Flats activities

The public is encouraged to visit Fresno Flats after the parade to see pioneer demonstrations including gold panning, the old print shop, blacksmith shop and quilt making, tatting and weaving and the Central Sierra Woodcarvers Society boot carving contest from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Costumed docents will welcome visitors to the Laramore-Lyman House, the Taylor Cabin and other buildings on the property.

The Children's Museum of the Sierra will be offering a variety of children's activities such as a giant sling shot, thermal photography and a 'messy' art table for children.

Miniature horses from the Diamond "W" Ranch will be available for photo opportunities.

Food booths will include hamburgers with secret sauce and hot dogs by the Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis Club, Mountain Bear Club sno cones, a bake sale in the museum and a cake walk from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. by the Yosemite High School volleyball team.

Belle the Balloon-a-Twister

Isabel Ramos, 13, will be at Mountain Heritage Days delighting children and adults alike with her animal balloon creations including dogs, pigs, rabbits, crabs and sea turtles. She will be at Fresno Flats Saturday noon to 4 p.m.

Children love watching Isabel make her balloon animals and she will be assisted by her sister, Ava, 9.

Bells's creations start at $1 and 10% of her proceeds are donated to charity.

Sluice Box Derby Saturday

The Lion's Club Sluice Box Derby for children 4 to 14 begins at 1 p.m. Saturday on Indian Springs Road behind Fresno Flats. Participants will be awarded trophies by District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler in three age divisions.

Children can register for the event the morning of the event for just $2 for a fun and fast ride down Indian Springs Road.

co-chairpersons of the event are AnnaDell White and Jackie Byers.

Details: AnnaDell White, (559) 676-7640

Wine and Cheese

The park's Beulah Mills Garden takes center stage for the 4-5:30 p.m. Mountain Heritage Days Wine and Cheese Reception.

The garden at the Laramore-Lyman House has been improved by volunteers from St Raphael's Church. Performing during the reception will be the Chambermaid Singers.

With the purchase of a Fresno Flats embossed wine glass comes three glasses of wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Community Barbecue

The community barbecue, featuring salmon and New York steak, will be served 6 p.m. Saturday at Fresno Flats.

The meal will be prepared by the Sierra sunrise and Sierra noon Rotary Clubs.

The dinner will also include baked potatoes prepared by the Elks Lodge and lemon Jell-O cake, provided by the Soroptimist International Club of the Sierras.

Musicians Joe Nelson and Jim Collier will perform civil war songs and music from the 1930s during dinner.

Cost of the dinner is $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

Dinner tickets are available at Dorsey's Hallmark in the Old Mill Shopping Center adjacent to Vons.

Major fund raiser for Fresno Flats

Mountain Heritage Days is an important fundraiser for the all-volunteer Sierra Historic Sites Association that manages and operates Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park.

The village recaptures the flavor of 19th Century in the Sierra Nevada foothills and Mountain Area of Eastern Madera County. The village consists of two restored and furnished homes dating to the 1870s. Both homes, Laramore-Lyman House and the Taylor Log House, have been designated by the State of California as Points of Historic Interest.

The village also features two one-room schools, two 19th Century jails, recreated blacksmith and print shops and a museum and gift shop.

Restoration and maintenance of the village since its inception in 1975 has been accomplished through donated labor, supplies and funds. The organization receives no state or county funding.

The museum gift shop has Oakhurst 100th Anniversary t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts for sale. Dorsey's Hallmark store also has commemorative t-shirt and caps with a percentage of proceeds going to the Consortium of Southern Yosemite Museums.

Details: Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park, (559) 683-6570,, Golden Chain period costumes, Mary Lou Finley, (559) 683-3789.

Event Schedule

Friday, Sept. 14

4-6 p.m. -- Children's activities

5 p.m. -- Vendors and craft booths, plus hot dog dinner with chips and soda for $5.

6:30-7:30 p.m. -- Centennial Melodrama and live music

There will also be a beer booth and silent auction open for bids.

Saturday, Sept. 15

10 a.m. -- Vendors/crafts

10-11 a.m. -- Parade

11 a.m. -- Silent auction open for bid

12-3 p.m. -- Food booths/beverages

12-3 p.m. -- Children's art activities

12:30-2:30 p.m. -- Cake walk each half hour

1 p.m. -- Sluice Box Derby

2 p.m. -- Parade awards

4 p.m. -- Silent auction closes

4-5:30 p.m. -- Wine and cheese reception with Chambermaid Singers

5:30 p.m. -- Barbecue dinner with live music

For information or tickets to the barbecue dinner, call (559) 683-6570.

General Information

12-3 p.m. -- Historic Sites buildings open for guided tours

12-4 p.m. -- Historic Sites gift shop open for business

There will also be demonstrations all day including:

Gold panning



Wood carving

Quilt show

Pine needle basket making

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