The Western village of Winthrop once again provides an authentic backdrop for the town’s annual ’49er Days celebration, a salute to the valley’s pioneering past and spirit that is now in its 72nd year.
Festivities start on Friday (May 12), and continue through Sunday (May 14), which is also Mother’s Day. Take mom to breakfast.
“Get Your Ass to Winthrop’s ’49er Days” is the 2017 theme, although you don’t really need a donkey to take part or be a spectator — there will be more than a few in the parade.
At noon on Friday, the 19th annual Ride to Rendezvous wagon train arrives in downtown Winthrop after spending five days on Methow Valley’s back country trails. The ride is sponsored by the Washington Outfitters and Guides Association (WOGA, www.woga.org). At 7 p.m. in the Winthrop Barn, gather for entertainment and the coronation of Grand Lady and Marshal Roxie and Carl Miller, along with junior royalty Queen KanDee Sims and Princess Emily Paul.
On Saturday, the Vigilantes — a comical group of madcap cowboys — and the West Coast Country Heat line dancers will perform at 10:30 a.m. on Riverside Avenue. The big parade begins at 11 a.m. along Riverside Avenue, starting from Bluff Street. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries in each category. You can enter the parade up until 4 p.m. on Friday. For an entry form, got to www.winthropwashington.com.
Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe will host fun, old-fashioned games, including a pie-eating contest, a gummy bear-spitting contest and an egg-throwing contest.
Beginning at noon in Mack Lloyd Park, WOGA members will gather for their 29th annual Packer’s Rendezvous, which will feature outfitter displays and mountain men camps, Dutch oven cooking and various vendors. The Methow Valley Snowmobile Association and the Winthrop Kiwanis will offer brats, hot dogs and barbeque pulled pork sandwiches until 2 p.m., or until they sell out.
In the band shell at Lloyd Park, the line-up of performers includes Lauralee Northcott, a founder of the Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band, the Columbia Chapter of the Western Music Association, Johny Green & His Pack String, and other local musicians who will entertain with cowboy songs, western music and poetry beginning at 1 p.m. At 4 p.m. the Fairview Middle School Marching Band will perform.
WOGA’s outfitter dinner ($25) starts at 5 p.m. in the park. Cowboy music, poetry and campfire stories will follow in the Winthrop Barn at 7 p.m. ($10). Then at 9:30 p.m., the family western dance begins ($7), featuring music by The Outlaws.
On Sunday, WOGA will host a Mother’s Day breakfast from 8-10 a.m. in the park ($10). From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., visitors are invited to participate in an auction and cheer on the professional outfitters competing in the State Packing Competition.
’49er Days is presented by the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Outfitters and Guides Association. This year’s sponsors include Pardners Mini Mart, Bunkhouse Inn, Winthrop KOA, Hank’s Harvest Foods, Freestone Inn, Aspen Grove, Pine Near RV Park, Rocking Horse Bakery, Thunderfoot Riding & Training, Miss Kitty’s Old Time Photo and Donna Martin Dressmaker.
For more information, visit www.winthropwashington.com, email email@example.com, or call 996-2125.