Winthrop celebrates its pioneer heritage
It’s year 77 for ’49er Days, Winthrop’s annual spring celebration of its colorful Western heritage, and the weekend of May 6-8 will offer a full weekend of family-friendly events.
As usual, things get started a noon on Friday (May 6) when participants in the annual Ride to Rendezvous, a week-long horse packing excursion through the Methow Valley high country organized by the Washington Outfitters and Guides Association (WOGA), finish their journey in downtown Winthrop at about noon. The parade of wagons, pack animals and horseback riders is well worth watching.
Look for this year’s ’49er Days Grand Lady Marva Mountjoy and Marshal Jim Mountjoy, as well as junior royalty Jadyn Mitchell, Alanna Doran and Bailey Thomson, in the entourage. You’ll see them around town throughout the weekend as well.
Saturday’s (May 7) activities begin with what has become a traditional performance by the West Coast County Heat dance team stepping lively down Riverside Avenue, starting at 10:30 a.m. Next up is the big attraction, the annual ’49er Days Parade along Riverside Avenue, arriving from its staging and starting point on Corral Street via Bluff Street. The event features more pack strings than any parade in the state, along with floats, music, more horses and a variety of other participants.
After the parade, from noon-2 p.m. kids can take part in a number of free, old-fashioned games in front of Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe on Riverside Avenue, including egg toss, pie-eating, hula hoop, egg relay, rock-paper-scissors and gummi bear spitting. From 1-5 p.m., give mechanical bull rides on Riverside Avenue a try at no charge.
At the park
Beginning at noon in Mack Lloyd Park, Winthrop Kiwanis will offer barbecue pulled pork sandwiches until 2 p.m. or until they sell out.
From 1- 4 p.m., WOGA members will gather for visiting, festive old-time music and story-telling. Follow the crowds to the Mountain Man Camp, where you can try your hand at ax-tossing. Look for local vendors in the park, and visit displays by the Okanogan and Wenatchee Nations for an authentic Native Peoples’ representation. The band shell will feature a remembrance ceremony for Fred Duzan and Ray Al Suzy. There will be an open mic at the band shell — cowboy songs and poetry are encouraged.
The annual outfitters dinner will be from 5-6:30 p.m. in the park — steak, barbecue and Dutch oven fixings for $25.
Back on Riverside Avenue, line dancing lessons will be offered by West Coast Country Heat from 6-7 p.m., followed by a street dance at 7 p.m. featuring music by the Johnny Green and the Pack String band. The sponsoring Winthrop Chamber of Commerce asks a $10 donation to cover the cost of the band; kids 12 and under are free. A beer garden will be provided by Old Schoolhouse Brewery.
On Sunday (May 8) at Mack Lloyd Park, WOGA hosts a Mother’s Day cowboy breakfast from 8-10 a.m. for $10. At 10 a.m., there will be a packers’ demonstration.
For complete information, visit https://winthropwashington.com/events/western-heritage; or www.woga.org.