Celebrating its 77th year, Winthrop’s ’49er Days is an old west heritage festival that recalls the Methow Valley’s colorful past. The three days of activities — Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 6-8 — are presented by the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce and Washington Outfitters and Guides Association (WOGA). Other sponsors include Pardner’s Mini Market, VIP Cascades Insurance Agency, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, East 20 Pizza and Pine Near RV Park.
Here’s a schedule of events to help plan your weekend. The activities are free unless otherwise noted.
FRIDAY, MAY 6
- Noon: The annual WOGA Ride to Rendezvous wagon train arrives in downtown Winthrop along Riverside Avenue. Watch the horses and wagons ride through town after spending five days on the Methow Valley’s backcountry trails.
Shafer Museum open
The Shafer Historical Museum on Castle Avenue opens for the season during ’49er Days. The museum buildings will be open, and docents available, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (May 6-8) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; the grounds and outdoor displays are open during all daylight hours. The museum can also be accessed by a stairway on Highway 20 across from the Hotel Rio Vista. Admission is by donation; suggested minimum is $5 per adult. Kids are free. The Shafer will be open Fridays through Sundays throughout May. For more information, visit www.shafermuseum.org.
SATURDAY, MAY 7
- 10:30 a.m.: West Coast Country Heat dancing team; wild west shoot-out.
- 11 a.m.: The annual ’49er Days parade proceeds up Riverside Avenue, featuring pack strings, horses, floats, music, mountain men, old-time vehicles and much more. Look for this year’s ’49er Days Grand Lady Marva Mountjoy and Marshal Jim Mountjoy, as well as junior royalty Jadyn Mitchell, Elanna Doran and Bailey Thomson. You’ll see them around town throughout the weekend as well. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries in each category. Parade entry forms, due by Friday (May 6) are available at https://winthropwashington.com/events/western-heritage/entry-form.
- Noon-2 p.m.: Old-fashioned games for kids in front of Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe on Riverside Avenue, including egg toss, pie-eating, hula hoop, egg relay, rock-paper-scissors and gummy bear spitting.
- Noon-4 p.m.: Food vendors Mountain Meals Catering, Saskatoon Kitchens and Methow Valley Ciderhouse be available on Riverside Avenue.
- 1-5 p.m.: Mechanical bull rides on Riverside Avenue, no charge.
- 6-7 p.m.: line dancing lessons will be offered by West Coast Country Heat.
- 7 p.m.: Street dance 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.
Mack Lloyd Park
- Noon: Winthrop Kiwanis will offer barbecue pulled pork sandwiches until 2 p.m. or until they sell out.
- 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.
- 5-6:30 p.m.: WOGA’s annual outfitters dinner will be served, including steak, barbecue and Dutch oven fixings, for $25.
SUNDAY, MAY 8
Mack Lloyd Park
- 8-10 a.m.: WOGA offers Mother’s Day cowboy breakfast. Cost is $10.
- 10 a.m.: packers’ demonstration.
For more information, visit https://winthropwashington.com/events/old-west-festival; or http://www.woga.org.