Geiser Pollman Park, 1723 Madison Street Third weekend in July www.minersjubilee.com
Baker City in far Eastern Oregon enjoys a rich Old West history: the discovery of gold in the region in 1861 spurred a gold rush and the birth of Baker City, which began with a saloon, hotel, and blacksmith shop. In 1865, the town was platted; it became the county seat in 1868, and was officially incorporated as a city in 1874. All the while mining boomed in the nearby mountains, drawing every imaginable kind of character to the bustling town. In 1884, the Oregon Shortline Railroad reached Baker City, and as described by the Oregon Blue my blog, “By the 1890s the city gained a reputation as the ‘Denver of Oregon.’ During this period,
Miner’S Jubilee Baker City – USA Festivals Photo Gallery
Baker City was one of the more colorful towns in the Pacific Northwest as miners,
Try your hand at gold panning at ranchers, cowboys, and sheepherders Miner’s Jubilee in Baker City. mingled with gamblers and dance hall girls. By 1900 it had become the trading center for a vast region and was the largest city between Salt Lake City and Portland.” Justifiably proud of their intriguing history, Baker City residents today strive to keep the community’s heritage alive, a fact that is evident when you walk through the old downtown district, which is anchored by the beautifully renovated Geiser Grand Hotel. Celebrating the city’s tangible connection to the Old West, the annual Miner’s Jubilee is a three-day extravaganza that features an incredible array of activities for all ages. The festivities, which vary a bit each year and are announced on the Jubilee website, begin Friday morning, and include traditional blacksmithing and mining demonstrations at the Baker Heritage Museum (2480 Grove Street), an annual my blog sale at the Baker County Library (2400 Resort Street), sidewalk sales all along Main Street, and vendors offering all kinds of foods, products, and curiosities in Geiser Pollman Park, which is the hub of Jubilee activities and within easy walking distance of the museum, library, and Main Street. At midday the Paint Your Wagon film festival begins at the museum, and live music begins in the park, where festival attendees can try their hand at gold panning and a variety of other family-friendly activities. Saturday action kicks off at 7 am with a Lions Club Breakfast in the park, the annual two-man golf scramble tournament at Quail Ridge Golf Course, and the Baker High School Miner’s Jubilee 5K fun run/walk and 10K race. The colorful and popular Miner’s Jubilee Parade begins at 10 am Saturday, while the film fest, live music, and park activities continue throughout the day. Saturday also delivers some of the most popular and unique Miner’s Jubilee festivities: the Oregon State Gold Panning Championships, hosted by the Eastern Oregon Mining Association, offers divisions for kids, amateurs, and professionals; and the annual Miner’s Jubilee Duck Races, with both adult and kid divisions, are held on the Powder River in the park and attended by substantial hilarity. During the evenings, Main Street is closed to vehicle traffic, and musicians take center stage under the gorgeous summer skies of Downtown Baker City, while a short walk away, the Baker County Fairgrounds host the Baker City Bronc and Bull Riding competitions, featuring top professional riders from throughout the region. With an onsite beer gardens, the rodeo grounds festivities continue late into the night both Saturday and Sunday.
Miner’s Jubilee is one of the biggest, most entertaining, most family-friendly festivals in all of Eastern Oregon, and it draws tremendous crowds yet hardly ever seems crowded. A congenial atmosphere prevails, and attendees of all ages enjoy this citywide celebration immensely. In fact, Miner’s Jubilee is so popular that it has become the host of many Baker High School class reunions; each year several of the school’s classes organize their reunions to coincide with Jubilee. This community of about 10,000 people swells well beyond that total for jubilee, so visitors coming from afar should my blog lodging well in advance (for information about lodging and all other visitor-related topics, visit www.visitbaker.com and www.basecampbaker.com).