All aboard for Railroad Days

  The city of Portola is all aboard and gearing up for the 32nd annual Railroad Days celebration from Aug. 16 to 18. As one of the highlights of the summer for Eastern Plumas County, this year’s festival promises to bring freights of fun and festivities to the public.

  “We’re ready,” said the chairperson of the Friends of Portola Railroad Days Committee, Patricia Ryan. “We’re finalizing everything and we’re really looking forward to it.”

  Throughout the year the Railroad Days Committee has been meeting and working to gather funding and ideas for a successful weekend.

  “It’s become the end of the summer event,” said Ryan. “It brings the community together and gives them a chance to spend the whole day at relatively low cost.”

  The long-standing tradition of Railroad Days was established to celebrate Portola’s rich history as a railroad town. It also provides an opportunity for Portola’s community spirit to come out in full force, as many of the events held during the celebration are fundraisers for local community organizations.

  The weekend will kick off with Friday evening’s Ice Cream Social and Music at the Park. The festivities at Portola City Park will feature live music by local band Stratus, and free ice cream for all starting at 7 p.m. until 10.

  From morning till night, Saturday will bring exciting events for all ages. The day will start with the Men’s Softball Tournament at 8 a.m., which is a fundraiser for the Portola High School softball team.

  The annual Gold Spike Parade will begin at 11 a.m., and prior to that there will be vendors and activities for the kids at the park.

  There will be a shuttle throughout the day to take members of the public through town to the railroad museum and back. It will also stop on Commercial Street for anyone who might want to peruse the colorful shops in downtown Portola.

  At noon, after the parade, there will be a closest-to-the-pin golf tournament, a fly-fishing demo and contest, and a classic car “Cruise In” at the park.

  The public is also invited to cool down for free with a splash in the public pool throughout the afternoon.

  There will be a basketball free-throw tournament starting at 1:30 and the highly acclaimed Lucky Duck Race at 3. As a fundraiser for the Portola Preschool, the race will determine which rubber ducky can float down the river the quickest. To watch the race, be sure to gather by the bridge over the Feather River.

  Also during the day, western re-enactors Badges, Bandits and Bloomers will put on gun fighting shows for spectators. They will be doing gun safety demonstrations for the kids as well.

  Another evening of music and dancing will follow the events of the day, with music from Rock Bottom Band starting at 7, and Sunday will feature the 2013 Willie Tate Memorial Run at 9 a.m.

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