Railroad Days set to energize Portola
8/8/2014Classic cars sparkle in the sunlight as bass break the surface of the water, pulled by eager anglers. The crack of musket fire echoes through the air, and fresh burgers sizzle as ice cream chills the sound of rock and roll beats.
When Railroad Days returns to Portola for the 32nd time Aug. 8 – 10, it will bring a full slate of activities designed to engage the county in a weekend of city pride.
“We’re going back to our roots, back to being a community event,” Railroad Days committee member and organizer Patricia Ryan said.
To spotlight local businesses, history and causes, the event features a co-ed softball tournament, the Golden Spike Parade, open community pool sessions from noon to 5 p.m. every day, a vintage car show, music from the Trippin King Snakes and Western gunfights from Badges, Bandits and Bloomers.
As part of the effort to “put the railroad back in Railroad Days,” the Western Pacific Railroad Museum will also offer all-day train rides in addition to free admission over the weekend.
Ryan highlighted the event’s philanthropic priorities. Admission is free, and many activities benefit Portola’s schools and charitable societies.
“Railroad Days is pretty unique because it brings together many different organizations,” Ryan said. “So it becomes a fundraising event for many different causes — the Graeagle Lions Club, the chamber of commerce running the beverage booth, the Portola Pre-School with the Lucky Duck Race, the Willie Tate Memorial Run for a memorial scholarship. The softball tournament is a fundraiser for the high school softball team, and the top prize for the bass derby is $100.”
A dunk tank fundraiser Friday and Saturday will benefit the Portola High School weight room, and a shuttle service will be available from the City Park to the museum with stops on Commercial Street.
In addition to recruiting more corporate sponsors, this year’s Railroad Days committee succeeded in gaining the attention of American Profile magazine, which included the event in its “Happenings” section, recognition they hope will attract interest from railroaders across the state.
But Ryan also emphasized the need for volunteers during a weekend flooding Portola with visitors.