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Travelog for: Legstrong

Valley Springs, CA, USA - 9th May 2009

By: ashl_bee

I am getting all prepared to visit the Jumping Frog Jumbilee and Calaveras County Fair this upcoming weekend!

The History Of the Frog Jumps
In late 1800's, Samuel l. Clemens (Mark Twain) penned “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, a tall tale of the life and happenings of the gold rush town, Angels Camp. The narrator details a story he heard in a tavern. It is about a frog, Dan’l Webster, who could out jump any other frog, and a man, Jim Smiley, who was the “curiousest man about always betting on anything that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to bet on the other side; and if he couldn’t he’d change sides.” Jim Smiley had bet forty dollars. Smiley was figuring that his frog could “out jump any frog in Calaveras County”. He met a stranger who filled Dan’l Webster with buckshot, therefore winning the frog jump and the forty dollars in gold. Figuring out what happened Smiley ran after the stranger but he never caught him. The story was published and delighted audiences worldwide.

In 1893, the World’s Fair in Chicago had the country in a spell. There were World’s Fair beverages, remedies and recipes from the exposition. Additionally, every state had an exhibit at the World’s Fair. In California, each region participated in the exhibit, and Calaveras County was involved in the Mother Lode exhibit. Between the years of 1880-1893, Calaveras County was reassigned to five different agricultural societies. In 1893 the county was finally designated as the 39th District Agricultural Society and the first Calaveras County Fair was held. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the fair moved from ranch to ranch and township to township. Residents showed off their best-baked goods, canned goods, quilts and livestock.

It is assumed that the fair did not exist in the 1920’s because of the lack of a facility. The state created the Division of Fairs and Expositions in 1937, with the tax revenue from pari-mutuel wagering on horse races. The state purchased the current fairgrounds in 1938 and the first “partially government funded” fair was held that year.

Meanwhile, the city of Angels Camp continued to function as a mining town, although it became incorporated as the “City of Angels” in 1902. Tents would line narrow, unpaved lanes which were rutted and in rough condition from years of wagon and stage coach use. As the town built up around them, the streets remained in their old state. By 1927, the residents were ready to remedy the deplorable condition of main street by passing a bond measure to finance a paved main street. The Angels Camp Boosters, a community service organization, which began in 1925 and still exists today, decided that a celebration was in order. Their original idea was to hold the “Days of 49”, but a visiting minister, the Reverend Brown, suggested they use the famous Mark Twain story theme. Therefore on May 19 and 20, 1928, the first Jumping Frog Jubilee was held on main street, down town Angels Camp. Due to the formidable efforts of this group of dedicated promoters, including the future Senator, Jesse M. Mayo, the attendance at the first Jumping Frog Jubilee was estimated to be 15,000. The festivities included a large parade featuring bands, wagons, floats and of course the Jumping Frog Contest. The winner was named “Pride of San Joaquin”, jockeyed by Louis Fisher of Stockton. The frog jumped 3’6”.

In the 1920’s and early 1930’s the crowds at the Annual Jumping Frog Jubilee grew to 25,000 spectators. The jubilee was suspended in 1933 because of the depression. In 1938 the two events, the County Fair and the Jumping Frog Jubilee were combined.

The Modern Day Event

Today, few events illustrate the gold rush era, as well as the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Every May the entire community celebrates its history and its future. The tradition of county residents showing off their best still holds true today. In 2002 the Calaveras County Fair had more than 7000 exhibits. The junior livestock auction generated over $350,000 for the county’s youth.
The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee has grown to an event with more than 35,000 attendees. It is estimated that the Calaveras County Fair generates approximately 25.5 million dollars in revenues through hotels, restaurants, retail, payroll and other related revenues.

In 2002 the Frog Jump had more than 2000 frogs participate. The top 50 frogs qualify for the International Frog Jump Grand Finals, which are held on Sunday of the Jubilee at 4:00 pm. The current world’s record was set in 1986 by Rosie the Ribeter. Rosie jumped 21’ 53/4”. The cash prize for breaking the world record is $5000.

In 1933 the California Fish and Game Commission became involved in order to regulate and protect the welfare of the California bullfrog. In 1995 the Board of Director’s of the 39th District Agricultural Association adopted the “Frog Welfare Policy”. Underscoring the Fair’s commitment to treat the frogs in a humane manner.

* Posted May 10, 2009, 1:41 am Last edited May 14, 2009, 3:43 am by ashl_bee [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Frogtown, CA, USA - 13th May 2009

By: ashl_bee

Today I was released into the wild at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Tomorrow is the opening day, and I hope someone nice will find me and agree to host me!

If you happen to find Legstrong and do not wish to help him along with his journey, please either leave him in another populated area, or contact me by email at Spunkymxr914@aol.com and we can arrange a way for him to make it home.

* Posted May 14, 2009, 4:08 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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