Special Events

Columbia SHP Annual Events

paradeColumbia State Historic Park provides year-round interpretive and community events for visitors to enjoy. Many events take place within the historic district of the Columbia, one of the best preserved Gold Rush era towns in California.

Several special events are sponsored by California State Parks. However, multiple events are also coordinated by other organizations. Make sure to check for additional information to learn more about each event. 

Infocus Photography Exhibition

When: March 9-19, 2023 Thursday to Sunday 

Time: Noon to 5:30pm

Cost: FREE

Location: Angelo's Hall, Columbia State Historic Park

Event Description: The InFocus Photography Competition and Exhibition was first held in 1987 and has become one of the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance’s most successful events. The show draws both amateur and professional entries and over the years we’ve seen a steady increase in both the number of entries and the quality of the photographs accepted into the show.

For More Information: Last day to submit images: January 16 at 6pm. Call the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance tat 209-694-6147, or visit www.infocus-tcaa.org for more information.

Ghost Tours

When: Feb 19, Mar 19, Apr 16, July 16, Oct 15, 2023

Time: 2:00-3:00pm    

Cost: $10 per person

Location: Meet at the Columbia Museum

Event Description: Have you heard that there are ghosts in Columbia? Join a ghost tour to find out where they lurk and the stories behind those who lived in Columbia during the Gold Rush.  

For More Information: This event is coordinated by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park. You can find out more details on their events page at www.friendsofcolumbiashp.com.

Old Mill Run

When: Saturday, April 15, 2023

Time: Race starts at 9am

Cost: Entry fees are $30 for adult racers, $20 for children 14 and under

Location: In front of Eagle Cottage

Event Description: 10K Run, 2-Mile Run/Walk, Kids Mini-Mile, Kids Mile.  Entry fees are $30 for adult racers, $20 for children 14 and under. On-site registration begins 7am. Pre-registration includes tee shirt. Event schedule: 2-Mile Run 9am, Kids Mini-Mile 9am, Kids Mile 9am, 10K Run 9am, plus one-mile walk for 55+. This event benefits the Tuolumne County Community Christmas Eve Dinner and the WINGS Fund.

For More Information: Contact David Urquhart at 209-768-3251 or www.theschedule.com.

Columbia's Victorian Easter Celebration

When: Sunday, April 9, 2023

Time: 11:00-3:00pm    

Cost: FREE

Location: Main St. Columbia

Event Description: Dress up in your Victoria Easter finery and march in the Victorian Easter Parade. Registration begins at 11am, and the parade is at 12:30pm. Children will enjoy Columbia’s popular Easter Egg Hunts. The small Fry Egg Search at noon is for ages 3 to 5, and after the Easter Parade, the Junior Egg Poachers (ages 6 to 8) will try their luck at 1pm, and finally, the Great Egg Scramblers (ages 9 to 12) at 1:30pm. Find the golden egg and win a prize!

For More Information: This event is coordinated by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Contact the Chamber at 888-488-1850 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com.

Paranormal Research Tour

When: April 22, September 9, October 21, 2023

Time: 8pm - midnight  

Cost: $50 per person

Location: Meet at theEagle Cottage

Event Description: Have you ever wondered if Columbia is truly a Ghost Town? Have you ever “felt something” while stepping into one of our old buildings? Now is your chance to be a part of history and interact with paranormal researchers from Full Spectrum Paranormal out of Sacramento as they use their equipment to detect paranormal activity in four historic places in Columbia. After a brief introduction at Eagle Cotage you will be led to four different buildings where you will spend an hour at each paranormal site with the researchers as they explain the fascinating experience and conduct their research. The tour will begin at Eagle Cotage with a brief introduction. This event is hosted by Friends of Columbia SHP and Full Spectrum Paranormal out of Sacramento California

For More Information: This event is coordinated by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park and Full Spectrum Paranormal out of Sacramento, CA. You can find out more details on the Friends of Columbia events page at www.friendsofcolumbiashp.com.

Cinco de Mayo

When: May 5 from 5pm to 10pm

            May 6 11am to 5pm

Cost: FREE


Event Description: Fore Information Coming soon

For More Information:  

Columbia Diggins 1852

diggsWhen: May 18-21, 2023

Time: 10-4pm

Cost: $10 Adults, $2 children ages 5 to 17

Location: Diggins Tent Town (located near main parking lot

Event Description: Step back in time to the year 1852 and discover what life was like in a gold diggings encampment during the early Gold Rush period. Over 150 volunteers help to recreate this time in history by living the life of a miner, merchant, actor/actress, and more. Explore the tent town and discover a way of life not seen in California for over 150 years. 

Park visitors are welcome all four days of the event. 

School programs are provided Thursday May 18 and Friday May 19 by reservation only. To make a reservation click here

This event is sponsored by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park. 

For More Information: Visit the Columbia Diggins 1852 Website

Columbia's Glorious 4th of July Celebration

4thWhen: TuesdayJuly 4, 2023

Time: 11am – 4pm  

Cost: FREE

Location: Main Street Columbia

Event Description: Celebrate our nation’s birthday the old-fashioned way! Come to Columbia State Historic Park on the 4th of July and participate in the many activities the 49ers enjoyed way back when, especially a glorious parade up Main Street at noon. Enjoy a patriotic concert by the Great Mother Lode Brass and Reed Band, dance in the street, and try your skill at the many contests popular in the early days of Columbia, including the greased pole climb, egg relay race, watermelon eating, bucket brigade, cake walk, nail pounding, egg toss, and a five-way tug-of-war. Come early for the best parking and bring lawn chairs. The festivities begin with a ceremonial flag raising and black powder musket salute at 11am.

For More Information: This event is coordinated by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Contact them at 888-488-1850 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com.

Big Band Street Dance

big bandWhen: Saturday, July 15, 2023

Time: 6-10pm

Cost: FREE

Location: Main St. Columbia

Description: Join us as California State Parks celebrates 77 years of preserving Columbia State Historic Park which contains some of California’s best Gold Rush era buildings. In the evening step back into the 1940s when the park was founded and put on your dancing shoes to boogie down to the music of Rod Harris and his Orchestra. 

For More Information: This event is sponsored by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park. You can find our more details about the Big Band Street Dance on their events page at www.friendsofcolumbiashp.com or email Columbia State Historic park at columbiashp@parks.ca.gov.

California Statehood Day Parade

When: Saturday, Sept 10, 2022

Time: 11:00am

Cost: FREE

Location: Main Street

Event Description: The Statehood Day Parade in Columbia is sponsored by the Native Sons of the Golden West, Columbia Parlor #258 to celebrate California becoming a state on September 9, 1850. 

For More Information: Contact David Kelley at 916-834-3332.

2Back to School 1861

When: Saturday, September 16, 2023

Time: 4-7pm

Cost: FREE

Location: Historic Schoolhouse

Event Description: Join us at the historic Columbia Schoolhouse and discover one of the parks most fascinating Gold Rush era buildings. During this reminiscent event sit in on a lesson taught by a docent dressed as an 1860s schoolteacher, play games of long ago, listen to patriotic music, and help make hand-cranked ice cream.

For More Information:  Email Columbia State Historic park at columbiashp@parks.ca.gov.

Columbia Art Show

When: Saturday, September 17, 2023

Cost: FREE

Location: Main Street

Event Description: This fine art show features approximately 40 local painters, potters, sculptors and photographers who will display their art on the shady streets of the Park. 

For More Information:  This event is coordinated by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Contact them at 209-536-1672 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com

Stories In Stone

storiesWhen: Sept 29-30, Oct 6-7, 2023

Time: 7pm & 7:30pm

Cost: $25.00

Location: Columbia Cemetery

Event Description: Visitors are led through Columbia’s historic cemetery by living history docents carrying lanterns where they will visit 10 gravesites. The dead come to life as interpreters tell about their lives, how they died, and how they came to lie in Columbia’s cemetery.

For More Information: This event is sponsored by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park. You can find out more details on their events page at www.friendsofcolumbiashp.com or email Columbia State Historic park at columbiashp@parks.ca.gov.

Fiddle and Bango Contest

When: Saturday, September 24, 2022

Time: 10:30am - 4:00pm

Cost: Entry fee of $15 for contestants, FREE to watch

Location: Columbia Town Gazebo

Event Description: Rock in Road presents the 39th annual Columbia Fiddle & Bango Contest at 10:30am on Saturday, September 23rd at the Gazebo in Columbia Historic State Park. Attendance and parking are free. All are welcome for this family-friendly, pet-friendly day of musical fun on the tree lined streets of Columbia. Up to 50 contestants will perform in 7 different categories (fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, vocal, miscellaneous, and original song). Registration to compete begins at 9:00am and all levels of talent are encouraged to participate.  Entry fee is $15 for adults, or FREE for youth musicians 18 and under. We hope to see you there!

For More Information:  This event is coordinated by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Contact them at 209-536-1672 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com

Poison Oak Show

When: Saturday, September 24, 2022

Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Cost:  FREE

Location: St. Charles Saloon

Event Description: The Poison Oak show is at the St. Charles Saloon in Columbia State Historic Park. Aren’t you just itchin’ to participate? This event is like a traditional flower show, except all entries must include poison oak! Some of the categories are: best arrangement of poison oak, most original poison oak dish (with recipe), and best photograph of poison oak, best photograph of poison oak rash (or in person). 10am for entries, judging at 1pm.

For More Information:  Contact 209-288-2258

Harvest Festifall

When: October 14 & 15, 2023

Time: 9:00am-5:00pm

Cost:  FREE

Location: Main Street

Event Description: Join us for a cornucopia of crafts, comestibles, demonstrations of skills, and music and dancing on the shady streets of Columbia State Historic Park, decorated for the harvest season. Wear your Gold Rush duds and enjoy a visit to the past. Fun for everyone and it is Free! Almost fifty vendors, dressed in 1850s attire, will display their handmade arts and crafts for sale, including pottery, jewelry, apparel, home décor, wood furniture, baked goods and many others; and some will demonstrate their skills. Attractions include demonstrations of spinning and weaving by the Mother Lode Weaver & Spinners, face painting, and entertainment by various local groups of musicians and dancers. 

For More Information: This event is coordinated by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Contact them at 1-888-488-1850 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com

Boo Boulevard

booWhen: Saturday, October 28, 2023

Time: 2-6pm

Cost: FREE

Location: Main Street Columbia

Event Description: Boo Boulevard returns to Columbia State Historic Park on October 29, 2022. Trick or Treating, Face Painting, Creepy Crafts, Fish N’ Game, and the Gargoyle Quest are from 2 – 4pm. The Photo Booth runs from 2 – 6pm.  The Zombie Dance Performance will be at 4:15pm. The Jack-o-Lantern Contest returns.  Everyone is invited to march in the Halloween Parade, 4:30pm, and compete in the Costume Contest from 5-6pm. Bring your family, and hang out with the ghosties and ghouls! This is a free event! 

 This event is sponsored by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

For More Information:  Email Columbia State Historic Park at columbiashp@parks.ca.gov.

Candy Cane Making

When: Every Sat & Sun between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Time: 12:00-1pm

Cost:  FREE

Location: Nelson's Columbia Candy Kitchen

Event Description: Watch traditional candy canes being made during the holidays. Hosted by Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen. 

For More Information: Janice Nelson 209-532-7886 or nelsonscolumbiacandykitchen@gmail.com

Lamplight Tours 


When: December 1 & 2, 2023

Time: 5-10pm    

Cost: $25 per person

Location: Throughout Town. Meet at Columbia Museum

Event Description: Lamplight Tours are a walking play that wanders the streets of Columbia at night and ends with music, dance, and refreshments. Participants will be led by kerosene lantern down the streets of Columbia to various vignettes visiting with local town folk as they recall the stories of days gone by. Join us for an evening in humorous reminiscence of times past, whether reawl, exaggerated, or imagined!

For More Information:  Email Columbia State Historic park at columbiashp@parks.ca.gov.

 Miners Christmas

miners christmas

When: December 16, 17, 2023

Time: 12-3pm    

Cost: FREE

Location: Main Street Columbia

Event Description: Join the holiday celebrations at Columbia State Historic Park with a family friendly event demonstrating what Christmas in a Gold Rush town may have looked like in the 1850’s.

Stop in and listen to Christmas stories from some of the ole’ timer miners, taste chestnuts roasted over the open fire, and make a variety of old-fashioned crafts. Explore the historic buildings of Columbia adorned with old fashion decorations while you sip hot cider and coffee. You might even catch sight of Father Christmas as he visits the town of Columbia.

Some activities may be cancelled in the event of wet weather.

This event is supported by Friends of Columbia State Historic Park.

For More Information: Email Columbia State Historic park at columbiashp@parks.ca.gov.

Las Posadas Nativity Procession

Lights along street for Las PosadasWhen: Sunday, Dec 10, 2023

Time: 5:30pm

Cost:  FREE

Location: Main Street

Event Description: Las Posadas is a Spanish tradition that re-enacts the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Since 1983, the people of Columbia have put on their own version of Las Posadas each December- with a distinctive 1850s flavor. Characters in this re-enactment include Mary and Joseph and their donkey, the three Wise Men, tax collector and innkeeper, and miners and musicians and other costumed townspeople. Columbia’s Main Street is decorated for the Christmas season and luminaries light the way for the procession, while on-lookers hold candles and join in singing Christmas carols.

For More Information: This event is coordinated by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Contact them at 1-888-488-1850 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com

Columbia City Hotel Restaurant's Victorian Christmas Feast

When: Friday, December 8, Sunday December 10, Thursday December 14, and Friday December 15, 2023. 

Additional dates may be added depending upon the level of interest.  



Location: City Hotel

Event Description: For over thirty-five years, the historic Gold Country’s City Hotel in California’s Columbia State Historic Park has celebrated the Holidays by recreating a 140-year-old banquet melodrama with a cast of colorful characters, minstrels, great food and wonderful wines. This year is once again very special because of the reopening of the City Hotel Restaurant and return of several original actors and singers who made this a popular gathering for over three decades. Actors play George and Margaret Morgan, the 1870s proprietors of the City Hotel. They invite you to join them at their table as they deal with “local issues” and “colorful characters”. Mixing the melodrama with good cheer and holiday toasts, period musicians, fine dining, and the beautiful surroundings of the restored Hotel, it’s a perfect holiday primer. Guests return year after year to renew friendships, start their Christmas season, see what the Morgans are up to, and spend the night in one of the State Park's historic hotels. 

For More Information:  For more information visit www.columbiacityhotelrestaurant.com 

Columbia All Equestrian Parade

When: Sunday, December 10, 2023

Time: 11:00am

Cost:  FREE to watch. $25.00 Entry Fee for Participants

Location: Main Street

Event Description: This judged parade is open to all ages of equestrian riders/drivers and mounted groups. Participants in the equestrian parade can accumulate award points towards the California State Horsemen's Association Parade High Point Program. Everyone is encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for the toy drive benefittingATTCAA’s Housing Families Program.

For More InformationContact Barbara J Savery at bjsavery@att.net or Deb Lewis at dcllewis1@gmail.com