Festive fun starts at Holidays at Empire Mine

The magic of the season meets Empire’s golden past at this popular, two-day event.  With lavish, old-fashioned decorations, docents in early-1900s attire, festive music and fun, it’s like walking through a turn-of-the-century Christmas card.

Sitting near the fireplace in the 1905 Clubhouse, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be waiting to hear gift wishes.  In keeping with the setting, they, too, wear vintage outfits, rich in character and charm.  Many children have lists ready to share – and excitement glows on their faces, as each request receives careful consideration (and a candy cane).

Santa and Mrs. Claus listen carefully to each and every gift request in the 1905 Clubhouse. Photo by Richard Bannister

Outside the Clubhouse, visitors may purchase snacks and beverages from local vendors, while being entertained by skillful magician Peter Franchino and loveable Ray Ray the Clown.

Empire Cottage will be all decked out as well.  In addition to the stunning decorations, visitors will enjoy live, festive music in the formal dining room.  Celtic Joy and Heather MacAdam will perform on Friday; with Blended Metal Saxophones and Kelly Fleming on Saturday.  Living History docents will be all dressed up to recreate Empire’s history, as they portray colorful characters who helped make Empire Mine one of the oldest, largest, and most prosperous gold mines in North America.  Christmas cookies served in the kitchen add to the fun.

The Mine Yard will be full of holiday spirit, as well, and a visit to the Blacksmith Shop is highly recommended.  With their hammers clanging and forges blazing, the smiths have many an old-time tale to share while they demonstrate their craft.  The Mine Shaft will be open, with live music by Gary Hinze.

Living History docents celebrate the Holidays early 1900s’ style in Empire Cottage, while they portray famous characters who influenced our history, such as Mr. and Mrs. William Bourn, Jr. Photo by Richard Bannister

Also recommended is a visit to the Gift Shop, with its treasure trove of interesting items.  There are books on mining and local history on display, as well as children’s books, jewelry, clothing, artifacts and souvenirs – something for every budget and age.

Holidays at Empire Mine is the ideal event to share with visiting family and friends the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.   Besides the yuletide spirit, it’s an excellent opportunity to show your pride in your Park.  Each year around 100,000 people from all over America and all over the world discover gold history at Empire Mine State Historic Park.  This event is hosted by Empire Mine Park Association (EMPA).  Their dedication has helped maintain and improve the Park since 1976.  Holidays at Empire Mine will be held on Friday, November 23rd and Saturday, November 24th, offering a unique way to visit the past.  With special activities from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, it’s enjoyable for all ages, and everyone’s invited, including well-behaved dogs on leashes.  Phone the Visitor Center on (530) 273-8522 for further details, or visit http://www.empiremine.org.

Content submitted by Courtney Ferguson