Time for Railroad Days in Portola

Diana Jorgenson
Portola Editor

Railroad Days will kick off tomorrow night with a Community Appreciation Picnic hosted by the city of Portola.    Portola's city council and planning commission members will barbecue dinner and serve the community a free picnic meal at City Park at 6 p.m.

In addition to a hot meal, there will be live music and carnival games.

Let the fun begin. This year's Railroad Days, the 28th so far, is a far-reaching event with a lot of entertainment, new adventures and familiar and favorite activities.

The highlight of the celebration, the Golden Spike Parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday and is central to four days of fun and, yes, games.

Carnival games, rubber duck races on the Feather River, a spike driving contest, and horseshoe and softball tournaments are just some of the competitive fun scheduled that weekend.

Add to that the Willie Tate Marathon and a whole bunch of time allotted to dancing music, and you will be able to stretch all your limbs and shake out all the kinks.

Craftspeople will offer their goods along Commercial Street and determined shoppers can even take the bus to Graeagle and finish up their shopping at the arts and crafts fair on the Graeagle Green.

Portola's connection to the railroad, first to Western Pacific and then Union Pacific, is the foundation of Railroad Days, and there will be ample opportunity to explore both.

Western Pacific Railroad Museum of Portola is one of three main locations hosting Railroad Days events in the city.

The railroad museum will offer train rides Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along with model railroad displays.

Friday, another very special event will occur: the Domes to Railroad Days passenger train arrives at the museum at 4:30 p.m.

About 400 guests will arrive in Plumas County, eager to celebrate with you, so smile and make them welcome.

The special train celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first passenger train through the Feather River Canyon. Since that time, the route has become a cargo route. Traveling through the scenic wonder that is the Feather River has been a rare occurrence for passengers.

The singular event has also attracted the cameras of PBS, which are not only filming the train ride, but also the Railroad Days celebration in Portola along with the scenic splendor that is Plumas County.

Railroad Days will spread out over the eastern end of the county this year, with a wine tasting at the newly re-opened Nakoma Golf Course.

An extravaganza, Stars in the Barn, is appearing at the junction of highways 89 and 70 in Blairsden Friday and Saturday. The production featuring dancing horses and acrobats is a first in the area.

Lots of music (detailed elsewhere), lots of shiny cars, new and old (detailed elsewhere), lots of good food (Rotary breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday this year), stuff for kids (fishing derby at City Park, wild animal shows, magicians), lots of art (at The Feather), lots of history (at The Feather and the railroad museum, as well as the Williams House) - stuff for everybody!

A coach will bus people between locations all day Saturday, with a special bus from the museum parking lot to the Stars in the Barn evening performance Saturday.

The bus will stop at Western Pacific Railroad Museum parking lot, the three-way junction of Commercial, California and Pacific streets in Portola; Nakoma Golf Resort; Graeagle Crafts Fair (in front of Graeagle Restaurant); River Pines Resort; The Barn (corner of highways 70 and 89); Chalet View Lodge; Sleepy Pines Motel; and again to the railroad museum.

See for the bus schedules and latest bus offerings.

Take a look at the full schedule of events for this coming weekend for the numerous other events during Railroad Days: art show, cowboy poetry, chainsaw art demos, Bob Larson (this year's grand marshal in the parade) and his railroad history presentation, Latino dance celebration....

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