Railroad Days rolls into town this weekend

Debra Moore
Staff Writer

The 30th annual Railroad Days celebration kicks off this Friday at 4 p.m. and organizers say they are ready.

“It’s pretty much done,” said organizer Patricia Ryan, who, along with her husband, Rich McLaughlin, stepped in to run this year’s event.

They and a core group of individuals have been meeting weekly and working intensely to ensure the future of Railroad Days.

A full day of activities is planned for Saturday and the Willie Tate Memorial Run will cap off the weekend Sunday.

Most of the activities are scheduled in Portola Park and Ryan and McLaughlin walked the grounds with city staff last week to ensure that all would be in place.

Busy weekend on tap


In addition to the 40th annual Railroad Days celebration this weekend, Eastern Plumas residents and visitors have even more entertainment options.

The Graeagle Arts and Crafts Fair will be held Saturday and Sunday in Graeagle Park. The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

A variety of craft and food vendors will have packed booths to entice shoppers. Downtown merchants will also be open for business.

For those who would rather kick back and listen to some music, the Marshall Tucker Band is performing Saturday evening at Nakoma Golf Resort at Gold Mountain.

The gates open at 3 p.m. and the show starts at 5 p.m. In addition to the Marshall Tucker Band, Road 88 will perform, along with local band Trash Gordon. Tickets are $35. Call 832-9832 or go to for more information.

“Todd Roberts, the city’s public’s work director, assured us that all would be ready,” Ryan said. “It was nice to lay it all out and know it will work there.”



Ryan said that the only area still in flux is the number of vendors. “So many commercial vendors couldn’t provide certificates of insurance,” she said.

Many vendors pay more for booth space at other venues, but their insurance is included. That is not the case with Railroad Days. Booth space is only $40, but insurance must be supplied. One-day policies are available, but small vendors fear that the cost would minimize their profits.

Still there will be a number of offerings for the public including a Mexican food vendor, Fidel’s, who will begin the day early selling breakfast burritos and pancakes.

The Lions will be serving hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as beer and wine. And Rotary will staff its popular margarita booth.

The Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce will serve desserts, including ice cream, and Nichole’s will serve smoothies. Kettle corn will be made fresh throughout the day.

Festivities get under way in the park Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. and the Rick Hammond Blues Band will take to the stage from 7 to 10 p.m.

Co-ed softball gets under way at 8 a.m. the next morning, with breakfast served beginning at 8:30 a.m.



Check-in for the parade is from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Gulling Street across from the library.

Children are invited to ride in the bicycle brigade and organizers are providing colorful materials such as pinwheels to decorate the bikes.

The Golden Spike Parade begins at 11 a.m. The parade will begin on Gulling Street adjacent to Portola Park, then proceed down Commercial Street to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum end of town.


Other events

Afternoon events include the closest-to-the-pin golf tournament in child, teen and adult divisions, and a kid camp that offers a variety of games and entertainment.

A classic car cruise is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. and free swimming is offered at the city pool all afternoon.

A fly-fishing demonstration and contest get under way at 1:30 p.m.

The popular Lucky Duck Race is scheduled for 3 p.m. and at 3:45 p.m. the city of Portola will receive the Train Town USA Award from Union Pacific Railroad.

Throughout the day visitors will be entertained by Old West re-enactments.

Entertainment will be provided from noon to 10 p.m.


Prize drawings

A prize drawing will be held at 2:55 p.m. and at 55 minutes after the hour until the end of the day.

Tickets are only available for sale Saturday at marked booths in the park, and purchasers must be present to win.

Prizes include a two-night stay at the Atlantis, a two-night stay at the Nevadan Hotel, two sets of two tickets to the Marshall Tucker Band, two meals at the Kafana Restaurant in Bordertown and a cash prize depending on ticket sales.

Willie Tate Run

The only event scheduled for Sunday is the Willie Tate Memorial Run/Walk.

Check-in and registration get under way at 7:45 a.m. The race begins at 9 a.m.



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