Big Bear, CA, June 14, 2014 – In the summer of 1927, Big Bear had a parade celebrating its history that went right down Pine Knot Blvd. Local Big Bear historians think this may have been the true beginning of Old Miners Days.
This year marks 65 years of Old Miners Days, Big Bear’s longest running community event. Back in the early days through the late 1980s, Old Miners Days was a two week celebration featuring events like the Loggers Jubilee lumberjack competition, the Whisker-ino contest to find the most impressive facial hair, performances of ‘The Blossoms of Big Bear’ and ‘Deadwood Dick’, and the Fawnskin Street Dance which celebrated the mid-point of Old Miners Days and the beginning of the last leg for the burro racers. The Heritage Parade, which marks the beginning of festivities these days, was always the final event capping off the two weeks of Old Miners celebrations.
1953 marks the first year for the burro races which was the main event of Old Miners Days. Man and burro teams would race 40 miles from Apple Valley through Lucerne up to Holcomb Valley and down into Fawnskin, where they would take the time to celebrate at the Fawnskin Street Dance before the final run to the Elk’s Lodge. Due to traffic issues, the beginning of the race was switched to Pioneertown after about 4 years. In the 70s, women joined in on the fun with a 2 mile ‘Powderpuff’ Burro Race of their own. The ASPCA put a stop to the races sometime in the 80s.
For more information and to see a comprehensive exhibit about the history of Old Miners Days visit the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum.