Groveland’s 49’er Festival, Chili and Salsa Cook-Off

Written by Tom Clawson

This year was the 30th anniversary of the 49’er Festival here in Groveland and accordingly we used the theme “30 YEARS OF FUN AND MUSIC”.   Attendees enjoyed fun and entertainment at this years ‘49er Festival in Mary Laveroni Park.  Locals, people from the Bay Area, Central Valley and around the world enjoyed a fun filled day starting with a pancake breakfast and parade.
This year’s Grand Marshall’s were Paul and Kim Purifoy who are active in animal rescue and strong supporters of Tuolumne Trails.  Paul, has been the go-to guy for local gun-fight reenactments and the announcer for events like the 49’er Parade and Rotary auctions.
Throughout the day attendees enjoyed music and entertainment provided by “Stomp Box”, a beard contest, a chain saw carve-off, and an old-west “shoot-out” and bar room skit by Sierra Guns for Hire.  They bid on fantastic items during the silent and live auctions, won great prizes during the raffle drawing and purchased unique items from over 50 vendors.  Attendees also had the chance to taste and select the winners of the Chili and Salsa Cook-Off.
Breakfast in the morning was provided by Southside Community Connections.  Food and refreshments were available throughout the day at the Kiwanis, Rotary and Chamber of Commerce booths.
The Board of Directors wants to thank the people and businesses that donate their services to make the festival a success: the Miller Brothers for help with traffic control and staffing the beer booth, Yosemite Bank for use of their parking to stage the parade participants, the Charlotte Hotel for the use of the balcony to announce the parade, Moore Brothers for waste bin and totes, David Danburger and Ron Hessler for chalking out the booth spaces.
Thank you to all our sponsors who have faithfully supported the festival each year.  A particular thanks goes to our Platinum sponsors, Black Oak Casino, Chicken Ranch Casino, Helping Hands, Hope’s Tree service, Kiefer Insurance, Sabre Design, San Francisco Power and Water, Visit Tuolumne, and Yosemite Pines RV Resort.
In addition, the Board wants to thank all the members of the Festival Committee for organizing this great event, with specific recognition for Earl Wright (Chairman), Tom Hernandez (Vendors), Cathy Leetham (Permits), Dawn Miller (Parade), Bob Turney (Chili & Salsa), Jeanne Wilson (Auction & Raffle), Tom Clawson (Sponsors), and Janis and Weldon Killion (Poker Run).
We hope to see you at next year’s event!!

Parade Winners
Best Equestrian:  Sierra Cowgirls
Best Walking:  Summerville Orange Crush Marching Band
Best Motor Vehicle:  Model T, Gabriel Coehlo
Best Theme:  Hill Top Musical Kids
Best Float:  ROOFBB’s
Best of Parade:  Groveland Fire Department

Best Chili Winners1st Place:  Karen Cleveland & Nina Handy Stacy Willard – Chili Chili Bang Bang2nd Place:  Karen Seals and Tioga HS Culinary Class3rd Place:  Ali King & Matt Thomas – Hillbilly Chili
Best Veggie Chili Winner
1st Place:  Brad Crawford and Tuolumne County Sheriff.
Best Booth Winners

1st Place:  Ali King & Matt Thomas – Hillbilly Chili
2nd Place:  Karen Cleveland & Nina Handy Stacy Willard – Chili Chili Bang Bang
3rd Place:  Karen Seals & Tioga High School Culinary Class

Best Chili Winners

1st Place:  Karen Seals and Tioga HS Culinary Class
2nd Place:  Karen Cleveland & Nina Handy Stacy Willard – Chili Chili Bang Bang
3rd Place:  David Livingston and The Brotherhood of Big Oak Flat