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Historic Western Days

Four events in the West celebrate olden times from mission and sternwheeler days to Scottish heritage and railroad history.

Historic Western Days the Carson City Rendezvous
Photo caption
Step into the 1860s at the Carson City Rendezvous.

At Nevada's 23rd CARSON CITY RENDEZVOUS, June 9 to 11, you can hear bagpiping at a Scottish clan gathering, watch black-powder shooting at a mountain man camp, and see a pony express mail handoff. Also on tap are 90 crafts booths, a fiddle contest, camel rides, a Dutch oven cook-off, and free country music. Mills Park. (775) 687-7410, Or dig into the past at these other events.

BUFFALO BILL DAYS Sheridan, Wyo., June 23 to 24. Get your fill of chuck wagon races, American Indian hoop dancers, and a costume parade. Or waltz the night away at the 1890 Victorian Grand Ball. Various locations. (307) 674-2178,

CELEBRATION Juneau, Alaska, May 31 to June 4. This festival of Alaskan Native culture features dancing, canoe races, art, and more. (907) 463-4844,

CIRCLE OF CULTURES: THE BOISE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPERIENCE May 20 to 29. Idaho's capital welcomes Corps of Discovery II, a traveling exhibit with keelboat, canoe, and tepee replicas; flora and fauna encountered by the explorers; and Native American art. With music and readings. Various sites. (208) 454-3435,

EARLY DAYS San Juan Bautista, Calif., June 17. A sleepy mission town that was once an important stop on the stage route between Northern and Southern California brings the past to life with demonstrations of historic crafts, wagon rides, pioneer foods, and a Victorian ball at the Plaza Hall. San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. (831) 623-4881.

FORT UNION RENDEZVOUS Near Culbertson, Mont., June 15 to 18. Jewelry making, hide tanning, and other demonstrations show slices of life at a northern plains trading outpost. Stick around after sundown for sing-alongs and storytelling around a campfire. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. (701) 572-9083.

FOUNDERS DAY St. Paul, Ore., May 6. Actors in period costume and tours of historic sites mark the 1843 founding of the region's first provisional government. Champoeg State Heritage Area. (503) 678-1251,

GOLDEN SPIKE CEREMONY Promontory, Utah, May 10. After a reenactment of the May 10, 1869, ceremony marking the completion of the transcontinental railroad, engineers show their steam locomotives' power while musicians play. Golden Spike National Historic Site. (435) 471-2209,

STERNWHEELER DAYS Cascade Locks, Ore., July 14 to 16. Feast on baked salmon, take a ride on the Columbia Gorge stern-wheeler, and listen to tall tales. Marine Park. (541) 374-8427,

Photography by Ronni Hannaman

This article was first published in May 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.