Wrightwood kicked off the 2022 season with the fifty-seventh Mountaineer Days Celebration. Hosting over fifty vendors from all over Southern California, downtown Wrightwood was at its gold rush best Saturday and Sunday, July 9th and 10th. The sunshine was welcomed, and the day’s colors were vibrant with a summer-like feeling. Vendors speedily assembled their booths as early morning Mountaineers quietly wandered the still sleepy center of Wrightwood.
The opaque white canopy of Slithers and Crawls provided a cool environment for the reptiles and insects housed underneath. The expert staff was busy with the spiders and snakes, prepping for another day of doing what they love, working with animals. An impressive display of animal skulls and jaw bones was presented as if they were in a museum.
Speaking of bones, across the way on Park Street, Mario and Wendi Rodriguez were unpacking some bones of their own. Their Paleo Extinct exhibit presented fossils from the Orthoceras and Ammonite periods. Wendi and Mario, both educators, made their presentation informative and fascinating.
John Mosley, a longtime resident of Wrightwood, said about Mountaineer Days, “We’ve had a lot of good ones, over forty of them!” he laughed. The Wrightwood Mountaineer Days food court was giving off the smells of coffee, bar-b-que, lemonade, and churros as Park Street grew with the marketplace’s festive smells, sounds, and colors. Corn Hole competition has never been more anticipated than this year’s Mountain High sponsored Corn Hole Tournament. The competitors were all in, showing some well-practiced beanbag skills and strategies. One good toss deserves another!
Over at the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) booth, Stan Souders set up brochures for potential new members from the Wrightwood Community. “Be prepared. That is what CERT is all about,” said Stan, who recommends the training for everyone.
With the smooth sounds of The Sweetwater Creek Band in the background, Mountaineer Holly Doyle was locking up Deputy Dan Wood in the Wrightwood Town Jail! Mountaineer Days was in full swing. Shoppers were browsing through the colorful row of awnings while eager children were getting their faces painted. Everything from handmade African baskets to Hypnotherapy coaching was available to the Mountaineer shopper.
The San Bernardino Valley Prospectors operation was panning out, panning out gold, that is. The cool rustic setting of Evergreen Road was perfect for a gold panning experience. “Mining in the Tri-Community was essential to the development of the area,” said Mary Schubert, a gold panning expert and avid prospector. “It all comes down to the final product.,” she said. A fellow miner Ernie Tovar swirled the gold granules around in the well-weathered pan. An impressive display of antique mining maps and artifacts sparked a little bit of “gold fever.” “All the gold we use here comes from our claims!” stated prospector Mary.
Everywhere vendors and exhibitors were enjoying the early morning business. In the Artisans Boutique, shoppers were delighted to find crafts and curiosities from all over the world. Anything could be found in this shopping mecca, including animals. Critters To Go Petting Zoo and Pony-rides provided a hands-on opportunity to get up close and personal with the cutest of fur-bearing critters.
Live music was present everywhere during the two-day event. The Greg Jones Band performed. The Blue-Eyed Coyote Band kept everyone’s feet tapping as they meandered around the shopping extravaganza in Wrightwood. A disc jockey, Jarett Bramley, performed in the Artisans Boutique area keeping the patrons entertained. Dante Cron, a student at Serrano High School, remarked, “Everyone is full of spirit! Mountaineer days is good for business!” Fellow Mountaineer Kim Godber exclaimed, “I just love it in Wrightwood! It is hard to be anywhere else.”
Over at Alice’s Vintage Cottage, Alice Braune (owner) was opening shop before the silent auction. “The Mountaineer Days Quilt Display/Silent Auction brings in a lot of new customers. They come from all over!” Alice stated. Sponsored by Quilter Dianne Armstrong and the ladies of the Pine Needles Quilt Guild Auction showed the beautiful collection of handmade quilts.
Moving along to the pie-eating contest, a group of hungry mountaineers was getting ready to dive face first into a whole pie. The first one who finished was the winner! In this contest, there were no losers, just a few messy faces. The helpful staff of the Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce Mountaineer Headquarters prepared the pies as the children got their pie face on.
As the weekend wrapped up in Wrightwood with the anticipated “Celebrating Wrightwood Parade,” Mountaineer Days 2022 was no doubt a place to shop, dine, and have a good time.