–All Aboard for Old Town; Next Stop Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park–

On July 28, Stagecoach Days will present “Games and Amusements” which will showcase traditional games from the 1800s such as tug-of-war, sack races and water buckets races.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is celebrating travel and transportation in the era of real horsepower at Stagecoach Days from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays in July and August.

The free event features a different theme each Saturday including Californio Day, Women of the West, Soldiers and Citizens, TwainFest and Vaquero Day.

Attendees will enjoy afternoons filled with activities that reflect life in early San Diego and celebrate the West on the move. Through vignettes, demonstrations, living history activities, stories and songs, visitors will gain an appreciation for early modes of transportation and daily life.

It’s been more than a century since the last stage line operated in San Diego. Beginning in 1857, stage lines passed through rural San Diego moving passengers, freight and mail. These new services helped bring the outside world closer to the emerging frontier community that we know today as San Diego.

The 2012 Stagecoach Days schedule is as follows:

July 7 – West on the Move – After the Mexican War, more and more settlers came to San Diego as a place to live or as a resting point prior to heading to the gold fields of Northern California. Today, California State Parks will present demonstrations and activities that promote 19th century transportation.

July 14 — Californio Day – From 1821 through 1848, the people who lived in Southern California were called “Californios” rather than Mexicans. Those unique “Californio” cultural such as gambling and paper flower making will be presented.

July 21 — Women of the West — Women played an important part in the development of the West. Some of the daily activities of these women will be demonstrated on this Saturday.

July 28 — Games and Amusements — In the 1800s, games and amusements were commonly associated with large celebrations that incorporated most of the local townspeople. This day will pay tribute to traditional games of the time.

August 4—Trades That Shaped Westward Expansion — As towns developed in the West so did the need for specialized trades and artisans.  Old Town San Diego will present pivotal 19th century trades that shaped the community of San Diego.

August 11 – Vaquero Drive — Cattle was the single most important economic resource for Southern California for more than 50 years. This day will give the opportunity to learn about the hide and tallow trade, chuck wagon cooking, roping, branding, saddle making and more.

August 18 — TwainFest — The festival marks 102 years of Mark Twain’s passing and celebrates the American author as well as some of his peers. Excerpts from famous works will be read aloud by costumed San Diego actors at a variety of park venues throughout the day.

August 25 – Soldiers and Citizens — In the mid-1840s, California went to war with Mexico.  United States troops were stationed in San Diego County and fought here in an effort to support the war. This day will feature military practices that changed San Diego forever.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, with the support of the Boosters of Old Town and Fiesta de Reyes, is proud to offer these free activities for adults and children of all ages. The park is located on San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street, conveniently located next to the Old Town Transit Center with Coaster, trolley and MTS bus service.

For more information, go to www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego.