Stagecoach Days: Celebrating the Wild West in Old Town San Diego

July 15, 2013

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


Children make crafts at Stagecoach Days in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is celebrating travel and transportation in the era of real horsepower at “Stagecoach Days” from noon to 5 p.m. on eight Saturdays in July and August, starting on July 6.

Sponsored by Fiesta de Reyes, the free event features a different theme each Saturday such as: Californio Day, Women of the West, Soldiers and Citizens, TwainFest and Taste of the Past.

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.

“This Stagecoach Days will be the best one yet,” stated Greg Giacopuzzi. “There is a plethora of added activities for all ages to the event this year so visitors will get a true taste of what Old Town was like in the 1800s.”

A special aspect that has been added this year is a passport program featuring collectable bookmarks for each of the Stagecoach Days. Anyone attending the event can go in to the Robinson-Rose Visitor’s Center with their passport and collect a bookmark to commemorate the day. Special prizes will be awarded to those who can collect them all. The free passport cards can be picked up at any of the state park and Fiesta de Reyes merchants or at the Robinson-Rose Visitor’s Center.

The 2013 Stagecoach Days schedule is as follows:

July 6 – “Games and Amusements” — In the 1800s, games and amusements were commonly associated with either large celebrations or after-school play days incorporating most of the local townspeople. This day will pay tribute to traditional amusements of the time such as egg races, tug of war and circus performers.

July 13 — “Californio Day” – Between 1821 through 1848, the people who lived in Southern California were called “Californios” rather than Mexicans. Those unique “Californio” cultural elements will be presented this Saturday such as gambling, paper flower making and horseback demonstrations.

July 20 — ““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.  Aspects of this day include a quilt walk, a fashion show and carriage rides.

July 27– “Soldiers and Citizens” — In the mid-1840s, California went to war with Mexico.  United States troops were stationed and fought in San Diego County in an effort to support the war. This day will feature military practices that changed San Diego forever.  

August 3—“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 10 – “Days of the Vaquero” — Cattle was the single most important economic resource for Southern California for over 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 17 – “TwainFest” — The festival marks 103 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 24 –“West on the Move” –– After the Mexican War, more and more settlers came to San Diego as a place to live or as a stop off 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.

August 31 – “Taste of the Past” — Food was important in daily life in Old Town.  Early adobe homes typically included large, outdoor gardens where plants and herbs provided food and medicine.  This day presents a glimpse of a typical 19th century dining experience in the form of menus, tools, and food.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, with the support of the Boosters of Old Town and a donation from 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 in San Diego, and is conveniently located next to the Old Town Transit Center, with Coaster, Trolley, and MTS bus service. Free parking is available at the CalTrans headquarters, just two blocks from the park at 4050 Taylor St.

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