The Calaveras County Fair has been entertaining northern California since 1893. The event that has jumped them into national recognition is the infamous frog jumping competition, which has been entertaining people since the 1930s! Mark Twain made the event famous in his first published piece, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Now, every 3rd weekend in May, you can come to the Calaveras County Fair and see for yourself the wonderful and entertaining Jumping Frog Jubilee. The 2018 theme is Going Frog Wild and will be held at Angels Camp from May 17-20.
The story of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain tells the story of Jim Smiley, a miner who will bet with anyone on anything. While in Angels Camp, Smiley catches a frog and trains it to jump. When a stranger visits the camp, Smiley bets the man that his frog can out jump any other frog in Calaveras County. The stranger says he’ll take the bet, but he doesn’t have a frog so Smiley go out to find him one. However, while Smiley is trying to catch the stranger his own frog, the stranger pours lead down Smiley’s frog’s throat. When Smiley gets back, they both put their frogs down to see who jumps further. The stranger’s frog jumps and wins. Smiley’s frog just sits there. Smiley pays the man his winnings and the stranger leaves. Smiley realizes his frog had lead when he belched it out and tries to find the stranger to get his money back but is unsuccessful. At the Jumping Frog Jubilee you can watch this tradition continue sans lead poisoning.
You can either watch the Jumping Frog Jubilee or you can join the fun and jump your own frog. To jump your own frog, all you need to do is sign up and pay the entry fee at the Frog Jump Stage once inside the Calaveras County Fair. A frog will be provided for you. Preliminary rounds start on Thursday and the top 50 furthest frog jumps go to the Finals on Sunday afternoon. The frogs jumped at the Jumping Frog Jubilee live in the “Frog Spa” during the four days of Fair. The Frog Spa is open for tours daily.
The Frog Jumps is a sight to behold. The participant sets their frog on the ground and te participant gets down real close and whoops and yells and slams their hand down to scare their frog into jumping. Volunteers all over the stage catch the frog before it can run off. The furthest jump from 3 jumps is counted.
The current world’s record was set in 1986 by Rosie the Ribeter. Rosie jumped 21′ 53/4″. The cash prize for breaking the world’s record is $5,000. Maybe this year you can beat it!
The Frog Jump is facilitated by a group of dedicated volunteers that meet monthly to plan the annual competition. If you would like to participate as a volunteer contact the Fair office or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to the Frog Jumps, the Calaveras County Fair features a Deconstruction Derby on Sunday night to close at the fair. It begins at 5:30pm. Watch cars crash into each other and wait until the last cars stands! If you will to participate in the Derby, check out out the rules.
The Calaveras County Fair also hosts a Rodeo on May 18th and 19th. Watch horse racing around barrels and the cowboys hold on for 8 second of thrilling fun and suspense!
In addition to the special events, they also have exhibits featuring local talent. There is a wine-tasting competition, photos, artwork, homemade baked goods and treats and so much more! Walk around while enjoying a cold beer or maybe a frozen lemonade or ice cream cone. There is no shortage of traditional carnival food! You can also find all sorts of carnival rides that will send you into a spin. Be on the look out for special friends – Smokey the Bear, Fire fighters, who knows who you might see!
What to Bring:
Calaveras County gets very hot in May so bring sunscreen, water, etc. The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, welcomes patrons to bring ice chests, back packs, wagons, strollers or bags. However all ice chests, back packs, wagons, strollers and bags are subject to search at entrances. No weapons, alcohol, glass or aluminum are permitted.
Where to Stay:
You can stay on site at the campgrounds at the Calaveras County Fair. For more information please go to: https://www.frogtown.org/camping-at-the-fair
Fun Cabin Rentals is located 25.1 miles away from Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee making it an easy location to drive to and from Twain Harte. See directions here.
There is ample parking at the fairgrounds, but be aware your car might get a little dusty and none of the parking is paved. Instead you park in the dirt and grass.
Contact: For more information call the Fair office or email email@example.com