Taste of History—Annual Fundraiser for Shasta Historical Society
By Laura Christman
Savoring the Past
Story by Laura Christman
Photos courtesy of the Shasta Historical Society
Pictured: Mae Helene Baqcon Boggs, Pierson B. Reading and Black Bart
“A TASTE OF HISTORY” is grounded in the past and tied to the future. The annual spring event generates money for Shasta Historical Society so it can continue its work of exploring, preserving and sharing Shasta County history.
“It’s our main fundraiser,” says Denny Mills, interim director of the historical society. “It brings in the dollars necessary to maintain and preserve our research library and artifacts.”
Held at Shasta State Historic Park just west of Redding, “A Taste of History” features food, music, a silent auction and wine and beer tasting. It typically draws 250 to 300 attendees and raises $25,000 to $30,000.
“It has evolved into a really anticipated event in a beautiful setting – an opportunity to support the society and visit with a lot of friends,” Mills says.
“It’s a favorite fundraising event that’s more of a fun-raising event,” adds historical society board vice-chair Gary Lewis.
The seventh annual “A Taste of History” takes place from 5:30 to 8 pm May 23 on the lawn area behind Shasta State Historic Park’s Courthouse Museum. The location has special meaning this year following last summer’s deadly Carr Fire, which burned from Whiskeytown Lake into Redding and was devastating to the community of Shasta. The Courthouse Museum and the state park’s Pioneer Barn, Litsch Store, Blumb Bakery and Blacksmith shop survived the fire, but the park was closed for several months.
“It’s bringing people together,” Mike Moynahan, chair of the historical society board, says of this year’s “A Taste of History.”
“It’s a celebration that our (state) park is still there, even though so much around it was destroyed,” Mills says.
Shasta Historical Society has a long history with Shasta State Historic Park. “A Taste of History” grew out of an effort several years ago to support the state park when it was threatened with closure. The state park showcases the region’s Gold Rush history – the era when Shasta was known as the Queen City of the Northern Mines. Main Street was lined with shops, hotels and saloons, giving the town claim to having the longest stretch of brick buildings north of San Francisco.
The museum grounds, where “A Taste of History” will be held, hold reminders of Gold Rush times. Don’t be surprised if a few characters from bygone days materialize to mingle with the crowd. Volunteers in costume and in character will offer tales of the region.
“We’re hoping to have Pierson B. Reading, Black Bart, Mae Helene Bacon Boggs, Alvin Coffey,” Moynahan says.
The historical figures will wander among attendees, joining conversations and sharing their stories. In keeping with the history theme, tours of the Courthouse Museum will be offered. The museum is known for its collection of early California art and also has exhibits featuring artifacts from pioneer families. The courtroom, jail and gallows have been restored to reflect the 1860s.
North State wineries and breweries will offer tastings. There will be a silent auction and drawings featuring framed historic photos, western artwork, jewelry, restaurant gift certificates and more.
Other highlights are food and fiddle music. Redding Parks & Trails Foundation plans a bicycle ride from Caldwell Park in Redding to Shasta for the event.
“A Taste of History” is built around community, Mills says. The goal is for people “to come and enjoy friends, food and music in the beautiful Shasta State Historic Park setting.”
She also hopes the event sparks interest in the historical society and the
“I think having a sense of local history gives us all a better sense of place and community,” Mills says.
That history includes difficult history – “maltreatment of peoples and the destruction of many of our historic structures,” she says. “It’s important that we continue to document and retain records of our ongoing local history for future generations to come.” •
A Taste of History • 5:30 to 8 pm May 23
Shasta State Historic Park, Highway 299 about six miles west of Redding
Tickets: $40 in advance, $45 at the door
www.shastahistorical.org • (530) 243-3720