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Calaveras County Fair & Frog Jump Jubilee

May 19-22, 2022

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Part frog-filled folklore, part classic country-fair fun, the annual mid-May Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee stands out as one of those wacky crowd-pleasers that everyone should see at least once in their lives. The frog-jump competition that is part of the Gold Country fair, recreates “The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County,” a short story by former resident Mark Twain that may or may not be based on a true face-off between leaping amphibians back in the 1800s.

Since 1928, humans have entered their best jumpers and—with shouts, ground slaps, and anything else that may prove effective short of physical contact—encourage their frogs to leap further than any other. (The California Fish & Game Commission has overseen the contest since 1933 to ensure frogs are treated humanely.) Best jump ever goes to Rosie the Ribeter, who leapt just over 21 feet in a single bound back in 1986.

The frog-jump competition begins on the first day of the fair—always a Thursday—and continues on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the contestants are whittled down, so no matter which day you can make it, you’ll be sure to catch some of the action. And it’s not just local talent—teams representing frogs from all over the state show up to compete, hoping to make the International Frog Jump Grand Finals.

While the frog jump is the attention-grabber at the Calaveras County Fair, said to be one of the longest-running events in California, there’s plenty more going on to be appreciated and enjoyed here. The gently rolling hills and agricultural nature of California’s Gold Country are the perfect setting for a classic rural fair. True to its Western heritage, this one includes professional rodeo in the Frogtown Rodeo, complete with champion bull riders and a “buckaroo” kids’ competition. You can also typically choose your favorites in the junior livestock auctions, enjoy live music and a demolition derby, and take a spin on a classic carnival ride.

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