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4th of July, the Fool's Gold Way

Flags have been hung along downtown streets in preparation for the annual 4th of July festival this weekend. No Vacancy signs are commonplace as tourists flood town. Fool’s Gold, the Parade Capital of California, has a long history of patriotism. During World War II, locals began a community-wide victory garden in Pyrite Park and took fresh fruits and vegetables to the USO Club in San Francisco every week for servicemen setting off for the Japanese front.

Festivities start early on Sunday, July 4, with a triathlon sponsored by local athlete and businessman, Josh Golden. The race will start on bikes at the Gold Rush Ski Lodge & Resort.

“It’s a whole lot easier to bike downhill,” says Golden, flashing his famous smile. Newly engaged, Golden smiles a lot these days. “This isn’t a race so much as it is a good time. We’re not that formal. We don’t even do the events in the typical order. First we coast downhill, then we run from one end of Frank Lane to the other, and then we splash around in Lake Ciara for a few minutes.”

After the athletes come out of the water, they’ll enjoy scrambled eggs cooked over an open fire, provided by the local VFW chapter, the only chapter in the nation that is comprised predominantly of women.

Pia O’Brian, the Fool’s Gold Event Planner, has a suggestion for people who prefer not to sweat. “Our 4th of July wine tour is fabulous. An air-conditioned coach will pick you up at your hotel, drive you to each of the vineyards in town to sample their wines, and then get you back to town in time for the fireworks over the water.”

Fool’s Gold is known as the Land of Happy Endings, and watching the fireworks, timed to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, is sure to be a happy ending to a very happy day.

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