A new chill in the air, the smell of old-fashioned deep pit barbecue, history, music and reunions with old friends — it must be Shoshone’s Old West Days! This venerable first weekend in November tradition kicks off another a busy round of arts and culture events in and on the southeastern edge of Death Valley National Park.
Nov. 1-3: Shoshone’s Old West Days celebration begins Friday night with Inyo County Fifth District Supervisor Matt Kingsley opening the ceremonies at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m., Kingsley will make a special presentation, followed by keynote speakers Judy Palmer and Linda Greene talking about the Civilian Conservation Corps and its work in Death Valley in the 1930s. The weekend continues with a bountiful arts and crafts show, old-fashioned deep pit barbecue on Saturday, plenty of live music and outdoor demonstrations including Gladys the Recyclescope. For more information call the Shoshone Museum, 760-852-4524.
Nov. 1-2: Death Valley National Park winds up its 25th-anniversary celebration with astrophotography lessons and mining history on Friday, a 5K run/walk with Superintendent Mike Reynolds and free cupcakes and displays at the Visitors Center at noon on Saturday. Check their website for more details: https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/calendar.htm
Nov. 2 -11: Gladys the Inyo County Recyclescope tours Death Valley. This hands-on, colorful, multi-viewer kaleidoscope is made entirely of recycled materials and travels with creator Judyth Greenburgh. Gladys is appearing at Shoshone’s Old West Days, the Death Valley 49er Encampment, and the Tecopa Takeover Music Festival. For more information, visit their website: https://www.goodent.org/gladys.html
Nov. 3: A new exhibit called “Desert HeArt” opens at the Tecopa Art Gallery on the grounds of the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, featuring paintings by mixed-media artist Jen Shakti. Reception is 2-5 p.m. The exhibit runs through January 11, 2020. For more information, visit Jen Shakti’s website: https://www.jenshakti.com
Nov. 4 – 10: The Death Valley 49er Encampment convenes for the 70th year in Death Valley National Park celebrating Western history with live music, Western art show and sale, an appearance by the famous 20-mule team, dancing, campfire stories, and much more. See the 49er website for more information: http://www.deathvalley49ers.org/encampment
Nov. 6: Make a kaleidoscope from recycled/reclaimed materials! Workshop led by Judyth Greenburgh at the newly formed Desert Arts Collective in Tecopa. Workshop is $25 plus a materials fee per scope. Kids 7 to 13 are free with paying adult. Greenburg’s appearance at the Arts Collective is in conjunction with her Gladys Recyclescope tour of Death Valley. Call 415-272-3611 for more information.
Nov. 7-10: Tecopa Takeover Music Festival at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. This three-day event features live music from over twenty bands as well as children’s activities. Tickets are $80 in advance, $90 at the gate, children are free. Attendance is limited and this year’s event is nearly full so advance tickets are recommended. Check their website for more details: https://www.tecopatakeover.com
Nov. 9-10: History is the highlight of the Death Valley Junction Homecoming weekend. From presentations and walking tours around the grounds by former residents who were born, grew up, or worked in the Junction over the years, to historians looking back on the very early days of settlement there, to a live, full-scale ragtime orchestra, the weekend “is about our shared history,” said event organizer Bobbi Fabian, manager of the Amargosa Opera House. Proceeds from the two-day event will go to put a new roof on the Opera House and further conservation work on the famous murals. Cost varies, options include a full weekend pass, or a la carte tickets for lectures, food, and music on Saturday night.
The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra from Pennsylvania is performing in Death Valley Junction on Saturday, Nov. 9 as part of the homecoming event. Call the Amargosa Hotel for more information and to purchase tickets—early bird specials are on offer. 760-852-4441.
Nov. 15: Author Jim Anderson is at the Shoshone Museum to talk about his humorous hiking memoir, “Sometimes a Great Notion Isn’t So Much,” detailing a 1974 hike he and three friends made through Death Valley from Mount Whitney to Badwater, 6 p.m., admission is free.
Nov. 23: Jeremiah and the Red Eyes play at the Amargosa Opera House. This blues/Americana band is fronted by Emmy Award-nominated singer/songwriter Jeremiah Sammartano. Adults $20, children $10. Call the Amargosa Hotel to purchase tickets: 760-852-4441.
Nov. 29: Author Ken Lengner, who has written eight books packed with answers to all the questions you might ever have about the history and geography of Death Valley, is at the Shoshone Museum to talk about his work, 6 p.m., admission is free.
Robin Flinchum is a freelance writer and editor living in Tecopa, California.