You may ask how Mark Twain, author of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, happened to travel to the desert. He didn’t. It’s just that the wooded meadows along the Mojave River in Victorville resembles Mississippi River life in the 1880s, and somebody came up with the brilliant idea for hosting a festival there, transporting frogs and popular yarns from the Sierra foothills and banks of the mighty Mississippi to this corner of the IE.
The 31st Annual Huck Finn Jubilee features three days worth of 1880s activities, such as river raft building, a fishing derby, whitewashing fences, climbing the greased pole, a Mountain Man encampment, and, on the final day, a Tom Sawyer look-alike contest (whose winner hosts Sunday’s Injun Joe Treasure Hunt). And if you haven’t read up on Twain’s famous frog, do so before you enter the frog jumping contest, or get it from the man himself, Mike Randall (as Mr. Twain himself), as he regales us with Bad Habits, the Ghost Story, and of course, the tale of the California frog. And if the hot air balloon rides, tomahawk throwing and the egg toss and cow-chip-throwing contests couldn’t keep you entertained, face off with beer-guzzling muscle men (hope you don’t end up with the actual pro) at Saturday’s California State Arm Wrestling Contest.
Main stage headliners include Roy Clark (of Hee-Haw and Beverly Hillbillies fame), the Dillards (of The Andy Griffith Show), Cherryholmes (the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2005 Entertainer of the Year) and Rhonda Vincent. They’ll share their billing with the four national bluegrass finalists who’ll duke it out for the title of National Bluegrass Champion. So dust off those straw hats, pack your kids and pets into the RV, and head on over for three days of R&R and father-son bonding in the backcountry, Huck Finn style. (Nancy Powell)
The Huck Finn Jubilee at Mojave Narrows Regional Park, 18000 Yates Rd., Victorville, (951) 341-8080; www.huckfinn.com. Fri., June 13-Sun., June 15. $15-$20 ($5 for children ages 6-11).