In 1939, the need for a school for Central Valley and Project City inspired three local businessmen, Lee Griner, Clyde Akin, and Earl Wiggins to sponsor the original community celebration, Hell's Gulch, to raise money needed to start construction of the schools.
Hell's Gulch was a fun event and truly was western in character. It featured such goings-ons as shot-gun weddings, street dances, contests, and burning the casket of Old Man Gloom.
The second celebration was held to raise money for a fire truck to relieve the Bucket Brigade, which had to draw water from shallow, hand-dug wells that often went dry in the summer. Again, the celebration was successful and Central Valley's first fire truck, a 1921 4-cylinder REO Speedwagon was acquired
World War II brought an end to the celebrations, and it wasn't until 1948 that Hell's Gulch was revived. This time it was a mass celebration to commemorate the completion of the $150,000 water system by the newly formed Shasta Dam Area Public Utility District. This was not a fundraising affair. It was a fun affair and featured such western hi-jinks such as hanging the lone man who voted against the water bonds (in effigy, of course).
In 1951, under the leadership of Mrs. Cleo Tenney, the civic organizations were banded together and incorporated under the name Shasta Damboree Delegation, and inaugurated a fish derby as the featured event.
In 1952, Sylvia Bernardino was crowned the first Queen of the Shasta Damboree. She was later sent to San Francisco to advertise our community as a Sportsman's Paradise.
In 1953, a Water Carnival and Regatta
were added attractions.
In 1954, we added a Coronation Ball, and the formal dedication of the new Central Valley Fire Hall.
And in 1960, our first area residents,
the Native Americans, featured a
cultural dance exhibit.
In 1979, a special event was added to showcase our honored citizens. These were the people who came to find work and then stayed to build a community. They brought many talents with them. Some were well-educated, and some were coarse in speech, but they all had a zest for living and enjoying life in this area to the fullest extent. Most of all, they had the ability to see what needed to be done and the perseverance to follow a project to the end.
Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the completion of Shasta Dam. This year
Shasta Dam Builders reunited to
celebration it's completion. This year's
cover featured the 3 Shastas: Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake and Mt. Shasta. This
collectable Shasta Damboree Magazine
was originally sold for $2.00.
In 1994 the Damboree featured a Cruise Night, the first annual "For Pete's Sake", dedicated to Pete Peasha. This event raised funds for a scholarship awarded to a Central Valley High School student who planned to study at a trade or vocational school at the college of their choice.
In 2001, the Shasta Damboree celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the first Damboree (Hell's Gulch). At this year's Damboree Parade we celebrated a community member who dedicated his life to the betterment of our new little city, Rod Lindsay. Rod and his wife, Cindy, led our parade as our 2001 Parade Marshal. At this time, Rod had served on the Shasta Damboree committee for 19 years. Rod continued to serve on our committee until he passed in August of 2020.
In 2013 we celebrated the 75th
Anniversary of the construction of the
Shasta Dam. This year's theme was
"A Dam Good Celebration" and our
annual Shasta Damboree Magazine
featured stories of the building of the
Dam and many historical photos.
2017 brings us into the modern era of our organization. This year our committee made the decision to rename the Damboree to the Boomtown Festival. Our goal was to revive our community event and put it back on the map.
Many ask why we chose the name Boomtown Festival. A boomtown is described as a town that undergoes sudden population and economic growth. That is what the festival does for our community, it creates a population and economic boom during the festival.
In 2018, Northern California was ravaged by the Carr Fire. The fire raged through the surrounding community, devastating and taking everything from many. Thanks to our first responders and volunteers held the line and kept the fire from crossing into our town.
At this year's Festival and for the first time in history, we recognized over 50 individuals spread across 7 different local organizations as our Hometown Heroes. It was a small, but meaningful token of our gratitude.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic we canceled the Festival for the first time since 1948. This was one of the hardest decisions for our committee to make, but it was the best choice for our community.
"Park & Play in the City of Shasta Lake" was the theme for the 2023 Shasta Damboree Magazine. This was in reference to the over two million dollar grant the City of Shasta Lake was awarded to put into the Parks in our Community.
Thought many community meetings it was decided that this funding will be used for the following: to build a new modern skate park in our community, to upgrade the lighting and facilities at our baseball parks and to install a top of the line Disc Golf Course in our town.
Over the next few years, these projects will be completed expanding what our great community has to offer.
In 2024 we are excited to see what the future holds.
Above: Rod Lindsay & previous Shasta Damboree President, Stephanie Griffin