San Benito Lifestyle

Stage Almost Set For Bluegrass Festival at San Benito County Historical Park

The San Benito County Historical Society built a new stage to produce community concerts and special events

The San Benito County Historical Society has been busy preparing for the 23rd Annual Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, set for this Thursday through Sunday, Aug.11-14. The festival is a benefit that supports the Northern California Bluegrass Society. The bluegrass fun will take place at the San Benito County Historical Park, right next door to the original festival venue at Bolado Park in Tres Pinos, seven miles south of Hollister. Tickets may be purchased online here:

To that end, Historical Society president Delbert Doty designed a fortified mobile performing arts stage. Working together with director/caretaker Don Pidd, he helped build the stage with volunteer support from community members, Cal Fire crews and the regional chapter of The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV), a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area.

Doty told BenitoLink that he has been involved with the nonprofit since 2002 when he was asked to help start and maintain a vintage Hit-and-Miss Engine  for the organization. Hit-and-miss engines were made to produce power outputs from 1 through approximately 100 horsepower. They were used to power pumps for cultivation, saws for cutting wood, generators for electricity in rural areas and running dairy and farm equipment. They allowed the 20th Century farmer to accomplish much more than he was previously able to do.

Pidd sits on the Historical Society board of directors and lives on the property as caretaker to the Historical Village and adjoined buildings that house donated vintage farming and agricultural equipment from the 19th and 20th centuries. He also leads interpretive historical tours for class field trips, youth groups and other parties around the historical grounds providing an in-depth look into the past agricultural lifestyle local ancestors endured to build and sustain culture and society in early San Benito County times. Pidd told BenitoLink that the Historical Society is committed to making the historical park a venue for community events, concerts and youth group events. He also thanked the Community Foundation for San Benito County for its financial support to help build the stage.

The Historical Society partners with San Benito County staff to complement its Historical Park operations. The group also works with other community nonprofits and is interested in reaching out to groups like E Cubed Foundation, SBC Police Activities League/Junior Giants, the San Benito Stage Company and the Arts Council to encourage usage of the new stage and venue for special events like 5k runs, community concerts, festivals, award ceremonies and other special events.

The Historical Park consists of approximately 35 acres of rural property with facilities for barbecues, horse shoe pits and restroom facilities, though the water fixtures are designated as non-potable water. The Historical Society maintains about six acres of property that houses historic rebuilt structures from bygone days including a school house, dance hall, pharmacy, bar room and jail. 

Future park improvement plans include the construction of new electrical lines to facilitate Historical Village tours with a long term goal of the park to serve as the final leg of the San Benito County River Parkway Master Plan

The next big event to be held at the Historical Park will be the Civil War days held on the first weekend after Labor Day. 

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Michael Smith

Pro-economic growth, pro-music, pro-science, pro-retirement.