I’ve lived in Humboldt County for about 5 years and in that time, I’ve come to appreciate how many festivals happen throughout the summer- and how that festival season is growing longer and longer each year. Festivals run deep in Humboldt County’s history, and if there’s one that’s been a continual hit over that 150+ year history, it’s 4th of July. It’s been celebrated differently over the years depending on many factors including ease of transportation into the area, size of the population, and what was happening in the larger United States.
After the Civil War ended, 4th of July celebrations became more festive again. Games like tug-o-war between teams of loggers took place at Sequoia and New Era parks. Firemen would race pull carts with hoses on them, concerts were held, and a variety of performances were held by local and traveling performers. One performance consisted of a man on a tightrope passing between the roof of the Humboldt County Bank at second and G (where the Black Faun gallery is now) to the Vance Hotel. Another popular performance was of a man who filled a balloon with hot air through a pipe over a fire, ascended into the sky, then parachuted down. In one performance, a dog parachuted down as well on its own parachute and survived the landing, but the performance was claimed to be inhumane to the poor dog, so it wasn’t repeated in Eureka.
Ann Hunt, 4th of July in Humboldt County, 1855-1865 Humboldt Historian, Summer 2012
Glen Nash, Entertainers, Hucksters, and Stunts Humboldt Historian, March-April 1986