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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Miner's Day to Celebrate Ghost Town's History

LAS CRUCES--More than 120 years ago, gold was discovered on Baxter Mountain near White Oaks. Since that time, Lincoln County residents have come up with ways to celebrate the ghost town's history with with festivities like the fourth annual Miner's Day on June 5.

"Miner's Day combines the history of the 19th century gold mining in New Mexico with a lot of fun activities for people of all ages," said Mike Cook, coordinator of New Mexico State University's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism (REDTT) project.

The event, which begins at 9 a.m., will feature Madam Varnish, a famous 1880's faro dealer and saloon owner. Ruth Birdsong will portray Varnish, who returns to White Oaks to conduct a costume contest.

Festivities will include music, food, an authentic Old West shootout, arts and crafts and a parade--featuring cowboys, miners, floats and Smokey Bear.

Festival-goers also will have a chance to pan for gold, go on tours and learn more about local mining 100 years ago, Cook said. A play land and petting zoo will be available for kids.

"The Hoyle Castle, Exchange Bank and the schoolhouse are historical buildings that can still be seen by visitors," he said. "They also can tour the Miner's Home Museum and Miner's Tool Shed."

White Oaks is located 155 miles southeast of Albuquerque and north of Carrizozo. For more information about Miner's Day, contact Ruth Birdsong at (505)648-2363.

REDTT is a project of NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service that promotes agriculture through tourism, Contact REDTT at (505)646-8009 or visit its World Wide Web site at www.nmsu.edu/~redtt