75th Anniversary 2024


TENTATIVE SCHEDULE  (Please check back for updates and information)

Note locations for each event as to where they will be held.

*Other events will be added pending volunteers to organize and run them and participants.  If you would like to volunteer for an event you would like us to offer, (4 x 4 trip, hike, gold panning, etc.) please email Chiarperson Robert Whipple or use the Contact Us option.


Wednesday, November 6th

  • 9:30 am – 2 pm, History Programs @ Longstreet Inn, Colorado Room
  • 6 pm – 9 pm Pizza Night and Coyote Howl (Open Mic, entertainment, and singing) @ Longstree Inn, Colorado Room

Thursday November 7th

  • 9:30 am – 4 pm, History Programs @ Longstreet Inn, Colorado Room
  • 5 pm – 8 pm, Potluck and campfire songs with the Corral 14 Wagon Train @ DVNP Sunset Campground

Friday, November 8th

  • 9:30 am – 11 am, Wagon Train send-off @ DVNP Sunset Campground at 10 am. Their planned route is up Hwy 190 to Badwater Road and onward to Desolation Canyon.  *The parade will NOT be at the entrance to The Ranch at Furnace Creek. You may set up chairs along Sunset Campground entry or along Hwy 190.  Make sure you pull your vehicle completely off the roads.
  • 11:30 – 12:30 Park update with Supt. Mike Reynolds and Abby Wines @ Furnace Creek Visitor Center Auditorium
  • 4 pm – 7 pm, 75th anniversary banquet @ Longstreet Inn, Colorado Room
  • 8 pm – 10 pm, Music and entertainment with Old West Trio and Tony Argento @ Longstreet Inn, Colorado Room

Saturday, November 9th

  • 9:30 – 10:30, Trail sign dedication @ DVNP Desolation Canyon
  • 11:00 am  – 12:00 Veterans tribute and music with Tony Argento and Old West Trio @ Furnace Creek Visitor Center Auditorium
  • 1:00 pm – 4 pm, 75th anniversary and centennial celebration history program @ Furnace Creek Visitor Center Auditorium
  • 7:00 pm – 9 pm, More music and entertainment @ Longstreet Inn, Colorado Room

Sunday, November 10th

  • Time TBD – DV ’49ers encampment review and meeting @ Longstreet Inn, Colorado Room

About the Centennial Celebration

From 1948 through 1950, Californians held a birthday party for their state. Through cavalcades, exhibitions, parades and festivals, they celebrated the centennials of the gold discovery, Gold Rush, and statehood. By far, the most ambitious event was a star-studded pageant in the heart of Death Valley. This dusty re-enactment of the Manly Party’s 1849 crossing drew thousands of spectators, and led to Death Valley’s first, and probably only, traffic jam. In addition to sponsoring many local events, the State of California launched a traveling museum containing historical artifacts and documents in two converted buses. This program ensured that all parts of California could join in the centennial celebrations.


The Death Valley Suite is a short symphonic suite written by Ferde Grofé in 1949, depicting the westward travels of pioneers through the ‘harsh lands’ of Death Valley in California. Grofe was commissioned by the Death Valley 49ers, a non profit organization devoted to preserving the pioneering and mining history of the Death Valley region (consisting of Death Valley National Park and surrounding area). The composition and music was part of a pageant celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 49ers who came by way of Death Valley in search of gold and other riches and celebration of the California state centennial (1850-1950).

The original performance was conducted by Grofe with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony on December 3, 1949 in the Desolation Canyon area of Death Valley National Monument (now Death Valley National Park). The music was used in the background as a procession of covered wagons entered the area. Actor James Stewart narrated the pageant celebration. The 1949 pageant was attended by 65,000 people.

The movements are titled:

I. Funeral Mountains – a strange atonal movement in 5/4 time
II. ’49er Emigrant Train – features colorful musical depictions of an Indian attack and a wagon train
III. Desert Water Hole – a medley mixing Oh! Susannah and the main theme of the piece.
IV. Sand Storm – another atonal movement featuring a wind machine with a final coda recapitulating the main dramatic theme.