Dust off that big ol' hat, fasten that even bigger belt buckle and pull on them boots. It's the first week of June, y'all, and for the horse-loving town of McKinleyville, that means one thing: Pony Express Days. The event, named for a courier-style horse race that was once the festival's main draw, rides in to town for its 47th year with food, a parade, a dance, gymkhana and more.
If you missed the kick-off on May 30, don't worry — the action continues Wednesday, June 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the chili cook-off, where you can indulge and judge ($8). But don't stick a fork in yourself because you're not done. Recover with some Tums and head downtown on Saturday, June 6 at 11 a.m. to watch as the Pony Express Days Parade makes its colorful and fragrant way down Central Avenue (free). Follow the horses, cars, dignitaries and more horses (watch yer step) down to Pierson Park for the festival from noon to 4 p.m. (free). This family fandango includes live music, kids' activities, craft booths, food, the Pony Express Saloon and a horseshoe tournament. While the Pony Express Race doesn't happen anymore, there's plenty of horse action at the gymkhana (competitive horse games) on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 at the Kjer Road Arena.
Yes'm, there's plenty to see this week. So git 'er done, cowboys.
— Kali Cozyris