DAYTON — Arturo Martell, 7, discovered gold in Dayton on Saturday.
“I kind of shook it, and a little bit of dirt came out,” he said. “Then we just got all that big dirt out and we started to see the little gold.”
He wasn’t sure what he was going to do with his nuggets, but he was sure what he wasn’t going to do.
“Not sell it,” he said.
Gold panning stations were among several attractions set up during Dayton’s Nevada Sesquicentennial celebration, Discover Gold in Dayton, Again — honoring the town’s distinction as the site of Nevada’s first gold discovery.
David Terwilliger was among a group of prospectors teaching the craft of gold panning.
“You get it all slurried around, then what you do is move it around where the rocks are right up to the ripples,” he explained. “You’re trying to get as much air as you can so the gold will go under the dirt to the bottom.”
Adolph Sutro told his tunnel tale, John D’s Barn was on display with an old-fashioned blacksmith demo, and tours were available of old downtown in a grain wagon. Hayrides also were available to the Dayton Cemetery and Gold Canyon, accompanied with historical lectures.
Mark Twain, played by McAvoy Lane, made an appearance in the afternoon.
“It’s fun to see the re-enactments,” said Shana Hamblin, who came with her family. “They had a really cute one where they shot people. They have people playing the fife and drums for the Civil War re-enactment.”
Elaine Bergstrom, director of the Historical Society of Dayton Valley, set up the “men’s area,” with demonstrations in log cutting and rock drilling.
“We’re trying to bring back life as it was,” she said. “This gives people the opportunity to experience what the men actually did.”
Fred Andreasen, former world champion for several years in the single-jack rock drilling — a sport mimicking the technique used by early miners to drill holes into rocks to place dynamite — said he was happy to see the event included.
“It just goes back to the old times,” he said. “It keeps the interest in it.”