Frog Jumping Jubilee Day is celebrated annually on May 19. The Calaveras County Fair is where the Jumping Frog Jubilee happens. It’s disguised as a small-town fair but don’t let looks fool you. City of Angels Camp is where the tale of Frog Jumping Jubilee Day begins and there’s so much more to learn.
In City of Angels Camp, both the locals’ beloved County Fair and International Frog Jumping Contest happen in the third week of May where frogs are not only made to jump but to compete with one another. There is so much more to this story than just the holiday itself. A mix of history and fairytales come together on Frog Jumping Jubilee Day, an annual event attended by 30,000 to 50,000 people.
History of Frog Jumping Jubilee Day
Frog Jumping Jubilee Day as a tradition has been cherished since 1928, located in the beautiful rolling foothills of California’s Gold Country, City of Angels Camp. The internationally known Calaveras County Fair is where the Jumping Frog Jubilee happens, and can be better understood through a little bit of literary history. This treasured tradition commemorates and dates back to the short story by Mark Twain known as “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”
In the 1860s, Mark Twain, who was still known as Samuel Clemens, was trying to find a way to mine gold to be able to pay off his debt. A local bartender in California, specifically in Angels Camp was immersively retelling a funny and absurd story of those frog competitions that some locals enjoy in the small town. Clemens didn’t find gold but he did find his true calling to become a writer. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” was published as a book in 1867. This narrative and legend from the Gold Rush not only shaped Twain’s popularity but also made little old Angels Camp and Calaveras Camp internationally known.
A road was fixed in Angels Camp and suddenly in the 1920s, residents who were close to Twain were inspired to celebrate the town by holding the first annual, international frog jumping contest in Angels Camp itself. It was so successful that two years later, they decided to merge the Country Fair and Frog Jump event at their home in the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp, California. Today, tens of thousands of visitors flock to attend the four-day event.
Frog Jumping Jubilee Day timeline
“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is published as a book in 1867.
A road is fixed in Angels Camp and inspires locals.
The first annual frog jumping contest is held in Angels Camp.
Rosie the Ribeter, a frog, breaks the jumping record for jumping more than 21 feet.
The Board of Directors of the 39th District Agricultural Association adopts the Frog Welfare Policy.
Frog Jumping Jubilee Day FAQs
What is the message of Mark Twain's “Jumping Frog”?
One of the themes is double-dealing and deceitfulness.
What strategies do the contestants use to make their frog jump?
Jockeys follow a ritualized strategy that’s been honed over the past few decades. Crouching, they rub the frogs’ hind legs, then drop them a short distance to the ground. A moment after the frog lands, they chase after it, either shouting at it or blowing at it from behind.
What is the world record for frog jumps?
The longest frog jump is three feet, 11.64 inches, and was achieved by Noa Möller of Sweden at Palatset in Stockholm, Sweden, on 19 November 2011.
Frog Jumping Jubilee Day Activities
Read Mark Twain’s tale
What better way to learn about this holiday than by reading the story that started it all. You’ll also get to experience why Twain is considered such a great storyteller.
Find out about frogs
Study frogs and learn why they’re so important to the ecosystem and environment. If you’re too scared to go to a local pond, you can also watch Youtube videos about them.
Have your own jumping competition
If you or your friends can’t host a frog jumping competition, why not be the jumpers yourselves? Get together and make your own rules to see who can jump the farthest.
5 Facts About Frogs To Get Your Hop On
Frogs don’t drink water
Frogs consume water through their skin.
Colorful frogs have poison
Many poisonous frogs are colored this way to warn predators.
Frogs can molt or shed their skin, which they usually eat afterward.
Frogs jump real high
On average, frogs jump 20 times their own height.
Frogs can survive extremes
Frogs are amphibians and can easily adapt to extreme changes in temperature and environment.
Why We Love Frog Jumping Jubilee Day
We appreciate the influence of literature
We learn about Twain’s tale of frogs. Besides being an entertaining read, the short story also has a lesson to be learned.
Frogs are useful
Frogs eat mosquitoes and are important to the food chain. One study found that a frog population in a certain area removed over 50,000 insects per acre every year.
Jumping competitions are entertaining. Although the concept is strange, it’s also interesting.
Frog Jumping Jubilee Day dates