You could say we have gold in our blood here. After all, the California Gold Rush began here in 1848 when John Marshall discovered gold in Coloma, along the South Fork of the American River. Over twenty five million ounces of gold were mined in the Sierra Nevada foothills during that period.

Today you’ll find an impressive number of sites and attractions dedicated to preserving the history of the 49ers and the Gold Rush, including Marshall Gold Discovery State Park (where James Marshall discovered gold) and Gold Bug Park, the only gold mine owned by a municipality (the City of Placerville).

So it would seem fitting that El Dorado County host the World Gold Panning Championships in September 2016. We couldn’t be more excited. Sponsored by the World Gold Panning Association, which promotes panning and prospecting in a spirit of peace, understanding, and fair play, the 2016 event will bring 600 competitors from 30 countries to the gateway to the Mother Lode.

world gold panning association image of people gold panning

This family friendly event, to be held at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, will feature a variety of festivities, including the gold panning competition, tours of the Gold Bug and Priest mines, a parade, a car show and chili cook-off, a gem show, guided hikes, concerts, and even a Mini Miners educational day for elementary students.

The gold panning competition pits opponents against each other and the clock, as each pans native sand and gravel to find placer gold in record time. Award categories include Juniors, Men, Women, Veterans, multi-person teams as well as National Teams.

Learn more about the 2016 World Gold Panning Championships, and remember that it’s never too soon to start thinking about a September visit to El Dorado County.