& & by Lisa Leinberger & & & &

Historical figures like Ernest Hemmingway, Teddy Roosevelt and Mother Jones are all convening in historical Wallace, Idaho, this weekend to help celebrate its annual Heritage/Huckleberry Festival.

Local actors are performing as several characters from this old mining town's past and playing host to some of its main events.

The festival kicks off this Friday with a Peddler's Fair that is set up in empty lots throughout the town. The public library will welcome everyone to an open house to showcase its latest renovations and sell books. That evening, you can treat yourself to a Dress Ball. Be sure to come in period dress, to knock $10 off the price of admission.

Saturday boasts a barbecue cook-off, a fly-tying contest, the Huckleberry Fun Run and a parade that features a pet parade, and will give everyone a chance to show off his or her period costumes. You can also start off your day with a huckleberry breakfast to get you going.

Finish off the weekend relaxing on the Depot lawn and enjoying an afternoon tea party. In between, you can experience some of the town's unique history.

The town of Wallace enjoys a rich, colorful past. Brothels once peppered the town whose population was at one time 200 men for every woman. One of these, the Oasis Room, was still in business until 1973. Tourists can stroll through the building, now a museum, and take a tour.

Another tour that celebrates the history of Wallace is that of the Sierra Silver Mine. Mining was the town's main moneymaking business in the late-1800s, and fortunes were made and lost for many of the town's citizens.

After a quick trolley ride to the mine, the hardships of miners at the turn of the century can be appreciated as you put your hardhat on and cross its threshold. A retired miner will even be there to brief you on the job.

Another highlight of the town is the Northern Pacific Depot. In 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt arrived at the Depot and traveled to the park in an open carriage. It survived a fire in 1910 that nearly wiped out the entire town. Since its closing in 1980, the building now houses the Northern Pacific Depot Railroad Museum. Visitors can gaze at photographs from the early days of the building and study a 13-foot lighted glass map of train routes.

Whatever you find in Wallace this weekend, you can be sure that there will be a history lesson to go along with it.

The Wallace Heritage/Huckleberry Festival runs all day Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18-19, at locations throughout town. Call (888) 236-6702 or check out www.historic-wallace.org.

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