Whiskey Flat Days

Whiskey Flat Days awaits you in 2023. PHOTO COURTESY CHET STEELE


By Darla A. Baker, The Daily Independent

After an extremely successful event in 2022, the 66th Annual Whiskey Flat Days will return to Kernville, Calif., over President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 17 through 23, 2023.

Close to 100,000 people reportedly attended the four-day event which is one of the largest and longest-running of its kind for the small, normally sleepy town.

This year’s theme has not yet been determined as a contest is currently underway for suggestions. Whiskey Flat Days will feature three days of fun for the whole family.

Established in 1957, Whiskey Flat Days are held rain or shine as one of California’s most anticipated festivals celebrating days of yore.

Just a short three-hour drive from Los Angeles, and a 63-mile drive up the hill from Ridgecrest, patrons will find the quaint town of Kernville, home to Whiskey Flat Days.

Each year, the community opens its doors to tourists to get a glimpse into what the good old Wild West Days of what life was like for gold miners, cattle ranchers and fur trappers.

Four days of fun will include a parade, Wild West Daze Rodeo, Wild West Encampment, carnival rides, Frog Jumping Contests, Whiskey Flat Mayor Contest, food and craft booths, Epitaph, Costume and Whiskerino Contests, Line Dancing, Pet Parade, Blue Grass and Country Western Music, art show, Gunfighter Skits, kids activities, games, and so much more.

The Flying U Rodeo will also present the Whiskey Flat Days Wild West Daze Rodeo. Tickets are good for admission to one day of the rodeo, either Saturday or Sunday. Each year, the rodeo attracts approximately 30,000 spectators.

This year’s rodeo will be held in honor of owner of the Flying U Rodeo, Cotton Rosser, who passed away earlier this year.

Said Sanders, “We will celebrate the life of Cotton Roster during the Wild West Encampment.”

Sanders encouraged the public to come dressed in period costume and enter a chance to win.


One of her favorite events is the costume contest agreed Mickie Phillips, office administrator for the Chamber of Commerce.

“I love seeing the adults, children and dogs dressed in costume,” Phillips said.

Said Sanders, “Whiskey Flat Days throws us back into the days of when our valley first started with the gold miners and then turned into ranching. We also had our Indian tribes.”

Another feature not to be missed is the Whiskey Flat Encampment.

“This will be our 20th year of doing Whiskey Flat Encampment which is an area near the rodeo which celebrates the way the lived back in 1860 when Kernville was created,” said Orion Sanders, president of the Kernville Chamber of Commerce.

Presented by McNally’s Fairview Lodge, the Whiskey Flats Encampment will include reenactments of Western Days of the 1800s. It will include an Indian camp, cowboy camp, the Calvary and a whole bunch of activities.

Said Phillips, “This is a family fun and oriented event. The past event broke the record for attendance. I hope this next event will have the same turnout if not better.”

Don’t miss the annual Whiskey Flat parade.

Said Sanders, “The parade is always huge, and the kids love the carnival. Of course, the parents love all of our vendors and food. Bring the whole family and celebrate the weekend with us.”

For those who are looking to stay overnight or camp, available spaces are closing fast, so act fast. A full list of lodging and camping sites are available on the chamber’s website.

Whiskey Flat Days are held each year, regardless of rain or shine. In the history since its inception, it has only skipped a year during the height of Covid, however it was held virtually that year.

For more information, visit kernville.com. More details on the schedule of events will be posted at a later date.