What is Oildorado?

Many communities hold annual celebrations to commemorate anniversaries. Taft is different. The town celebrates its birthday once every five years. But what a celebration it is!

The city’s birthday bash pays homage to the hardy men and women who migrated to this dusty southwestern corner of the San Joaquin Valley when oil seeps were detected shortly after the turn of the century. Oildorado runs for 10 days, and it has something for everyone – a grand parade, melodrama, queen pageant, entertainment, barbecues, dances, civic luncheon, and much more.


Oildorado Board & Committee




A tradition of every Oildorado celebration has been the Whiskerino Contest where manly men put their facial hair to the test. Now, not every man is required to put his whiskers up for a panel of judges to scrutinize, but every man must have some facial hair or possess a Smooth Puss Badge.


Tessie Garratt Pony Tail & Hair Bun Contest

Oildorado celebrations through the years focused only on men and their facial hair until the 1995 celebration when the Tessie Garratt Ponytail and Hair Bun event was added, a move that brought added interest – not to mention a measure of equality – to Oildorado. The contest was initiated to honor Tessie Garratt, who was Taft’s first woman city council member. Ponytail categories are best blonde, red, brown, gray, and black. The hair bun contest includes neatest, most unusual and most comical.


Maids of Petroleum Contest

Each yeah, the good folks of the town select a handful of lovely maidens called the Maids of Petroleum to be the official royalty of theOildorado celebration. One of them is selected to be the fairest of them all, and she’ll be called the Oildorado Queen.


The Sheriff and His Posse

2000 Sherriff Portrait
2000 Oildorado Sheriff

Early day Taft had its share of shenanigans and lawlessness such as horse thieving’, cattle russlin’, chicken stealing, egg sucking, and other high crimes and misdemeanors waged against the good folks of Moron (now called Taft).

To make sure that sort of behavior is kept in check, Oildorado Sheriff Bryan Sellman and his posse have the unenviable task of enforcing the celebration’s version of law and order. In addition to watchin’ out for varmints guilty of the above transgressions, Sheriff Bryan and his boys will also be on the lookout for clean- shavin’ menfolk who don’t own an official Oildorado Smooth Puss Badge. Those scofflaws are destined for a trip around town in the Hoosegow – a trip that ends in shelling out some dough for a badge, of course. The Sheriff and Posse also serve “Wanted – Dead or Alive” warrants sworn out by local citizens.


The Wooden Nickel Gang

As if Sheriff Bryan and his posse don’t have enough to worry about, what with enforcing the facial hair edict, they also have to be on the lookout for an even more sinister gang of malcontents – the Wooden Nickel Gang. Wooden nickels are the official currency of Oildorado and the Gang knows that, so those ornery critters are hell bent for leather in their undying quest for that precious commodity by any means necessary. During the course of Oildorado Days you can expect to see a few shootouts between Sheriff Bryan valiant band of law protectors and those evil cusses in the Wooden Nickel gang. Why, it’s a classic example of the struggle of Good versus Evil!


The Hoosegow & Warrants

Part of the fun of Oildorado is to get into the spirit by having someone tossed into the Hoosegow – even if they haven’t, technically, broken any of the Oildorado laws. The way to do that is to swear out a “warrant” for someone you would really like to see get into the Oildorado spirit.


Costume Contest

Oildorado is a flashback to the turn of the century when the discovery of oil brought legions of folks to the area to cash in on black gold fever. Many celebration participants get into the spirit by dressing up in clothing of the period. That, naturally, spawned interest in a contest to see who can get “duded up” the best. This event is held in conjunction with the Whiskerino and Ponytail/Hair Bun contests. Categories include best woman, man, girl, boy and family. Costume judging will be held at the same time as the Whiskerino and the Ponytail and Hair Bun contests.


Grand Parade

Oildorado Days doesn’t just have a parade. We call it the Grand Parade because it eclipses anything staged in Kern County. There’s simply nothing like it. The Grand Parade is expected to attract a crowd that could hit 30,000. A grand marshal, floats, marching units, the Oildorado Queen and Maids of Petroleum, the Posse and Wooden Nickel Gang – you’ll see all that and more.


Oildorado Store & Headquarters

The previous Taft Chevrolet building will be the home for the 2015 Oildorado Store & Headquarters. The building, located at 401 North Street, is located close to downtown and within walking distance of Rails to Trails and the Oildorado Event Tent. The Oildorado Store & Headquarters will open October 1.