Gold Discovery Days starts Thursday

By Jason Ferguson

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The annual Gold Discovery Days Bed Races typically bring out the best in costumes and this year was no different, as “The Outsiders” donned colorful tutus and leis as part of their outfits. The five are members of the wrestling team at Augustana University and friends of Custer High School graduate Clayton Wahlstrom, who is also on the wrestling team at Augustana. From left are Regan Bye, Tanner Brengle, Brandon Carroll, Bailey Neises and Keaten Schorr.

Gold Discovery Days (GDD) is here, and more events and different locations for events are planned during four nights of fun starting Thursday evening with the return of the carnival.

For the first time in around 18 years, GDD will feature a carnival, as Mac’s Carnival and Attractions of Woonsocket comes to town with rides for young and old, games and plenty of food. The carnival will run from 5-10 p.m. Thursday, with the same hours Friday before running from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The arts and crafts festival starts Friday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The festival has moved to Washington Street between 4th and 5th streets, as Washington Street now becomes a hub of sorts for the weekend.

Friday is also the first day of the Custer Piecemakers Quilt Show, which will take place at the Armory. Hundreds of quilts will be on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $3 admission for the show and the show includes vendors, a quilt raffle, challenge contest, open sewing and voting for a favorite quilt.

The quilt raffle will be for a 90” x 101” Black Hills Backroad Quilt. 

At 2 p.m. on Friday the Caroline Hatton Flower Show begins at Custer Senior Center.

The flower show honors the late Caroline Hatton, longtime Custerite, avid gardener, Custer County Master Gardener and a founding member of the Custer Mile High Garden Club (CMHGC). 

The flower show is open to anyone who wishes to submit an entry. Entries will be accepted Friday, July 19, 9 to 11:30 a.m. with judging from noon until 2 p.m. Friday.  Public viewing is Friday, 2-4 p.m. and Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entries may be picked up from 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday. 

There are three classes of entries. Class 1 is cut flowers with 25 different lots of cut flowers, Class 2 is floral arrangements with eight various lots  and Class 3 is potted plants with eight distinctive lots. Each entry is judged against the flower’s standards, not against the other flowers entered in the same lot. 

Adults and youth are judged separately. Blue, red and yellow ribbons will be awarded. There will be a special prize for Judge’s Choice, as well.

Details about the classes, lots and rules, plus helpful guidelines, are available at Custer County Library, Custer Senior Center and Jenny’s Floral. Further questions can be addressed by calling 673-2820 or 673-3812.

 The kids’ golden nugget hunt is Friday in the grass on the east side of the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce building at 5:15 p.m. That will be followed by the stick horse rodeo at 5:30 p.m. at the same location.

The annual bed races are moving to between 3rd and 4th streets on Washington Street. The races will begin at 6 p.m. with the calcutta in which spectators can bid on teams.

At 7:30 p.m. Black Hills Playhouse will host a performance of “Side Show,” while the street dance will begin at 8 p.m. between 2nd and 3rd streets on Washington Street. Music will be provided by “100 Proof” and there is a $5 cover charge. Kids are welcome at the street dance. Those 21 and older who wish to drink must show an ID and will be provided with a wristband. The dance is no longer bring-your-own- beer and no coolers will be allowed in the area.

Friday night wraps up with the Legends in Light Show at Crazy Horse Memorial at 9:30 p.m.

The action starts early Saturday, July 20, with the hot air balloon launch, weather permitting, at 5:30 a.m. at Pageant Hill. Those who watch the balloons take off can then head to Way Park for the Lions Club pancake breakfast, where members will serve the public from 6:30-9:30 a.m.

From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Custer State Farm will present the Bob Plaisted Memorial Car Show on Washington Street between 2nd and 4th streets. This has been moved from the previous location of the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce parking lot. Registration is from 8-11 a.m. and awards will be presented at 2 p.m.

The quilt show is available for viewing Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Armory and the 96th annual parade will begin at 10 a.m. down Mt. Rushmore Road.

Lineup for the parade will be at Pageant Hill, which is a change from previous years.  It will then travel 9th Street to Gordon Street, down 8th Street and onto Mt. Rushmore Road.

The parade ends at 4th Street where entries will turn north by the 1881 Courthouse Museum. The chamber encourages spectators to watch the parade by Lynn’s Dakotamart, as the parade travels a shorter distance and Lynn’s is  toward the beginning of the parade.

At Pageant Hill, numbers will painted on the grass corresponding to parade entries, indicating where parade entries should line up. Line-up is at 8:30 a.m.

Following the parade, Custer Senior Center will host a sloppy Joe lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

At 1 p.m., a cornhole tournament will begin at 1 p.m. at Custer Beacon.

The annual volleyball tournament also begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at the sand courts on Washington Street. There is a  $40 entry fee and teams must have two females on the court at all times. Prizes will be awarded for first and second places as well as best team name and best dressed. Registration deadline is 12:45 p.m. Saturday.

The annual alumni basketball game is slated for 6 p.m. at the Custer High School gymnasium. The women’s game will be first, followed by the men’s.

Another Black Hills Playhouse presentation of “Side Show” will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and the Legends in Light laser show will once again take place at Crazy Horse Memorial at 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 21, begins with another balloon launch at 5:30 a.m. at Pageant Hill, weather permitting. That will be followed by the Custer YMCA Gold Rush Fun Run and Walk at 8 a.m. This 5k run/walk is held on the Mickelson Trail on relatively flat terrain.

Age groups are 29 and under, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and older. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finisher in each group. Children 10 and under may register for the free 1k to be held at 7:30 a.m. Cost for the 5k for adults is $20. The race begins at the trailhead at Harbach Park. Registration may be done through the YMCA or the morning of the race.

At 9 a.m. at Way Park, Vineyard of the Black Hills and Crossroads Church will hold a church service.

The second annual Walt Thomas Memorial Golf Scramble begins at 1 p.m. Sunday at Rocky Knolls Golf Course. It is for teams of four at $50 per player. There is an 18-team maximum, so pre-registration is suggested. Those who would like to play, but don’t have four players will be matched with a team.

Lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is included in the fee. To sign up, call Holly at 517-2411 or Paul at 673-5097.

More sports take place at 2 p.m. with the old timers’ baseball game at 2 p.m. at the baseball field near Custer High School. A matinee of “Side Show” at the Black Hills Playhouse is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and the weekend wraps up with the Legends in Light laser show at Crazy Horse Memorial at 9:30 p.m.

Washington Street will be closed from 2nd to 8th streets, save for a single lane of traffic between Dacotah Bank and 5th street. Washington Street is closed starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, in order for the carnival, craft fair, bed races and band area to be set up.

Open containers of malt beverages will be allowed beginning Friday at noon until midnight that day, while resuming the next day at 10 a.m. and running until 7 p.m. The open container will be allowed from 5th Street to 2nd Street on Washington Street and a Custer VFW beer tent will be placed in that area as well. 

The chamber will purchase 16-ounce plastic cups in which malt beverages will be sold. No hard alcohol or bottles or cans of beer will be allowed. Everyone will be carded and wristbanded to drink in the open container area, regardless of their age. The chamber will provide security for the event.