Hermosa Saturday Night will celebrate Custer State Park

By Ron Burtz

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A celebration of 100 years of Custer State Park (CSP) will be the theme of Hermosa Saturday Night on Saturday, April 27. The event, to be held at the school gym, is the annual fundraiser for the Hermosa Arts and History Association (HAHA) and will feature a sneak peak at the organization’s planned exhibit focusing on the centennial of Custer State Park.

HAHA board member Candice Leigh says speakers for the event will be Craig Pugsley and Richard Miller, retired CSP employees, who will present the history of the park. 

“Our decorations are going to be like a picnic in the park,” said Leigh, “so we have a tent and hiking boots and poles … that sort of thing.”

Also present at the event will be what Leigh calls a “teaser” for the CSP exhibit that will be at the Hermosa Arts and History Museum in June.

“We will have a poster showing how animals were brought into the park for the original game preserve,” said Leigh, noting the poster will show a timeline of what years different animals were brought in. 

It will also feature interesting stories, “like their experiment with trying to pull moose into the park and how they ran home to Wyoming. They didn’t last very long in the game preserve.”

She says the teaser will also give some information on the zoo that was in the park at one time. 

Leigh said HAHA is coordinating efforts with the park on its exhibits because Hermosa is CSP’s next-door neighbor and serves as a gateway to the park. 

“Much of our population has worked in the park as full-time or seasonal employees,” said Leigh, adding, “We’ll have some of the oral interviews that we’ve done with former park employees.”

HAHA will have a preliminary floor plan drawing of the museum and will ask attendees to give input on the kinds of programs they would like to see at the museum and how they would like to see the museum develop as far as education programs and public events. 

There will be a silent auction composed of collector items, including crocks, glassware, bells and mugs designed by local artist June Lee for the Hermosa centennial celebration in 1986.

“And we’re trying something new,” said Leigh, referring to an innovative fundraiser in which participants can buy a number to win prizes ranging from $50 to $500.

Doors open for the event at 5 p.m. with a meal created and served by HAHA volunteers at 5:30 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

The event is free with the option of a free-will donation. Donations are tax deductible as HAHA  is a 501 (c)(3) organization.

Leigh says HAHA continues to recruit volunteers in the hope of opening the museum for limited hours on weekends this summer.