If you’re looking to celebrate July 4 in an old-fashioned way, you’re in luck as the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce, 1881 Courthouse Museum, Custer VFW and Custer American Legion present the annual Old Time Country Fourth of July Celebration July 3-7.
The Patriots’ Parade, Kids’ Parade, Children’s Fair, live deejay, flag ceremonies, military vehicle show and and arts and crafts fair are just some of the fun available this weekend.
Attendees can meet guests such as JJ Kent, who will have his 20-foot-tall tipi and a President Teddy Roosevelt reenactor. On the morning of July 4 the American Legion will have flags available for donations. All events are free and open to the public.
The Old Time Arts and Crafts Fair Is July 3-7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the 1881 Courthouse Museum.
The fair will have a selection of arts and crafts and antique exhibitors from several states among the nearly two dozen vendors and exhibitors.
Among the roster of exhibitors and vendors will be handmade jewelry, Tumbleweed Designs, Buffalo Valley Soaps, Rainbow Rock Art, Custer Piecemakers Quilt Guild, Heavenly Treasures, Create, Lone Elk Gallery, Busy Ewe Farmland Fibers, Daddy’s Goodness BBQ, Kona Ice, Through Our Eyes Photography, Katya’s Korner, Pure Team Essentials, Teepee Canyon Jewelry, John Williamson’s Woodcrafters, George Regan’s Chuckwagon, Turn & Burn Custom Cuts and Cream of Country.
There will be gold panning demonstrations July 3 throughout the day. In addition, there will be free entertainment in the courtroom July 5-6 at 2 p.m. Performing July 5 will be Pegie Douglas, who has put music to Badger Clark poems. Allen and Jill Kirkham, international award-winning Western music duo, will perform July 6. Both shows will be staged on the back entrance landing on the north side of the museum. In case of inclement weather, the shows will be held in the courtroom on the museum’s third floor.
The Children’s Fair will held in Way Park July 3 from noon to 4 p.m. and July 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair will have 11 old-fashioned games such as bean bag toss, knock over wood pile, basketball game, corn hole, ring toss and bubble blowing. For the children to get in the patriotic spirit, there will be self-serve face-painting. On July 3, the kids can make red, white and blue wooden flags, sponsored by Custer Do It Best. Each child visiting the fair will receive a special gift.
Way Park will be filled with the sound of music from JD Productions which will play music for children. There will be games and dance contests for children to participate in and receive prizes.
An addition to the children’s fair this year is Kent’s tipi in the middle of the park, where Kent will explain to children what it was like to live in a tipi and how people lived off the land.
On July 4, “President Roosevelt” will visit Custer. He will be in the Patriots’ Parade, flag ceremonies and Patriots’ Picnic at Custer Senior Center. President Roosevelt professional interpreter, Gib Young, has been a lifelong admirer of Roosevelt and is a member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
There will be two parades on Independence Day starting at 10 a.m. when a B-1 Bomber from Ellsworth Air Force Base will fly over downtown Custer. The 1881 Courthouse Museum will present the Patriotic Kids’ Parade, which will be led by Boy and Girl Scouts.
Children wishing to be in the parade should decorate their bicycles, wagons, carts or other “mobiles” and meet at 9 a.m. at the skate park across 8th street from Lynn’s Dakotamart. Additional decorations will be at the park, as well. The museum will pass out red, white and blue visors to the first 100 children.
The Patriots’ Parade honoring military personnel, veterans and first responders will follow the Kids’ Parade. The parade marshal will be Col. Terry DeRouchey of Custer to honor his 30 years of service in the Army and as a 50-year Legionnaire. He is a West Point Academy graduate who served as an Army Airborne Ranger. He was deployed to Korea, Germany and other countries during his service.
This year’s special guests being honored in the parade include Curtis Halverson for American Legion, Virgil Kock for VFW Post 3442, World War II veterans Floyd Mills (Navy), Roy Roadifer (Marines) and Harold Stickney (Army Air Force), and 28th Bomb Wing Commander Col. David A. Doss and his family of Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Riding in Paul Larson’s 1948 CJ – 2A Jeep will be past state vice commander Ed Thompson, who will hold the American Flag that will be raised at the flag ceremonies.
Flag ceremonies will be at 11 a.m. July 4 at Custer Veterans Memorial Park on Washington Street following the parade. Gib will have a short welcoming remark. The lowering ceremony will include Jim Hattervig reading “This Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash, Jeanine Gould singing “America the Beautiful,” Hattervig reading the meaning of each fold of the flag and a 21-gun salute that will be followed by the playing of Taps by Grant Sullivan to retire the colors.
Following the flag retirement, the raising of a new flag will take place, as will a salute to veterans. The flag-raising ceremony will feature presentation of the flag, Hattervig reading “In Harm’s Way,” Bob Trimberly singing the National Anthem and Hattervig reading “About the Flag.” All veterans and active military personnel are invited to help lower and raise the flag.
The second annual military vehicle show will start after the parade around 11:15 a.m. and run until 2 p.m. at the chamber parking lot. One of the vehicles on display is Gary Kuchar’s 1951 Nash Ambassador, a military staff car during the Korean War. The Crazy Horse Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol will host an information table for Wreaths Across America.
The American Legion, Custer Senior Center and VFW will host the fifth annual Patriots’ Picnic for military personnel, veterans, first responders and their families at the senior center. The picnic will start at 10:30 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, potato salad, beans and lemonade will be served.
Veteran’s Outreach by the Custer County Veterans Service office will host the Rapid City VA Mobile Veterans Center, Black Hills Suicide Prevention and Citizen Soldier for Life from Rapid City from 11:20 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program will be located next to the senior center to assist veterans with obtaining VA benefits.
Custer Volunteer Fire Department’s annual fireworks show will begin around 9:30 p.m. on Pageant Hill on 8th and Canal streets.