Celebrate Chautauqua in Keystone Oct. 8

Leslie Silverman
The West River History conference will celebrate Chautauqua in Keystone Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The day features music, speakers, vendors and tours, and the public is welcome to attend. Since 1993, the conference has been a way of preserving the historic record of western South Dakota, and the Black Hills.
The conference was co-founded by  Keystone local historian and writer, the late Bev Pechan. The conference is an offshoot of the Center of Western Studies conference, the oldest in the Stat and this is the conference’s 30th anniversary.
Part of the day’s activities included an open mic community share, where residents can share their individual histories. 
Laura Nuebert, executive director of the West River History Conference, hopes that locals and tourists alike come to experience the fun.
“A lot of people have really unique homestead experiences  in the State, “ Nuebert said. 
Nuebert stresses how vital those stories are.
“All local people have backgrounds and stories of how their families came to be in Keystone,” she said. “We are encouraging them to get up and share them.”
The event will be taped and added to a digital collection for preservation. 
“Local information will become accessible to the world,” said Nuebert, adding, “we encourage amatuer participation.”
In addition, the day is jam packed featuring stories and songs from Old Fort Meade, Western poet Bruce Roseland, the music and art of James Van Nuys and tours of the Keystone Museum.
Winners of the Kids Write History Project will be announced as well. This program began with a call to all fourth grade students in Western South Dakota asking them to write their own family history. 
More information can be found at westriverhistoryconference.org.

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