Gold Discovery Days starts Thursday

Jason Ferguson
It’s Gold Discovery Days (GDD) week and, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a full slate of activities scheduled, although some familiar activities have been cancelled or revamped in an effort to keep visitors safe.
Things get started Thursday with the opening of the carnival from 5-10 p.m.
Friday morning starts with the arts and crafts festival from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Washington Street between 4th and 5th streets. An hour later the carnival gets under way, with its setup again on the eastern part of Washington Street, just like last year.
New this year is an “At the Hop Drive-In Concert”  with Orion and Stacey Potter along with siblings Luke and Lizzie Anderson. The event will take place from 7-8 p.m. at the Custer High School parking lot. The event is free and those who attend will be treated to a concert with a 1950s music theme. Those who attend may stay in their car or are encouraged to stay within the vicinity of their vehicle.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights wrap up with the Legends in Light Show at Crazy Horse Memorial at 9:30 p.m.
The action starts bright and early Saturday, July 18, with the hot air balloon launch, weather permitting, at 5:30 a.m. at Pageant Hill.
From 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Top Pin Archery will host the Tom May Memorial 3-D Shoot. A half hour later, Custer State Farm will present the Bob Plaisted Memorial Car Show on Washington Street between 2nd and 4th streets. The show will run until 2 p.m. Registration for the show is from 8-11 a.m. and awards will be presented at 2 p.m.
Lineup for the parade will again be at Pageant Hill and follow the same path as a year ago.  From Pageant Hill it will travel 9th Street to Gordon Street, then down 8th Street and on to Mt. Rushmore Road. The parade will hang a right on 4th Street and head toward Crook Street and end at the community center. The extended route is to encourage people to spread out along the route for social distancing.
No candy, prizes, promotional items, etc. may be thrown from any parade float or vehicle. They must be distributed by walkers. Participants also cannot spray liquids at the crowd. Line-up begins at 8:30 a.m.
Custer Senior Center will host a sloppy Joe lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The carnival begins at noon at runs until 10 p.m.
The annual volleyball tournament begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at the sand courts on Washington Street. Prizes will be awarded for first and second places as well as best team name and best dressed. Registration deadline is noon Saturday.
A cornhole tournament will take place at 2 p.m. at Mt. Rushmore Brewing. Cost is $10 per two-person team and teams will be assigned based on a draw. Registration is at 1:45 p.m. There will be cash prizes for the top two placing teams.
Sunday, July 19, begins with another balloon launch at 5:30 a.m. at Pageant Hill, weather permitting.
From 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Top Pin Archery will again host the Tom May Memorial 3-D Shoot.
At 8 a.m., the Gold Rush Fun Run and Walk will be held, with registration starting ­at 7 a.m. at the Mickelson Trail trailhead at Harbach Park. Cost is a suggested $5 donation to the Custer High School cross country team. The youth race for 10 and under (1K) starts at 7:30 a.m. and is free. The official race starts at 8 a.m.
Runners have the option of starting any time between 7-8 a.m. and time themselves in an effort to allow for social distancing.
At 9 a.m. at Way Park Crossroads Church will hold a church service. The arts and crafts festival opens at 11 a.m. and will run until 3 p.m. The carnival reopens at noon and runs until 5 p.m.
The third annual Walt Thomas Memorial Golf Scramble begins at 1 p.m. at Rocky Knolls Golf Course Sunday. The scramble 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. No lunch will be served. To sign up, call Cheyanne at 673-4481.
Washington Street will be closed from 2nd to 8th streets, save for a single lane of traffic between Dacotah Bank and 6th street. Washington Street is  partially closed for the carnival set-up. It will be closed entirely by Saturday.
The allowing of open container for alcoholic beverages begins Thursday at 5 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. It will resume Friday at noon and last until midnight, resuming the next day at 10 a.m. and running until midnight. Open containers are allowed from 8th to 2nd Street on Washing-ton Street and to the north side of 8th Street from 2nd to 8th streets.
The chamber will purchase 16-ounce plastic cups in which drinks must be contained. No bottles or cans of beer will be allowed and all alcohol consumed in the open container area must be in event cups. Everyone will be carded and wristbanded to drink in the open container area, regardless of their age. The Custer County Sheriff’s Office will monitor the area.
Gone from this year’s Gold Discovery Days are the quilt show, flower show, stick horse races, gold nugget hunt, bed races, three-on-three basketball tournament, alumni basketball games, old-timer’s baseball game and Lion’s Club pancake breakfast. The vast majority of the cancellations are COVID-19 related and Custer  Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Dolsee Davenport said she expects most or all of the events to return next year.
The bed races were not cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, but rather, due to bed concerns. Davenport said said there should be brand new beds to debut at the 2021 bed races.

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