Music on the Green Saturday

Gray Hughes

The first Saturday in the Park — Music on the Green — will be held on Aug. 1 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the lawn at the Hill City Visitor Information Center (VIC).

This came about thanks to matching grant dollars being made available from the Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association to its members, said Janet Wetovick-Bily, executive director of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“As a member, the Hill City Chamber has previously applied for — and received — matching grants for Hill City events such as the Black Hills Film Festival and Hill City Quilt Show and Sale,” Wetovick-Bily said. “We are always looking for these types of opportunities that augment and extend the chamber’s efforts to promote Hill City, promote events and afford great experiences for all of our area visitors, whether they are local or visiting from around the state or nation.”

Wetovick-Bily said having asked the chamber’s board for the go-ahead to apply for a grant for this peak-season event designed to provide a great experience for both families and visitors, the chamber is now able to showcase Hill City, the VIC, the grounds at the VIC and local partners.

Saturday in the Park — Music on the Green is a free, family-friendly event designed to provide an afternoon respite and musical enjoyment after people have had a day exploring Hill City and the surrounding area.

Brent Morris and the Western Acoustics will play from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The chamber is encouraging patrons to grab their blanket or lawn chair, grab a meal from a local Hill City restaurant or partake in the offerings at the concert and enjoy some good music.

For purchase at the event will be ice cream from Cream, sloppy Joes from the Hill City Lions Club and kids from the Hill City High School band will have water and soda. The soda and water sales will help send kids to band camp.

There will also be a free-will donation to help benefit the Hill City Food Pantry.

Rich and LeeAnn Jensen from Double Diamond Ranch have made their trailer and tent available for the event. Bethesda Christian Broadcasting has provided an advertising package one chamber member will win.

Other essential helpers include Pennington County Sheriff’s Office for traffic control, City of Hill City through Brett McMacken and the public works team to help set-up, and the VIC and chamber staff who are assisting with greeting and set-up.

This event, Wetovick-Bily said, was planned prior to the impact of COVID-19 and had other components such as vendors and kids activities; however, like so many other events this year, heavy consideration was given to whether the event could be held safely.

“With safety and health considerations our first priority, we’ve simplified and modified it to follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and all health guidelines and recommendations,” Wetovick-Bily added. “That includes promoting the shared responsibility of practicing social distancing, encouraging facemask, frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing for a healthy experience that can be enjoyed by all.”

In order to ensure the event is safe for all, picnic tables will be spaced around the perimeter, hand sanitizing stations will be available and the chamber’s expectation is that attendees will assist in the responsibility to keep all safe.

This event was originally and simply conceived as a three-part (once-a-month or more frequent) series for visitors to “get in the groove” of enjoying music in Hill City during the peak season, with the thinking that the VIC grounds could be showed off, Wetovick-Bily said.

When the “destination gathering place” or “plaza” is completed through the efforts of the Hill City Economic Development Council, the event would move there and become a regular spot for concerts, movies, events and more, she added. This event is meant to be the kick-starter until the plaza is built.

However, this is an unusual year, so “we’ll consider it a test and go from there,” Wetovick-Bily said.

Overall, though, the chamber and Wetovick-Bily are grateful to have this opportunity to celebrate the Hill City community — and community in every sense of the word — along with everything else the Black Hills has to offer.

“We appreciate everyone’s support and encourage everyone to come out to make this a fun event,” Wetovick-Bily said.

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