GDD was bigger, better this year

“It was a great weekend!” Those few words pretty much sum up this past weekend’s Gold Discovery Days events, but hardly do it justice. “It was a really great weekend,” would probably be more like it. Even the weather cooperated for a change.

First of all, moving the arts and crafts festival and car show to Washington Street was a great idea and allowed for more vendors to set up and lots more cars to be shown. Organizers said there were more than 150 cars displayed with a great variety of older and newer and custom and stock vehicles. That has to be a record! The impressive display filled up three blocks at the west end of Washington Street. It was a well-organized, fun event.

Of course, a carnival with a good variety of rides for young and old really added to the four-day celebration. It was a big hit and was well received,  adding a fun atmosphere to the east end of Washington Street. Good visibility from Lynn’s Dakotamart parking lot probably drew in a lot of  visitors to the festivities. It was busy from the time it opened late Thursday afternoon to when it closed late Sunday afternoon. It is scheduled to return next year.

The big parade began with a helicopter flyover again this year, to the delight of the crowd. They are a little slower and a mite quieter than the B-1 that flew over the start of our Independence Day parade, but they are always a crowd pleaser. It’s a good way to kick off a parade. And a big water fight is always a good way to conclude a parade as the Class of 1999 demonstrated so well.

The new parade route seemed to work out well, also, according to Custer Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Dolsee Davenport. “Overall, we thought the changes this year went very well. We heard many compliments throughout the weekend that people enjoyed being able to walk up and down Washington Street and having most events within close proximity of each other,” Davenport said. “We’ve already been discussing some tweaks for next year in hopes of making the changes even better moving forward.”

The carnival was a big addition and everyone was glad to see it return after a long absence. Additions like the cornhole tourney also brought more people to town. The Friday nugget hunt and stick horse event and Saturday volleyball tourney continue to be popular events.

It takes a lot of volunteers to put together so many activities in three days. We commend the chamber staff and board of directors for organizing these activities and for all the improvements we saw this year. We believe the 96th Gold Discovery Days could be the best ever and we can’t wait to see what is in store for next year.


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