LEAD — For nearly 100 years, the people of Lead have gathered for one of the most endearing summer celebrations in the Black Hills, the Gold Camp Jubilee.
The jubilee began as a 50th anniversary celebration of the Homestake Gold Mine and the wealth it brought to the Lead and Deadwood communities. Today it showcases patriotism and national pride as the biggest Fourth of July celebration in the state.
“It is called the Gold Camp Jubilee so we tried to do a little bit more wit the mining theme,” said Sierra Ward, executive director for the Lead Area Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the annual event series.
This is Ward’s first year at the helm.
“Obviously it’s a little overwhelming when it’s your first year, but I think it’ll be fun,” she said. “It’s the Fourth of July; it’s hard not to have a good time on the Fourth of July.”
This year’s jubilee will continue the tradition of fun with a four-day festival, which kicks off at noon on Wednesday. The Phoebe Apperson Hearst Lead Library will host a puppet show with Markie Scholz at 1 p.m., with volleyball and poker tournaments later in the evening.
The Rod and Gun Club will host its annual pancake breakfast starting at 7 a.m. Thursday. Veterans of Foreign Wars #5969 will conduct a flag raising ceremony at 8 a.m. at Manuel Brothers Park, and at 9 a.m. vendors and beer garden open. Live music and events will be there throughout the day, David Vardiman will give two talks on the history of mining throughout the Black Hills, one at 10 a.m. and one at 11 a.m., both will take place at the Historic Homestake Opera House. At noon, Lead’s Main Street will be buzzed by a B-1 flyover, and the opera house will kick off its Stars and Stripes Forever nostalgia party in the courtyard. The Black Hills Mining Museum will be offering paid tours of their “underground mining” dioramas throughout the afternoon. At 3 p.m. the parade will start in Deadwood and wind up through Central City, then line up at Lead-Deadwood High School; once all participants are accounted for, they will march down Main Street.
The Northern Hills Community Band will take the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center ring patio at 8 p.m., and the biggest fireworks display in South Dakota blasts off over the Open Cut at dusk. Live music and open container continues until midnight.
Beer and food vendors will open at 9 a.m. on Friday at Manuel Brothers Park. Live music, mining museum tours, and the Yahtzee Run will fill the day, and at 6 p.m. the Plains Speaking People show will broadcast live from the Historic Homestake Opera House with live music by Hank Harris.
The party picks back up on Saturday at 8 a.m. with the Mile High Show & Shine at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center parking lot. Live music will kick off at 11 a.m., and car show awards will be announced at 4 p.m.
Throughout the four-day celebration, the Lead Area Chamber of Commerce will have an information booth set up at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center.
“So if people want specific answers to questions, or where to go, or what to do they can come se us in person and get live answers,” said Ward.
For more information and complete list of scheduled events, visit www.leadmethere.org/gcj/gold-camp-jubilee-days-in-lead/.
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