What is Deadwood VERY good at? Throwing a party! Each year, the Deadwood Chamber hosts many events that draw hundreds of thousands of people to town. We hope 2008 will be no exception. We’ve got some great ideas for some new events and terrific additions to our existing events.

The year kicks off with one of my favorites, Mardi Gras, February 1 & 2. We started this event as a small little party in a couple of bars throughout Deadwood, but it has since turned into a two-day event with nearly 15,000 people in attendance. We’ll crown a King and Queen of Mardi Gras, host a New Orleans’ style Wake and of course have our annual Parade of Lights on Saturday.

It has been 55 degrees, it has rained, it has been 5 below zero and it has snowed. But we’ve never not had our Mardi Gras parade. I’ve seen naked fat guys and lots of pretty ladies. I’ve fallen off a float and broken an ice sculpture at the Saloon #10. Each year I watch as over 20,000 sets of beads are thrown out along the parade route and every year it just gets better and better. Just keep me off a float and away from any ice sculptures and I’m golden!

In future blogs I’ll talk about the rest of the event schedule but in the meantime here is our 2008 official schedule of events. Believe me; we’ll be adding events in the future…..but until next time, try to keep your boots clean.

March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day – Celebrate the Irish with this annual event that features a Pub Crawl, Irish music and the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Past Grand Marshall’s will be throwing out over $1,000 in redeemable St. Patrick’s Day tokens all along the parade route.

March 29 – Spring Fling/Citizen of the Year – Join the Deadwood Elk’s Club and the Deadwood Chamber for our annual Citizen of the Year awards. This second annual event will feature a free concert and dance featuring the Abbey Road Band and DD and the Fayroh’s while we honor Deadwood’s best and brightest. Admission is only two cans of food for the local food bank.

June & 8 – Mickelson Trail Marathon – Join us for one of the most beautiful and scenic marathons in the world. The Mickelson Trail Marathon draws thousands of runners each year as contestants run through the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota.

June 13 – 15 – Wild Bill Hickok Days – Get ready to kick off summer with the annual Wild Bill Hickok Days celebration. There is literally something for everyone at this Wild West event. We’ll feature the World Cowboy Fast Draw Championships, Gun Spinning exhibitions and Wild West Reenactors throughout town. Plus we’ll have two days of absolutely FREE concerts with major national acts right on Main Street.

July 22 – 27 – The Days of ’76 – This is truly the “Best Rodeo. No Bull”. The Days of ’76 has been named Mid-Size Outdoor Rodeo of the Year by the PRCA cowboys in 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007. Over 80 years old, come find out why the Days of ’76 is the Black Hills premier event. We’ll have five days of action packed PRCA rodeo action, two days of free parades and much, much more. Call 1-888-838-BULL for rodeo tickets.

August 21 – 24 – Kool Deadwood Nites – Relive the 50’s and 60’s with this four-day event that features over 600 classic cars with parades, show and shines, classic car auction and two days of FREE concerts featuring the finest in national entertainers.

September 12 & 13 – The Deadwood Jam – Enjoy two days of the very best rock, country, reggae and blues music on one stage in our historic city September 12 & 13. The event continues to grow and has fast become the Black Hills’ largest music festival. For tickets call Black Hills Central Reservations at 578-7702 or 888-838-2855.

October 2 & 3 – Oktoberfest – Join us as we celebrate Oktoberfest, “Deadwood Style”. We’ll have live German music, free food, dancing and the now famous Weiner Dog Races. Bring the family and join us for all the great activities.

October 25 – Deadweird – It’s spooky, it’s creepy, but most of all its very funny. A city-wide costume contest takes place with big cash prizes.