If you love cars, music, art and family-friendly entertainment, you will definitely want to head up to Gold Bar this weekend to experience Gold Dust Days.
The Gold Dust Days festival is a three-day event which will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 25, and will run through 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 27. The festival is meant to honor Gold Bar’s mining heritage and to recognize and celebrate the history of the Sky Valley.
The event has been carefully cultivated by Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce Director Debbie Copple to not simply be another Shindig.
“There’s no reason to have two identical events,” said Copple. “One of the biggest differences between them is the approach to children’s activities.”
While Shindig has a carnival, Gold Dust Days focuses on traditional activities like gunny-sack races against local firefighters, lasso lessons, horseback rides, hay wagon rides, face painting, a bouncy house and more. There will also be an art gallery so that kids can both show off their artistic abilities and then display their work.
All children’s events, other than the horseback rides, are completely free of charge.
Festivities begin at 4 p.m. on Friday with the street fair, and from 4 to 6 p.m. there will be a bicycle decorating workshop which is free for all kids, followed by a parade-on-wheels to showcase the newly decorated bicycles.
At 5 p.m. festival attendees have a choice between the Gold Dust Days Variety show or the Miss Gold Dust Days pageant, which will be held in the Gold Bar Elementary School gym.
New Gold Dust royalty in seven age divisions will be crowned at the pageant. According to pageant directors Patty and Katelyn Baller, the Miss Gold Dust pageant is more of a community service pageant than a beauty pageant. Gold Dust Queens participate in community outreach work all year long, volunteering and fundraising at many local events. Admission to the pageant is free, but all attendees are strongly encouraged to bring an item of food as a donation for the pageant food drive.
Saturday morning will begin with an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast hosted by the Gold Bar VFW, followed by the grand parade which will begin at 10 a.m. at the Gold Bar Family Grocer. This year’s parade will feature the brand new Sky Valley parade float; Sky Valley Citizens of the Year, Joe and Anne Beavers and the 2014 Grand Marshalls, William Purdy and Kelly Clifton Purdy.
Kelly and William provide extensive community outreach to Sky Valley residents, working hard to bridge the gap between local support agencies and folks who struggle with obtaining services. The couple has been helping residents in Index recently stranded due to the landslide near Sunset Falls by delivering supplies every Wednesday to those who need them.
Saturday will also include several events sponsored by The Rat Bastards Car Club, which will be hosting a classic and street rod car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as other events like their 1950s-style pinup contest. Last year’s pinup winner, Kaitlyn Hornsby, also known as Miss Autumn De Vine, will be directing this year’s pinup competition.
Long-time Gold Bar residents Ron and Marcia Foreman, hot-rod enthusiasts who head up the Rat Bastards Car Club, will be featuring a spoofy, just-for-fun, slow drag racing event called the “Rat Race” which is brand new to the Gold Dust Days festival. Competing drivers participating in the slow drags are permitted to give their vehicles an initial burst of gas, but after their car reaches a specific point on the drag strip, they are not allowed to either hit the brakes or give the car any more gas.
Once the vehicles make it across the finish line, the winners will be chosen based on their back tire’s proximity to the line. Sometimes, explained Ron, drivers have to employ non-traditional methods in order to get their cars across the finish line.
“They get their doors going,” said Ron. “And everyone is hollering and screaming, trying to create inertia for the car to keep rolling.”
The Foreman’s hold their “Rat Race” event at other car shows throughout the year.
“It’s a blast; this will be our seventh year doing it,” said Marcia.
The Rat Bastards Car Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring hot-rod vehicles, particularly those made in 1969 and older. The Foreman’s recently donated their time to participate in a fundraiser for Alex Rodriguez, a 5-year-old Gold Bar child who suffers from extreme environmental allergies.
Musical performances on Saturday include Dakota Newman at 11 a.m., Sheryl Wiser and Pete Alber at noon, folk music by Sam Inman at 3 p.m., local 17-year-old singer Dawson at 4:30 p.m., and at 6 p.m. the Bluweevils will take the stage for a mix of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Sunday is officially bluegrass day, and in addition to the street fair, a bluegrass band called the Convergence Zone will be performing from 12 to 3 p.m. at the main stage.
Both Saturday and Sunday will feature activities at the Civil War Encampment located at the U.S. 2 Park, and attendees can grab a free ride on Tractor Ron’s hay wagon to travel back and forth from the street fair to the encampment area.
The street fair, which will be ongoing throughout the entire three-day festival, will include hand-crafted items made by local artists.
For more information about Gold Dust Days contact Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce Director Debbie Copple at 360-793-0983 or see the event guide located here: http://www.skyvalleychamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/2014-Gold-Dust-Days-Events-Guide.pd