Days of '76

Days of '76

Last week in July
This celebration held each year in Deadwood, South Dakota, is an attempt to revive the spirit of the gold rush days. It is timed to coincide as closely as possible with the anniversaries of the deaths of "Calamity Jane" Canary (August 1, 1903) and "Wild Bill" Hickok (August 2, 1876), two of Deadwood's most famous residents.
The festivities begin with a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo. Then there is a three-mile-long historical parade that includes floats portraying the various stages of, and characters in, Deadwood's history—from the earliest settlers to the coming of industry and tourism. A kids' carnival and a rodeo are in town during the festival, and street dances featuring country music take place Thursday through Saturday night.
A highlight is the reenactment of the capture and trial of Jack McCall, who shot the much-admired U.S. Marshal James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok in the back, and who was eventually hanged. The shooting, capture, and trial are reenacted every afternoon from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Visitors can also tour long-abandoned gold mines and Mount Moriah cemetery where Calamity Jane, the famous frontierswoman, Wild Bill Hickok, and the brilliant young minister Henry Weston "Preacher" Smith are buried.
CONTACTS:
Deadwood Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
767 Main St.
Deadwood, SD 57732
800-999-1876 or 605-578-1876; fax: 605-578-2429
www.deadwood.org
SOURCES:
GdUSFest-1984, p. 172