St. Patrick’s Day in Deadwood

Deadwood, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, has a lot to offer year round, however, some holidays there are special events spread throughout the town – including St. Patrick’s Day.

The festivities begin this year on Friday, March 15. The Leprechaun Olympics take place at various locations depending on the event. The first event starts at 7:00 pm and they continue until 10:00 pm, followed by the Leprechaun Olympic Award Ceremony. Beginning at 5:00 pm that evening open containers are allowed in certain parts of the town (in official cups only).

Green beer

The fun continues on Saturday, March 16 with the annual pub crawl. Registration is from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm with the crawl beginning at 3:00 pm. This event is only for those 21 and older. Awards for the pub crawl are given at 8:00 pm that evening. This pub crawl is one of the largest in the region with 1,200 participants expected. That’s a lot of green beer!

One of the highlights of the weekend is the St. Patrick’s Day in Deadwood Parade, which begins on Saturday evening at 7:00 pm on Deadwood’s Main Street. The parade is so popular and well attended, there is a second parade on Sunday, March 17 at 3:00 pm.

Throughout the weekend, there are open container allowances. These times are 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Friday, 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm Saturday, and all day on Sunday, March 17.

St. Patrick’s Day is held in honor of the St. Patrick. Early images of Saint Patrick often depict him driving snakes out of Ireland. However, he is credited with converting Ireland to Christianity in the 5th Century. March 17th marks the anniversary of his death.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held by early Irish immigrants to the United States in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737. In 1762 another parade tradition began in New York City, thus beginning several parade celebrations annually.

Even those without Irish roots get into celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day. Some Irish pubs fill up soon after they open on March 17th. The city of Chicago uses vegetable dye to turn the Chicago River a toxic shade of green for a few hours every year. In Great Britain it is the tradition to wear shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day allowed for a break from Lenten prohibitions including feasting and dancing. A common feast consisted of corned beef and cabbage along with Irish bacon. This traditional feast carried into the United States with Irish immigrants.

No matter what your tradition or way of celebration, it is hard to not get caught up in the excitement of the day’s festivities. St. Patrick’s Day in Deadwood offers some fun activities for the Irish and also those who are only Irish for a day. Make it a weekend and stay at a great Deadwood hotel such as Cadillac Jack’s to complete the experience.

Slainte!

The Best Rails to Trails in the West – The Mickelson Trail

Mickelson Trail

If you are in Deadwood, South Dakota to enjoy some gaming, do not forget to check out what nature has to offer in this ponderosa pine covered area. The trail offers a chance to get outdoors – from a leisurely walk to an intense workout, the Mickelson Trail allows you to soak in the sights and smells of the Black Hills.

The George S. Mickelson Trail is a packed gravel path that stretches almost the entire length of the Black Hills, about 109 miles, from Deadwood to Edgemont on an abandoned railway line, along with an additional nine miles of branch trails. This scenic path includes four tunnels, more than 100 converted railroad bridges, and unparalleled views of the landscape. In 1998 efforts were completed to convert this once functional Burlington Northern operated railway line into trails maintained by the South Dakota Fame, Fish and Parks Commission. The trail is named after George S. Mickelson, the South Dakota governor who assisted in spearheading the project.

There are a variety of activities to take advantage of on the trail, other than walking and hiking. The Mickelson Trail passes through the small towns of Hill City, Custer, and Deadwood where bicycle rentals and horseback trail riding outfitters are offered.

The trail has 15 different trail heads that offer parking, water and restroom facilities. Some of the trail heads have small picnic shelters. The entire length of the trail still meets railroad standards for grade, so most of it does not exceed 4%, however, there are parts that are considered strenuous especially in the northern section, so a bit of pre-planning depending on your individual needs should be considered.

While adventuring along the Mickelson Trail, there is a good chance that you will come across some South Dakota wildlife. Care should be taken if an encounter happens, as some can be dangerous. Mountain lions, rattlesnakes and big horn sheep can become aggressive if startled. There are also free range cattle that can be found on or crossing the trail that could also become aggressive or spooked to a stampede if they are frightened. You may also catch a glimpse of deer, elk, turkeys and beavers which are generally more elusive of humans and more apt to hide upon your passing. Gardner snakes and grass snakes enjoy sunning themselves on the warm trail bed, so it’s a good idea to keep a peripheral eye on the ground.

The trail holds several racing events annually, including the Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon and the Run Crazy Horse Marathon. For bicyclists, the annual Mickelson Trail Trek is a three day ride that covers almost the entire expanse of the trail.

There is a small fee for a trail pass that you may purchase for one day, or you may purchase an annual pass. These can be found at self service stations along the trail, from authorized vendors, or online.

Next time you are enjoying some gaming in Deadwood, don’t forget to check out the surrounding beauty and splendor that is the Black Hills. A great place to do this is on the nearby Mickelson Trail.