by Mandan Lynn
Smithwick, South Dakota
August 26, 2007
At the end of August, Deadwood hosts Kool Deadwood Nights. The main event seems to be the classic cars, whose owners may register them on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. The cars are then on display for the entire weekend and are judged on Saturday morning.
On Friday and Saturday night, Main Street is blocked off so people can set up chairs and enjoy the free concert. Our chairs made up part of the third to last row -- and we could barely see the stage! There were so many people. In the front (we walked down there to take a peek) couples were dancing to the music of Johnny Rivers and DD and the Fayrohs between 6pm and 10pm.
On Sunday there is a parade and then some of the cars are auctioned off! So if you’re looking to buy a new car, this might be the place to find something truly special.
We arrived in Deadwood around 5:30 on Friday evening, and already there was no place to park. The driver dropped us off and went to find a place while we set up our chairs in the street by Hickok’s casino. We visited the casinos, stopping for $1 beer -- if you bring your event glass to fill. Until 10pm during Kool Deadwood Nights, you are allowed to drink beer (no hard liquor) in the streets, as long as you are drinking from your special event glass, which can be purchased at the casino bars. Drinking something alcoholic other than beer or from anything other than the event glass means a steep fine.
We looked at some of the cars before ordering a pizza from the Ugly Horse Pub down the street and carrying it back to our seats. Delicious pizza! They call it the best in town, and it must be. We enjoyed the concert for awhile and then wandered down the street, ducking into various casinos for refills on our beer.
Deadwood is at its best during Kool Deadwood Nights (and New Year’s Eve, but that’s another story). The atmosphere is so casual and happy. My friends were commenting that back home they would never leave their chairs out there in the street without someone watching them, but in Deadwood they were in no danger. We came and went as we pleased, and our chairs were always there waiting for us. Lots of people were drinking, but I didn’t see anyone acting belligerent or annoying. It’s a fun festival -- especially if you’re interested in classic cars, free music, and cheap beer.
From journal My Black Hills