Christmas comes to Custer

Ron Burtz

­­­­­­­With Thanksgiving now in the rearview mirror, the Christmas season kicks off in Custer this Saturday with a full slate of activities designed to touch the heart of even the most hardened grinch.
The festivities commence at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon as the Custer Senior Center holds its annual Holiday Open House. The event will feature the Sandstone Singers from Hot Springs directed by Carol Foster. That program begins at 2 p.m. A favorite musical group of folks in Custer, the Sandstones have perfected their programs with weekly practices for many years. The event will conclude at 4 p.m. just in time for folks to travel down the street to Custer’s 1881 Courthouse Museum for its Holiday Open House.
That event will take place from 4-7 p.m. and will feature a parade of trees in the third-floor historic courtroom, refreshments and shopping in the museum gift store. Admission is free.
The museum is inviting local businesses, organizations and individuals to decorate a Christmas tree for the event. There will also be a Memorial Tree and individuals are invited to bring an ornament to hang on the tree. Those with questions may call the museum at 673-2443.
The big seasonal event of the day will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Mt. Rushmore Road with the  32nd annual Custer Christmas Parade. The annual parade of lights signals the official kick-off of the holiday season in the Southern Hills.
Persons and groups interested in entering the parade can call the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce office at 673-2244 or download a registration form at Scroll down and click on the “Custer Christmas Parade” tab under the “Upcoming Events” section.
Deadline for entry is today and there is no fee for participating. Awards will be presented for Best Use of Lights, Best Musical Entry and Judges’ Choice. The parade will begin at 8th and Mt. Rushmore Road and end at Way Park.
Following the parade, the annual Memorial Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at Way Park.
To help folks keep warm during the parade, the Custer YMCA will be serving hot cocoa and hot apple cider at the Custer County Chronicle building on Mt. Rushmore Road beginning at about 5 p.m. There is no charge for the refreshments but donations will be accepted.  
The holiday festivities continue the following weekend as well, with the senior center holding its annual Cookie Walk on Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The price is $9 per pound for holiday cookies and candy.
At the same time the center will also hold its Jill Kettle Commemorative Fundraiser. The center has over 500 handbags including those by famous designers such as DKNY, Coach, Stone Mountain, Cole Hahn, Liz Claiborne and many more. The bags belonged to the late center director. Her husband, Ron, is helping the center raise funds through the sale of the bags as well as Kettle’s extensive jewelry collection. The jewelry is mostly inexpensive costume jewelry but there is a wide selection of sterling silver, turquoise and fine costume items such as Sarah Coventry available. Center officials say the merchandise will be “priced to move” for this one-day event.


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