Custer willlight up with an all day party

Published on Thu, Aug 8, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Custer will
light up with an all day party

By Meg Olson

Maine Street in Custer will be closed for an all-day, all-town party this weekend. The thirteenth annual Custer Days celebration, complete with racing lawnmowers and dancing in the streets, will take over the town center from morning until midnight on August 10.

“Maine Street will be closed all day and there’s always something going on,” said organizer Nicole Perry at the Custer Country Store.

The arts and crafts fair will get rolling at 9 a.m. with a combination of fundraising booths for local groups and local craftspeople with wares for sale. “We have stackable puzzles, ceramics, decorative household things, most of these vendors are local,” said organizer Tonia McDonald. However, a vendor from Arizona selling watches and jewelry had such a good year at the event last year that he’s coming back. “There’s also someone with a booth on the history of Custer,” McDonald said. “He’s collecting information about the founders of Custer to make a book and he has some very interesting original materials and photos.” Many vendors sign up the day of the event, McDonald said, and sign up opens at 7 a.m. and runs until all the booths are taken.

There will be pie and coffee at Rebecca Hall from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a silent auction thrown in for a little quiet excitement. The silent auction is one of the primary fundraisers for Custer Days, which is a free community event from start to finish, Perry said. “This is what pays for Custer Days,” Perry said of the auction, “since it doesn’t cost people to go to the dance or anything.” Donated items on the auction block include dinner for four at Tony’s Tavern on Maine Street, dinner and a movie from the Custer Store, a two-person tent kit, a CD player and several local handmade items including an embroidered tablecloth and a baby quilt.

The parade, which runs down Custer School Road and Maine Street, starts at 11 a.m. at the Custer school. Parade entrants can just show up or pre-register by calling Ron at 384-5394.

The main event kicks off at noon when the lawnmower race time trials begin. Souped-up lawn dragsters will compete in stock and modified classes to see who has the fastest grass-guzzler. Stock lawn racers are machines as they came out of the store, built to cut the lawn, but with the mower assembly removed. In the modified class lawn racers take it one step further, tweaking the machines’ engines, systems and even fuel to make them more rocket than mower. “People are coming from as far as Idaho,” Perry said. ‘It’s really getting competitive.” Fastest machines in each class will face off in a 1 p.m. race.

As the lawn racing winds down, a salmon barbecue, also a fundraiser for the event will gear up. A plate of salmon, corn on the cob, coleslaw and baked beans will cost $5.50. The barbecue starts at 3 p.m. and karaoke is scheduled to get underway an hour later.

The day will wind down with a street dance with the band Blue Mariah. “They do a little of everything, something to please everyone,” Perry said. “They play country, oldies and current music,” McDonald said.

McDonald said organizers raised extra funds this year to pay for top-notch entertainment for the dance, following disappointment and poor attendance with a DJ last year. “Blue Mariah has opened for Loretta Lynn and other big time bands and events. They have identical triplet sons, 13, who play also. They’re really neat people, they love what they’re doing and they really like to get involved with the crowd. This year we’re going to do it up big.” The dance will run from 8 p.m. to midnight.

For more information call the Custer Country Store at 366-4307.


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