The Gold Dust Days celebration in Gold Hill, Ore., has changed considerably over the years. It dates back decades to the Salmon Festival, which later became the Community Carnival.
In the past, the community chose a king and queen of the parade and activities included a custom car show, beer garden and contests of arm-wrestling, pie-eating, best liar, talent, beauty, and bow-and-arrow shooting. Celebrants ate at buffalo barbeques or salmon bakes. In the 1960s and 70s, weekend festivities included the “hill climb,” or “mountain race.” Entrants raced through Gold Hill from the city park, looped up to the top of Beacon Hill (also known as Nugget Butte), and then back to the city. It was a tough three-mile race with the steepest grade at 50 percent. A few times the events included skydiving with prizes for landing closest to a target in the city park. The 2014 Gold Dust Days on the first Saturday of June will offer scrambling for coins in a haystack, live music, pony rides, a bake sale, old-fashioned butter churning, gold panning, displays and historical exhibits.
Source: Gold Hill Historical Society files and records, Janet Sessions (Head Researcher), Gold Hill, Oregon.