Highlights of 2020
Written by Dolsee Davenport
January 11, 2021

Even though 2020 was one of the most bizarre and chaotic years in recent history, there were some good things that occurred.  Let’s take a look back at the top 20 things that happened in 2020…



  1. The 7th Annual Burning Beetle took place on January 18th. A torch mob marched through town to burn a Mountain Pine Beetle effigy and then everyone celebrated downtown with good food and music.

  2. The 3rd Annual Custer Restaurant Week showcased the city’s finest cuisine from February 26-29. There were 12 restaurants who participated in the event-the most ever.

  3. The Custer Chamber hosted the annual Trade Show on February 29th. This show hosted a wide variety of exhibitors, ranging from financial services and building materials to jewelry and artwork.

  4. In the Spring of 2020, Custer State Park welcomed numerous baby buffalo and baby burros in the park. These little critters would be photographed thousands of times throughout the year by all their adoring fans.

  5. After the start of the pandemic, our Custer restaurants got creative and began offering carryout and curbside pickup. Several other businesses and organizations implemented similar practices as well.

  6. Custer schools organized a teacher parade throughout town that was enjoyed by students, school staff, and many residents of the area.

  7. The Custer Visitor Center was closed for a short time due to COVID-19. When we reopened, we began offering Grab ‘n’ Go packets outside of our building.  That way people could get the information they needed without having to enter the building-if they didn’t feel comfortable.  Over 3,000 of these were taken between May and December.

  8. The Custer School District graduating class of 2020 was able to have an official graduation ceremony at the CHS football field in June.

  9. The Custer Chamber worked with NewsCenter1 on their new ConnectCenter1 series. Three episodes aired online and on television throughout the summer.  Each episode featured various Custer area businesses that offered safe travel experiences.

  10. Custer was able to have a safe 4th of July celebration. Even though the event was scaled back from previous years, the parade and fireworks delighted thousands of visitors.

  11. The 97th Annual Gold Discovery Days was another event that took place in a safe way. The carnival, parade, arts & crafts fair, and various other events were a big hit to people who enjoyed safely celebrating outdoors.

  12. Custer State Park hosted the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup which was enjoyed by tens of thousands of people.

  13. The same weekend as the Buffalo Roundup, Crazy Horse Memorial hosted the 8th Annual Fall Volksmarch. The volksmarch is one of only two times a year that you can hike out onto the arm of Crazy Horse.

  14. In a survey, potential travelers said they would be twice as likely to participate in outdoor activities. This proved to be true in the Black Hills as many of our state and national parks saw an increase in attendance this year.

  15. Mark Naugle, Superintendent of the Custer School District, was honored twice for his work navigating the school district through the pandemic. In October he was awarded the Chamber’s Individual of the Year at the Awards Banquet.  He would later also be chosen by the Custer Chronicle as the 2020 Custer Citizen of the Year.

  16. A beautiful fall day brought out hundreds of ghosts and goblins onto the streets of Custer for the Annual Merchant’s Trick-or-Treat on October 30th.

  17. The 31st Annual Custer Christmas Parade showcased some of the best decorated floats we’ve ever seen. The weather cooperated so that hundreds of people could be outside enjoying the parade and the tree lighting ceremony that followed.

  18. The Custer Chamber chose to honor the Caregivers of Monument Health as this year’s Christmas Parade Marshals. We wanted to give them a big THANK YOU for their dedication to caring for our community, especially in these COVID times.

  19. Overall, South Dakota ranked in the top 3 states with the lowest decline in tourism numbers during 2020.

  20. We all learned not to take our health, safety, or ability to hug our friends and family for granted. We appreciate all the work done by our local doctors, nurses, hospital workers, pharmacists, emergency personnel, and essential workers to help us make it through the pandemic.

    We want to thank everyone that had a part in making 2020 the best year it could be in Custer!  Here’s to a great 2021!



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