Gold Rush Days spotlight Victor’s wild, difficult and festive story
City of Mines is packed with full events this weekend
A favorite local festival, Victor’s Gold Rush Days, is making a comeback starting this Friday.
The event began in the 1890s and has taken place almost every year since, except in 2020, when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the City of Victor website, the celebration began when the city was incorporated. “Gold Rush Days began in 1895 as a ‘World Celebration’ highlighting the city’s incorporation as a city. It began on July 16, 1894 and “honored Victor C. Adams, one of Victor’s first settlers, and the man of whom Victor was named.” According to the city’s website, this happened “because mining took hold in the area and changed the face of the city. The celebration was then billed as the “annual meeting of minors” and consisted of a carnival and a street parade. “
The celebration continued until much of the city caught fire in the late 1890s. The event reverted to Victor in 1904 with the Ringling Brothers as the main attraction.
The celebration took two more breaks during World Wars I and II. Then, after WWII, the event changed its name to “Gold Rush Days” and ran annually until 2020.
This year the festival is back with a busy schedule of events taking place throughout the weekend. Vendors arrive when the celebration begins on Friday morning and then continues until Sunday evening. The full program of events with precise times is available on the TMJ News Facebook page.
Dozens of vendors will set up for three days and the city will be teeming with activities throughout the weekend. A Cripple Creek donkey pen will be on display at the Victor Agricultural and Mining Museum and gold panning will take place at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum.
People can watch the Robbinswood Chainsaw Carving exhibit and blacksmith demonstrations over the weekend. The Victor Elks Lodge will host special events, including a chili dinner on Friday night, followed by karaoke later in the evening.
At night, the Isis Theater will be open to the public on all three evenings and the Gold Rush Express mini-golf course south of the theater. On Friday, a screening of the locally shot film “Rook” will take center stage for an adult audience, starting at 9 pm.
Saturday and Sunday morning at 7 a.m. Victor’s Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a pancake lunch. Then on Saturdays and Sundays, people can enjoy music at Pinnacle Park Plaza and a beer garden.
To add to the Gold Rush flair, the Victor Agricultural and Mining Museum will be hosting a Chuck Wagon Lunch on both weekend days. On Saturdays, children 10 and older can participate in Robin Hood Archery. In addition, Old Fashioned Kids games will be held at Wallace Park.
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum will host its Gold Camp Adventure tours this Saturday and the Sunnyside Cemetery Guided Tour. Saturday night highlights include a plaza dance with the “Dirty Side Down” band at 3rd Street and Victor Avenue.
Then on Sunday many of the same events will be available, but some will be added specifically for 2021. At 9 a.m. there will be a dedication of the Teller County Memorial Wall at Wallace Park. And then at 12 p.m., the Gold Rush Days parade will honor local veterans. The parade is considered one of the flagship events of the high country.
At 1 p.m., the Colorado Vintage Baseball Association will hold its annual Victor Bowl at Wallace Park. Then at 4:30 p.m., there will be karaoke from Cosmic Entertainment on the Pinnacle Park Plaza stage.
Victor companies join in the fun
While staying at Victor for the Gold Rush Days, there are plenty of other things to do in town. The Fortune Club has earned a niche for having the best milkshakes in the area, according to growing reports, and their bar offers a unique menu of old-fashioned cocktails.
While strolling through the city, visitors can have a drink at the Mining Claim 1899 Saloon or stop to eat at the Side Door Restaurant and Bar inside the Victor Hotel. The Gold Camp Bakery is also a popular place to eat and will have special items for sale during the event.
Victor’s town center also has several unique boutiques, including Nana’s Attic, Prospector’s Pick, The Fragile Edge, and the Claim Jumper General Store. Visitors can also stop by the Victor Trading Company and purchase a bespoke broom and other items.
A more recent addition to the town is Phantom Canyon Gifts, inside the Black Monarch Hotel, where several unique and handmade items can be found. Visitors can also stop at Victor E-bikes and Antiques and hire an electric bike to cycle around town.
During Gold Rush Days, many also enjoy visiting the town of Cripple Creek and all it has to offer, including great shopping and friendly casinos. Cripple Creek will join the frenzy of the event this summer, with their second annual Pearl DeVere Day on July 24. This is exemplified by unusual bed runs that you have probably never seen before.