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Days of '78 celebration begins this weekend

RUSHMORE -- From a pedal pull to little league games, a parade and pancake feed, Rushmore's Days of '78 celebration is one of those down-home family affairs that draws both the young and old to town for the two-day festivities.

The 28th annual celebration begins Saturday morning with a kids' pedal pull on Main Street near the park at 10 a.m. Registration begins a half hour before the event, with trophies awarded for first, second and third place in each age division. Children ages 4 to 11 are welcome to compete in the pedal pull.

By noon, more than 100 kids, ages 8 to 16, are expected to be in town for the Little League ball tournament. The tournament, an offshoot of the weekly Thursday night games in Rushmore during the summer, is expected to draw six teams from communities including Adrian, Reading, Wilmont, Lismore, Worthington and Rushmore. The double-elimination tournament will go until 4 p.m. Saturday, begin again at noon on Sunday and continue until a champion is determined.

The Days of '78 parade, which will get under way at 7 p.m. Saturday, is based on the theme "Summer Fun." About 50 entrants are already signed up, including several family floats and entries from area businesses. One of the highlights of the parade will be the Adrian High School marching band, which is fresh from its performance in the presidential parade in Rapid City, S.D.

Sunday begins with a Rushmore Booster Club-sponsored pancake feed from 9 a.m. to noon in the Rushmore school gymnasium. Members of the Rushmore Central Hustlers 4-H Club will serve as wait staff for the event. A free-will donation will be accepted, with proceeds going to help fund the celebration.

A community church service is also planned Sunday, to begin at 9 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church.

Arla Engelkes, Booster Club member and one of the event's organizers, said the town celebration began 28 years ago as a way to honor the town's establishment in 1878.

"We started up in 1976. We practiced two years, so we were good for the centennial," said Engelkes with a laugh.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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