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Rain can’t dampen spirits at Gold Dust Day

19
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The town’s first heritage celebration since 2019 draws hundreds
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneKeckor Lopez makes cotton candy during the Gold Dust Day street festivities in downtown Gold Hill.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneThe Hanby Middle School marching band performs Saturday morning in the Gold Dust Day parade in Gold Hill.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneJessica Simpson, grand marshal of the Gold Dust Day parade, makes bubbles while riding through downtown Gold Hill Saturday.

Saturday’s Gold Dust Day heritage celebration was the first since before the COVID-19 pandemic, so even with a threat of rain hanging over the event in Gold Hill, hundreds of people came ready to enjoy the day.

Darryl Summerfield, secretary of the local Oddfellows lodge, was among those serving up flapjacks at a big pancake breakfast. He said Gold Dust Day was a big day for IOOF 129 and the entire Gold Hill community — especially because so much time had gone by without a community gathering.

The last large IOOF event occurred not long before the pandemic began, Summerfield said, a Roaring ’20s-themed dinner with a 20-piece band.

“People didn’t want to leave their tables so others could sit down,” he remembered. “They wanted to stay to hear the music.”

Saturday’s event, organized by CanDo Gold Hill, included a parade, 5K and 10K runs, vendors, exhibits, music, a car show, activities for children, displays by the Gold Hill Historical Society and a book sale by the Gold Hill Friends of the Library

Activities commenced at 7 a.m. with a pancake feed at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Lodge 129. At about the same time, runners began arriving at Del Rio Vineyards & Winery for the Gold Dust Run. The 10K went off at 8 a.m. and the 5K started at 8:15 a.m.

Allan Runia attended the pancake feed with his wife, Margie, and granddaughters Eden and Emily Miller, ages 12 and 10. They all watched the runners at the Rogue River before sitting down to eat.

A volunteer server brought each of them heaping plates filled with eggs, sausage and three massive pancakes cooked to the perfect shade of golden brown.

“If you’re still hungry, remember this is an all-you-can-eat,” one of the servers reminded diners at a nearby table.

Runia said he has entered the run before, but this year he didn’t think he was in good enough shape — but not so out of shape that he couldn’t plan for a full plate of Gold Dust Day activities.

“We’re going to take in almost everything,” Runia said.

Vendor booths along the parade route opened for business at 9 a.m. and the big parade began making its way along Second Street at 10 a.m.

Central Point couple Justin and Porscha Coleman, with 6-year-old Zeth, said they planned to watch the parade, visit the booths and look at some of the classic cars on display.

Porscha said she wanted to come to Gold Dust Day for the “quaint, small-town” atmosphere.

Zeth was interested in seeing old cars and hoped that candy would be given out during the parade.

Along the parade route, Aileen Fugate sat with her grandsons, 4-year-old twins Jackson and Brody Rogers. After they finished eating tiny chocolate-covered doughnuts — their blissful faces smeared with chocolate — they were ready for parade to roll on by.

Fugate said the day’s events were a way “you could see old friends.”

The boys moved out into the middle of the street for a better view, and along with other children they pointed at the red lights on the Jackson County sheriff’s vehicles down the street as the parade prepared to start.

Two patrol motorcycles led the lineup with some fancy circles in the street.

Jackson and Brody were eager to see their cousin Mike Skyler, who was in the parade with other members of his Little League team. After the marching band, classic cars and all of the other groups rolled or marched by, the final float approached, and Mike was on it. The boys cheered.

Although rain was predicted, none fell until well after the parade.

When the procession ended, lines formed at the food booths — especially one serving cotton candy.

“It’s extremely good,” said Alex Lang, 13.

“It’s like you’re eating a cloud,” Abagail Soldan explained between bites.

Reach reporter Terri Harber at tharber@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Gold Dusts Days Parade in downtown Gold Hill Saturday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune