Gold Rush Days this weekend just outside Bellville


CLEAR FORK VALLEY — Lots of people carrying wishes in their pockets will be along the Clear Fork River on Labor Day weekend, during the annual Gold Rush Days.

The Buckeye chapter of the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) is hosting the event, which willl run Sept. 2 and Sept.3. The location is at the Swank Claim, at 1199 Cutnaw Road, outside Bellville.

The events will include the usual solemn recognition of the American flag, and will have fun events like duck racing and kids games and crafts.

There will be a kids common dig Saturday, from noon to 1 p.m., then there will be speed panning competitions. On that day there will be a cornhole tournament at 7 p.m., and at 9 p.m., a night metal detecting hunt.

The Sunday events include an adult common dig starting at 9 a.m. The prospecting store will open at 10 a.m., and there will be raffle sales in the pavilion.

There will be rock balancing judging at 4:30 p.m., then a tug of war at 7 p.m.

The talent show and the closing ceremony will be at 8:15 p.m.

There is a $6 fee for the adults common dig, but kids can do that for free.

People have a chance to win a gold nugget by buying a duck at $1, or six for $5. The ducks will be launched in the river, and the first to reach the finish line will be the winner. Duck races begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

There will be a campfire chili cookoff at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The rules for this competition are pretty strict. Only meat purchased in a store can be used. All ingredients must be cooked at the claim on that Sunday. There is no inside or crockpot cooking allowed.

Judging will be in two categories: officer’s choice and people’s choice.

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Staff report