Custer man enjoys representing a piece of history for Gold Discovery Days

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CUSTER, S.D. (KEVN) - There may not be a lot of gold left Custer, but today the people are treasuring their town just the same at the 95th annual Gold Discovery Days.

We introduce you to a man who's been an integral part of the celebration.

In 1874, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was ordered to organize an expedition into the Black Hills.

And on that expedition, one of his men, Horatio Ross, discovered gold, leading up to the foundation of the city of Custer.

Hundreds of residents are celebrating that momentous day with a parade and car show.

Mitch McLain says he's enjoyed playing Lieutenant Custer for the last 15 years.

"Number one to be perfectly frank with you, I love Custer and I love the people of Custer and it's something I can do to serve them and I hope I do it well. During the winter time, I also travel and promote tourism here, too so it's something I can give back to the community," Mitch McLain said.

Families enjoyed many activities from bouncy houses to a flower show to an arts and crafts fair.

McLain says it's the people of Custer that make the town so special.

"Also the events and how the people of the community rally around the events and welcome the visitors here. You'll find when you talk to visitors that come to this area that they feel at home. They come a stranger and they leave as a friend. That's what we stand for here," Mitch McLain said.

The Custer Area Chamber of Commerce says it's important for them to keep the history of their town alive.

And that they wouldn't be able to do Gold Discovery Days without their 12 committee members and seven months of planning.

"To put really the entire event together, we probably need I would say closer to 50 volunteers and employees that help do everything. There are so many events going on this weekend and without our volunteers and our sponsors we wouldn't be able to do this so we're very fortunate to have our small town community come together and do this for everybody in the Black Hills," Dolsee Davenport said, office manager and events coordinator, Custer Area Chamber of Commerce.

On Sunday Gold Discovery Days will wrap up with a fun run and a hot air balloon rally.