Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial welcome travelers during Memorial Day weekend
MOUNT RUSHMORE, S.D. — Memorial Day Weekend normally kicks off the busy summer tourism season.
Both Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse welcomed travelers from near and far Saturday for the long holiday weekend.
Parking spots were filled on Saturday as residents and out of town visitors flocked to Mount Rushmore as the national memorial officially re-opened.
The memorial announced last week that it was opening earlier than expected, about three weeks early. Officials say day 1 was a success.
“The first day is amazing,” said Deb Hannah, the Retail Manager at Mount Rushmore Bookstore. “We are really doing well. There are a lot of people here up at Mount Rushmore, so it’s really exciting. People from all over, local people as well as people from all over the country, so it’s a really exciting day.”
And from all over they came.
“I’m from North Carolina.”
“From Denver, Colorado.”
For some tourists and first timers in the Black Hills, it was a simple drive to see the iconic faces of the presidents.
“I woke up at 6 o’clock this morning and decided I was coming here because why not?”
For others, the drive was an unexpected one.
“We ended up getting stopped at the Pine Ridge Reservation ’cause we couldn’t make it through. They blockaded things. Really can’t blame them but we had to take the long way around going through parts of Nebraska and South Dakota we never imagined.”
It was a similar sight at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Although doors have been open since Monday, today the memorial welcomed regional native performers.
Guests were graced with stories of the Lakota people and traditional dancing as part of the weekend’s festivities.
“I thought that we weren’t going to have a lot of people but in fact you know it’s really exciting to have a lot of people come out,” said Crazy Horse Performer, Jessie Rencountre. “I think being able to enjoy some culture. I think it brings a lot of healing and it brings a lot of calmness to people.”
The show concluded with a group dance routine while observing social distancing.