Crazy Horse offers rewarding autumn, winter
Day and night, light dances on the Crazy Horse Memorial mountain carving in magical ways during autumn and winter.
Visitors exploring Crazy Horse find many special “off season” moments beyond the traditional Memorial Day-to-Labor Day summer tourism period.
– The traditional Labor Day weekend open house runs Saturday through Monday, Aug. 31 through Sept. 1. During the holiday observance, Crazy Horse waives admission for those giving three cans of food per person or monetary gifts to help the Feeding South Dakota food bank.
– On Friday, Sept. 6, the Memorial honors its legendary namesake Crazy Horse and co-founder, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. At 3 p.m., the nonprofit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation announces the winner of the yearly motorcycle raffle drawing (Click here for details.) Admission to the Memorial after 6 p.m. is free with donations of canned food or funds for the KOTA Care & Share Food Drive for the food bank. The day’s grand finale happens at dark with the combined “Legends in Light” laser-light program on the mountain carving and the ceremonial Night Blast. The pounding, flashing pyrotechnical display encircles the mountain, producing thunderous percussions that sound like a huge beating drum.
– The annual Museum Day Live! promotion on Saturday, Sept. 28, coordinated nationally by the Smithsonian magazine, offers limited free admission to the Indian Museum of North America and the visitor complex. See details and register for your free ticket at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/ticket/
– The first ever Crazy Horse Memorial Autumn Volksmarch on Sunday and Monday, Sept. 29 and Sept. 30, provides a public hike up the world’s largest mountain carving in progress. The trail will offer spectacular seasonal colors in the Memorial’s forest. The route will be changed from the spring volksmarch held over the first weekend in June, but the hike will continue to cover 6.2 miles (10K) from the visitor complex and back. There is no pre-registration. Hikers begin their self-paced trek between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and must complete the course by 4 p.m.
– Sunday, Oct. 6, ‘Run Crazy Horse’ half-marathon (13.1 miles), full marathon (26.2 miles) and team marathon competitions. The 8 a.m. races start at the Crazy Horse visitor complex and finish in nearby Hill City. Visit www.runcrazyhorse.com for details and entry information.
– Monday, October 14, marks South Dakota’s yearly observance of Native Americans’ Day. The 10 a.m. public program at Crazy Horse features Native American singers and dancers, hands-on activities for youth and honoring the Crazy Horse Memorial Native American Educator of the Year. Weather permitting, there is a mountain blast at 11 a.m., followed by a free buffalo stew luncheon at the Memorial’s Laughing Water Restaurant.
– Sunday, October 20, is observed as Remembrance Day. This year marks the 31st anniversary of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski’s unexpected death in 1982. Visitors may walk from the visitor center to his tomb area near the mountain carving to pay their respects. While there, they also may remember his daughter Anne, who died unexpectedly in 2011, and his son-in-law James Howe, who died in 2009 after a lengthy illness. Weather permitting, there will be a mountain blast at 4 p.m.
From mid-October through Father’s Day weekend in mid-June, admission every weekend is waived in lieu of three cans of food per person or monetary contributions to help the Feeding South Dakota food bank. Additionally, from November through Mother’s Day in May, Laughing Water Restaurant offers brunch on Sundays, with breakfast and lunch choices available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
– Monday, November 11 marks Veterans Day and Crazy Horse maintains the patriotic spirit of Korczak, a wounded, battle-honored WWII veteran, with an 11 a.m. mountain blast to honor those who served to defend freedom.
– December 14 through January 1, Crazy Horse Memorial will celebrate the year-end holidays with festive lights on the mountain carving, set to lively Mannheim Steamroller musical programs courtesy of Chip Davis each night. And visitor complex exhibits will feature seasonal ornaments collected over more than 60 years, from antiques to modern moving displays. Free coffee and hot cocoa will be available. Admission to the Memorial will be 3 cans of food per person or financial gifts to help the Feeding South Dakota food bank.
Through the holidays, starting Friday, Dec. 14, Laughing Water Restaurant will serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., plus the Sunday brunch options between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The restaurant will not be open on December 25, and will serve lunch only on December 24 and 31.