CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Starting the new year off by bringing hundreds to Custer for the Burning Beetle, the town has found a way to increase tourism even during the winter months.
A Custer sign at the Chamber of Commerce.
Dolsee Davenport is the Executive Director of the Custer Chamber of Commerce.
"It seems like it stayed busy. Our restaurants that are open throughout the year, seems like there's always people waiting in line at Burger and Bun or waiting for Scogan to get open," said Davenport. "So I think for us, it's just been kind of a normal good steady year in the winter."
With the weather this year not as bad as last winter so far, Davenport sees the community taking advantage of the outdoors.
"I went up to do Needles Highway myself one day and I was surprised to see how many people were in the parking lot at Sylvan Lake," said Davenport. "It was definitely nice to see people out and about, especially these nice sunny days, getting out on the trails and using them during the winter. I think it's been very popular."
And it just not the usual outdoor hotspots, the town holds a handful of events that draw in visitors.
"We're getting ramped up for a Tesla Rally, our off-road rally, Fourth of July, and even gold discovery days at the end of July. We're kind of taking these winter months to get ready for all of those events coming up," said Davenport. "So we stay busy throughout the year."
And their next event, restaurant week, will be bringing more than a thousand people to the town.
But one upcoming celebration could end up bringing tens of thousands.
"Yes, we just had our first Fourth of July meeting today and that did get brought up, we're hoping that it does happen. Fortunately for us when they are talking about Mount Rushmore, the fireworks have been the third like they've always have been where our fireworks are on the fourth, so we are hoping to see what the word of that," said Davenport. "The spread of information, more and more people will be here in the area and maybe that means some more and more people coming to Custer for the Fourth of July."
And Davenport thinks the fireworks won't just be good for Custer, but the entire Black Hills.