June 30, 2008
Amy Bracewell, 605-574-3114
MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. — More than twenty thousand visitors are expected to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Thursday, July 3, as part of the annual Independence Day Celebration. While memorial officials carefully monitor both weather and fire fuel conditions in advance of Thursday’s fireworks show, visitors should plan to arrive early and be prepared for a full day of entertainment at Mount Rushmore.
“Our highline crew finished transporting the fireworks to the top of the memorial this past week and the staff is preparing the rest of the park for our visitors,” said memorial superintendent Gerard Baker. “With everything in place, we are looking forward to another spectacular event. Visitors should plan to arrive early and enjoy all of the entertainment and programs we have scheduled.”
In past years, the memorial parking garage has filled by mid-morning. The South Dakota Highway Patrol and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to direct vehicles to alternative parking locations once the parking garage is filled. Illegally parked vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. All vehicles will be screened before entering the memorial and enhanced security measures will be in place for the safety and security of the memorial and memorial visitors. Visitors are asked to please be patient and expect delays as they arrive and depart the memorial. Carpooling is strongly recommended. By late afternoon, the nearest parking may be in Keystone, necessitating a 3-mile hike to the memorial with an 800-foot elevation gain. The American Red Cross will have water stations at two locations along Highway 244 to help visitors stay hydrated.
No personal fireworks, charcoal grills, or pets will be allowed at the memorial. No weapons are permitted within the boundaries of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. No umbrellas or lawn chairs will be allowed in the amphitheater, although they will be allowed in adjacent viewing areas. Items left unattended will be confiscated. All containers will be searched and visitors will experience airport-type security before entering the memorial.
Entertainment begins at 10 a.m. on the Xanterra Stage with live music by the contemporary Native American group Brulé. Other musical performances and military flyovers are scheduled throughout the day. Visit www.nps.gov/moru for a full schedule. Conditions permitting, the fireworks display is scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m.
After the fireworks display, plan on extended delays as local law enforcement agencies conduct an organized and systematic dismissal of pedestrian traffic first and then vehicle traffic.
Local TV station KEVN, Black Hills Fox, will broadcast the fireworks live. Local FM radio station KKMK, Magic 93.9 will broadcast live from the memorial all day and simulcasting the firework’s patriotic soundtrack for those wishing to view the fireworks from a distance.
For current information on events at Mount Rushmore, please call the memorial at 605-574-2523 and press 5.