Gold Rush Days Highights Victor’s Wild, Tough and Festive History

City of Mines Packed with a Full Lineup of Events This Weekend

Trevor Phipps

A local favorite festival, Victor’s Gold Rush Days, is making its grand return starting this Friday.

The event first started in the 1890’s and it has run nearly every year since except in 2020, when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the city of Victor website, the celebration started when the town was incorporated. “Gold Rush Days started in 1895 as the ‘World Celebration’ in highlighting the town’s incorporation as a city . This began on July 16, 1894, and “honored Victor C. Adams, one of Victor’s original settlers, and the man Victor was named after.”  According to the city’s website, this occurred “because mining moved into the area and changed the face of the town. The celebration was next billed as the ‘Annual Miners Reunion’ and consisted of a carnival and street parade.”

The celebration continued until much of the town went up in flames in the late 1890s. The event came back to Victor in 1904 with the Ringling Brothers as their main attraction.

The celebration took two more breaks during World Wars I and II. Then after World War II, the event changed its name to “Gold Rush Days” and ran every year until 2020.

This year, the festival is back with a packed schedule of events occurring for the entire weekend. The vendors arrive when the celebration starts Friday morning, and then it runs until Sunday night. The full schedule of events with specific times can be found on the TMJ News Facebook page.

Scores of vendors will set up for three days, and the town will bustle with activities throughout the weekend. A Cripple Creek donkey pen be featured at the Victor Agricultural and Mining Museum and gold panning will occur at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum.

People can watch the Robbinswood Chainsaw Carving exhibit and blacksmith demonstrations over the weekend. The Victor Elks Lodge will host special events, including a chili dinner Friday night and then karaoke later on in the evening.

At night, the Isis Theatre will be open to the public all three nights and  Gold Rush Express Mini-Golf south of the theatre. On Friday a showing of the locally filmed movie “Rook” will take center stage for mature audiences, starting at 9 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings at 7a.m.  the Victor Volunteer Fire Department will host a pancake breakfast. Then on Saturday and Sunday, people can enjoy music at the Pinnacle Park Plaza and a beer garden.

Too add to the Gold Rush flair, The Victor Agricultural and Mining Museum will host  a chuck wagon lunch on both weekend days. On Saturday, kids 10 years and older can partake in Robin Hood Archery tag. Plus, Old Fashioned Kids games will occur at Wallace Park.

The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum will host their Gold Camp Adventure tours that Saturday and the Sunnyside Cemetery Guided tour. Saturday night’s highlights include a plaza dance with the band “Dirty Side Down” at 3rd St. and Victor Ave.

Then on Sunday many of the same events will be available but with some added specially for 2021. At 9 a.m. there will be a dedication of the Teller County Memorial Wall at Wallace Park. And then at 12 p.m. the Gold Rush Days parade will honor  local veterans. The parade is considered one of the signature events in the high country.

At 1 p.m., the Colorado Vintage Baseball Association will hold its annual Victor Bowl at Wallace Park. Then at 4:30 p.m., there will be karaoke by Cosmic Entertainment at the Pinnacle Park Plaza stage.

Victor Businesses Join the Fun

While in Victor for the Gold Rush Days, the town has plenty of other activities to enjoy. The Fortune Club has gained a niche for having the best milkshakes in the region, according to growing reports, and their bar sports a unique menu of old fashioned-style cocktails.

While walking through the town, visitors can get drinks at the Mining Claim 1899 Saloon or stop in to eat at the Side Door Restaurant and bar inside the Victor Hotel. The Gold Camp Bakery is also a popular place to eat and they will feature special items for sale during the event.

Downtown Victor also features several unique shops including Nana’s Attic, Prospector’s Pick, The Fragile Edge and the Claim Jumper General Store. Visitors can also stop by the Victor Trading Company and purchase a custom made broom along with other items.

A newer addition to the town is Phantom Canyon Gifts, inside the Black Monarch Hotel, where several unique, handmade items can be found. Visitors can also stop by Victor E-bikes and Antiques and rent an electric bicycle to cruise around the city.

While at the Gold Rush Days many also like to check out the city of Cripple Creek and all it has to offer, including great shops and friendly casinos. Cripple Creek will join the event frenzy this summer, with their second annual  Pearl DeVere Day on July 24. This is showcased by unusual bed races you probably have never witnessed before.