What to know about Mount Rushmore fireworks one week before the event

KELOLAND.com Original

MOUNT RUSHMORE, S.D. (KELO) — Long waits, possible health screenings, and up to a two-mile walk are possible for ticket holders attending the planned July 3 fireworks event at Mount Rushmore.

A crowd of 7,500 ticket holders is expected on July 3 for fireworks and an expected visit by President Donald Trump, according to The South Dakota Department of Tourism (Travel South Dakota) website.

Attendees can drive standard-sized vehicles or take a shuttle on South Dakota Highway 244 from Keystone to Mount Rushmore that day. Highway 244 is a two-lane highway and the main entrance to the memorial.

A tourism website post says, “Be prepared for multi-hour delays in entering and exiting the park. Please plan for delays during initial security screenings and departure from the park.”

Tickets were awarded through a lottery system. They were divided into Zone 1 and Zone 2 in the random lottery selection.

More than 25,000 applications representing more than 125,000 individuals wanted tickets. Each ticket awarded represents six people so the 7,500 estimated crowd doesn’t mean 7,500 individual tickets were awarded through the lottery.

Travel South Dakota said the walk could be two miles uphill to reach the event for Zone 2 ticket holders. They also need to bring their own chairs. The view could also be partially obstructed.

Seating is provided in Zone 1.

Seating and space in the memorial is limited, according to the National Park Service and the South Dakota Department of Tourism.

A Zone 1 ticket includes a note that attendees are subject to a possible health screening because of the physical proximity of groups, which depends on health directives at the time of the event.

Ticket holders will be the only members of the public allowed in Mount Rushmore National Memorial on July 3, according to the tourism department.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial will close at 12:01 a.m. MST on July 3 in preparation for the event. The event will begin for ticket-holders the afternoon of July 3, according to the TravelSouthDakota website.

The memorial will re-open to the public on July 4.

The programming and event are currently scheduled to begin on July 3 at 4 p.m. MST and complete around 10 p.m. MST. The fireworks are expected to begin between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. MST on July 3.

Ticket information for Zone 1 says the park will open to the ticketholder at 3 p.m. on July 3.

For those that don’t have an event ticket, as of June 26, it’s uncertain how, or if, the fireworks can be viewed, according to the South Dakota Department of Tourism. The department recommends interested people visit its website for more information.

KELO Mount Rushmore

Ticket holders and others traveling through the Mount Rushmore area on July 3 should be aware of road closures and detours.

South Dakota Highway 244 will be closed both east and west of Mount Rushmore starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on July 3. Beginning at Horsethief Lake, Highway 244 west of Mount Rushmore will be closed at 12:01 a.m. MST on July 3 and will remain closed until after the fireworks event and the fire and security sweep are completed. Highway 244 east of Mount Rushmore will be closed at the junction of Highway 16A at 12:01 a.m. MST on July 3 and reopen for ticket holders the day of the event. The closure information is from the Travel South Dakota website.

Closures to the highway will also be represented on SafeTravel USA.

Highway 244 will be the main road to enter the ticketed event. Zone 1 garage parking and Zone 2 parking ticket holders must enter on Highway 244 from Keystone.

The tourism department said no campers or vehicles that don’t fit in a standard parking space will be allowed in Mount Rushmore parking lots.

Attendees in Zone 1 can bring in one small personal bag with medication, refillable water bottles or childcare items, according to a copy of a Zone 1 ticket. Food is available for purchase on site.

A copy of a Zone 1 ticket lists items that can’t be brought into the Zone 1 that day. Some items on that list include coolers, drones or other unmanned aircraft systems, glass, thermal or metal containers and aerosols.

Attendees in Zone 1 need to leave the selfie stick or camera stick behind as well as umbrellas with metal tips or umbrellas that are larger than 12 inches folded. Signs can’t be larger than 1/4 inch thick or larger than 20 inches by 3 inches and no sign supports or placards are allowed. Several other prohibited items are also on the list including no weapons are allowed.

The TravelSouthDakota website has a list of information for attendees.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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