100th annual ‘Cootie Days’ celebration this weekend in Dell Rapids

Local News

DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (KELO) — After being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, a Dell Rapids celebration is back and celebrating 100 years.

Carnival rides, games and food are taking over the Dell Rapids City Park – a celebration that’s been happening since 1919.

“It was a pretty big deal. Baseball games, dances and several other events. It was just one day. Cootie Day is what they called it. It has since grown into a lot larger event,” Dell Rapids Museum board vice president Craig Kumerfield said.

The event began following World War One.

“A lot of these soldiers when the war was over, came back home with just tremendous itching all over their body, and it was from cooties,” Kumerfield said. “Cooties are a dreadful form of lice, so these soldiers got together and said, ‘How could we forget the cooties? Let’s name the event after the cooties,’ and so that’s actually how it got its name.”

The carnival rides start Friday and go through Sunday. There’s food and bingo throughout the weekend as well, so no matter what, there’s fun for people of all ages.

The event helps raise money for the American Legion and Legion Auxiliary.

“We do things like scholarships to high school students, we support the Legion baseball team, whatever things, we do military honors for our veterans. It allows us to kind of basically do the job we need to do to support our community,” organizer and past-commander Steven Sittig said.

“Our auxiliary does a lunch stand where we sell barbecues, and hot dogs and chili dogs. And this is our largest fundraiser too, which supports our programs like Girls State,” South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary Department president Teresa Huntimer said.

Organizers also plan to have Avera Careflight land its helicopter at the event tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., if they are not on a mission.

Click here to stay updated on the latest events happening in KELOLAND.

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