Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of the summer travel season, especially for places such as Keystone. Thousands of visitors arrive, kids in tow, to shake off the winter doldrums, get outdoors and see the sights of the Black Hills.
If you live within 400 miles of the Black Hills, it’s a good chance for a weekend family getaway. Often families who live farther away schedule longer vacations around the holiday to get an extra paid day off.
It’s a fun three-day weekend, and for Keystone’s visitor industry it’s akin to slipping the car into drive and stepping on the accelerator. We won’t let our foot off the gas until September. We’re open for business and ready to show you a good time.
Memorial Day is early this year — May 25. Because it’s a Monday holiday, the date changes every year, ranging from May 25 to May 31. Next year, the holiday moves to the back of the month again, on May 30. (Leap years kind of screw up the order.)
When it originated in the 1860s, the holiday was called Decoration Day, a day to honors soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who died during the American Civil War. It later was extended to honor fallen soldiers of all military conflicts. Over the years, it has informally become a day to place flowers on the graves of all our ancestors.
But with the passage of the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Memorial Day became a three-day weekend. Memorial Day and Labor Day (late Augusts or early September) are the bookends of the traditional summer vacation season. However, those rules have gone out the window. Many schools don’t get out until June, and more couples without kids prefer the shoulder season of September and October. In the Black Hills, September often sees more traffic than June.