James Whistler, 8, operates a mini excavator during Gold Rush Days on Saturday, June 17, 2023. People young and old were offered a chance to place tires around traffic cones and other challenges after getting a brief introduction to the excavator. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

James Whistler, 8, operates a mini excavator during Gold Rush Days on Saturday, June 17, 2023. People young and old were offered a chance to place tires around traffic cones and other challenges after getting a brief introduction to the excavator. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

There’s good reason to be extra charged up for this year’s Juneau Gold Rush Days

Digital registration for logging/mining competitors new for 32nd annual event this weekend.

Even before the events start, organizers can claim this year’s Juneau Gold Rush Days feature the most power ever seen.

But that’s not a reference to who’s going to drive spikes into wood beams, saw through logs or shovel muck the fastest during the multitude of mining and logging events this weekend at Savikko Park. It’s among the few newfangled aspects of the mostly traditional 32nd annual gathering, as digital registration is being implemented for the first time for food and other vendors, along with people wanting to compete in events relying on skills from the historic mining and logging eras.

“We’ve got tablets, we’ll have QR codes, people can register on their phones, so it should be great,” said Rochelle Lindley, a Gold Rush Days board member and external affairs manager for Coeur Alaska, a co-sponsor of the event.

Also new this year are two live music performers — one each afternoon — compared to a Saturday-only performance last year, Lindley said. The local band One Eye Open, which plays covers by Metallica and other artists, is scheduled Saturday; DJ Ph.d Javiii is scheduled on Sunday.

Organizers estimate about 5,000 people — a mix of locals and tourists — attend some portion of the weekend’s festivities. The traditional events — including the competitions in men, women, kids and teens categories, plus various activities such as an excavator for kids to operate and an estimated 30 vendors — start at 9 a.m. with the official opening ceremony.

The national anthem will be performed by Marzena Whitmore, representing a third generation of Gold Rush Days involvement since her father Jeremy is chair of the event’s board and her grandfather Jerry Harmon (currently the board’s vice president) is an iconic presence since the event’s founding. Serving as this year’s emcee is Doug Maller, a former Hecla Greens Creek Mine employee who now owns a towing company and is a board member of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, according to Lindley.

Mining competitions for adults are scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and logging competitions at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, but while the order of events is set how long each will last isn’t a certainty, Lindley said. So while afternoon events such as the music performances and a beer garden each day will happen as planned, the awards ceremony to end the weekend will simply happen when the final competition — the miners vs. loggers tug-of-war — is over.

Some of this year’s non-competition activities will also be fundraisers, she said. Proceeds from a bouncy house will go toward the music program for local high school students, while money from the excavator kids can operate will go to the Pioneers of Alaska chapter in Juneau.

Other activities both days include the vendor tent and raffle sales from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and gold panning and a kids carnival from 1-3 p.m.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

GOLD RUSH DAYS 2024 SCHEDULE

Saturday

8 a.m.: Registration opens.

8 a.m.-5 p.m.: Vendor tent, raffle sales (raffle proceeds benefit Juneau Gold Rush Days).

9 a.m.: Opening ceremony.

9:30 a.m.: Mining events — jackleg drilling, women’s spike driving, men’s spike driving, women’s hand mucking, men’s hand mucking, 12b overshot mucking, team drilling.

1 p.m. Kids and teens events — kids hand mucking, teen spike driving, teen hand mucking.

1 p.m.: Beer garden.

1-3 p.m.: Kids carnival.

1-3 p.m.: Gold panning.

4 p.m.: Live music featuring featuring One Eye Open.

Sunday

8 a.m.: Registration opens.

8 a.m.-5 p.m.: Vendor tent, raffle sales (raffle proceeds benefit Juneau Gold Rush Days).

8:30 a.m.: Logging events — women’s & men’s axe throwing, women’s & men’s team hand bucking, coed team hand bucking, women’s & men’s stock power saw bucking, women’s & men’s speed climbing, men’s vertical chopping, women’s choker setter race, team choker setter & hook tender relay, women’s & men’s obstacle pole buck, women’s horizontal chopping, women’s & men’s log rolling, miners vs. loggers tug-of-war.

1 p.m.: Kids and teens events — kids choker setter race, teen choker setter race.

1 p.m.: Beer garden.

1-3 p.m.: Kids carnival.

1-3 p.m.: Gold panning.

4 p.m.: Live music featuring DJ Ph.d Javiii.

Awards ceremony will follow final event.

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