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Gold Rush Days

The Valdez Gold Rush Days are an annual 5-day celebration honoring the past, present, and future of Valdez, Alaska. It is hosted by a non-profit organization of local volunteers. Every year Gold Rush Days donates money to a variety of local charities and organizations, especially to those focused on children and the future of Valdez.

Join in the fun and famous Wine Walk. See the Can Can Girls and a community parade. Enjoy the local market, live music, and more!


Gold Rush Days


Gold Rush Days Store

The Gold Rush Days store is open during the festival, and is located across from the Post Office on corner of Egan & Tatitlek. The Store is run & operated by volunteers...


Gold Rush Days


The Hoosegow

During the summer months the Hoosegow sits quietly waiting on the corner of Tatitlek Ave and Egan Drive for Gold Rush Days to begin. Take a moment this summer to stop by...


Gold Rush Days


Can Can Girls

These generous dedicated young women have been practicing all summer to perfect their dances for your amusement. You will see them out during Gold Rush in the hoosegow...

Hoosegow History

From Valdez Gold Rush Days

"What the heck is a HOOSEGOW?"

This is a question many newcomers and tourists ask during Valdez Gold Rush Days. Hoosegow (lovingly pronounced by locals as “who’s cow”) is simply a fancy term for a prison. The idea for the Valdez Gold Rush Days Hoosegow originated in 1972, when former Fairbanks residents Mac & Sheila MacDonald proposed to the Gold Rush Days committee a traveling jail, similar to the one that bounced around Fairbanks, Alaska during their annual Golden Days celebration. The notion was met with gusto; Owen Johnson donated a single axle snow machine trailer for the cause. Owen and Mac both supplied the lumber, which Mac and Rollie Goebel built into a traveling jail down at Johnson’s Sand & Gravel shop on the Valdez Harbor. The original Hoosegow was used for 2 years. Calamity struck when the axle broke during a 1975 Gold Rush Days event- mostly likely due to the over zealous Gold Rush Days CanCan Girls and Keystone Cops. The break probably was attributed to the practice by “The Girls and Cops” of arresting” townsfolk, supplying them with beer from a keg located inside which resulted in other manners of raucous & celebratory behavior. Mac and Rollie were able to patch it together to make it through that year, but the next year the Hoosegow was upgraded to a double-axle car trailer at the base, rebuilt and painted again at Johnson Sand and Gravel.

The Hoosegow Today

The Hoosegow has finished its 3rd major renovation in 2017. Started by the Longoria, (Nate) Smith, and Kupczk families, the Hoosegow was torn down to the axles and rebuilt from scratch with time and materials donated by Harris Sand and Gravel. Several of the night-time CanCan girls pitched in the week of Gold Rush Days 2017 to get the Hoosegow ready just in time! Some new highlights from this refurbishment are new and stronger rebar for the jail’s windows, a re-enforced front plexiglass window (which will hopefully stay put and not crack!), and hidden storage spaces in the benches for the CanCan Girls, sheriffs, and Keystone Cops to keep their valuables while prowling the town looking for ne’er-do-wells.

During the summer months the Hoosegow sits quietly waiting on the corner of Tatitlek Ave and Egan Drive for Gold Rush Days to begin. Take a moment this summer to stop by and check it out- or better yet, grab a Jail & Bail Warrant from the Gold Rush Store or website and get yourself arrested for a ride in our world-famous Hoosegow!

For more information, view full article.

Get Involved: Gold Rush Days

Learn more about the Gold Rush Days organization and how to get involved!

Valdez Highlights