On Saturday in Custer, a massive, 28-foot likeness of a pine beetle will be set on fire in a ceremonial response to the bug that’s ravaged forests in the Black Hills. This is the second year for the Burning Beetle. The event is part of the Bark Beetle Blues efforts using arts to discuss the pine beetle infestation.
The event begins at 3:30 pm at Custer High School with music and a video of last year’s Burning Beetle. Participants then march to Pageant Hill where the beetle is set on fire. At 6:30 pm, the Bug Crawl takes place in downtown Custer with live music at several venues.
Musician Hank Fridell and forest management consultant Frank Carroll are members of the Custer Area Arts Council’s Bark Beetle Blues committee and helped construct the giant pine beetle. They joined Dakota Midday and discussed the Burning Beetle and what it means to people living in the middle of the infestation.
To see a video from the 2014 Burning Beetle celebration and hear songs about the pine beetle infestation, click here.