Breck pans for gold
June 16, 2013
Down the road from the finger-licking barbecue festivities in Frisco, people were attempting to strike it rich in Breckenridge.
The Gold Prospectors of Colorado shared their pastime with the community in downtown Breck during the Kingdom Days celebrations, filling up troughs with water and sand containing bits of gold and gemstones.
“Fill the pan up with sand. Hold it under water and shake it up real good. That settles the gold down to the bottom of the pan,” said Gary Beaderstadt, a member of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado.
He began rotating the pan in circles, and sand drifted out of the sides.
“I will settle it again, then start making a little bit bigger circles until I end up with about two tablespoons of dirt,” the prospector said.
A little bit of black sand and shiny specks started to emerge.
“The gold is going to be underneath the black sand,” he said.
The key to panning for gold is practice, he said.
“A lot of people don’t realize that Breckenridge and Denver were basically built on gold panning — that’s how it started,” he said.
The biggest piece of gold the prospector ever found was worth a little over $20. Nowadays, he said, most people don’t pan for gold to get rich; it’s more of a hobby.
“It’s just like fishing,” Beaderstadt said.
His favorite part of the Gold Prospectors of Colorado is participating in the community demonstrations like the one in Breck on Saturday.
“I like to teach families how to gold pan,” he said.
The family-friendly activity was one of the many happenings going on Saturday during Kingdom Days. The event, which reinvents Breck’s colorful past, also featured free kids train rides a magic show, historic site tours and guided trail hikes.
The festivities continue today with a Main Street party at noon, a proclamation of historical accounts and the running of the 7th annual outhouse races at 2 p.m. on North Main.
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