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Hays readies for fest





This year's Wild West Festival will feature two different kinds of recreations.

Dave Wood, a "Wild Bill" Hickok re-enactor from Fort Morgan, Colo., who has performed in the past at WWF, will have a performance each day this year from Wednesday through July 7. He will be in the saloon at the Ellis County Historical Society Museum, 100 W. Seventh, starting at 10 a.m. each day. He will demonstrate how to play faro, a popular game in the Old West. At 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day, Wood will perform on stage at the Stone Church adjacent to the museum.

"It's one of our major special events of the year," said Donald Westfall, executive director of the Ellis County Historical Society. "This is our contribution to the Wild West Festival to have Wild Bill Hickok in Hays."

He won't be alone. Jaime Schlesinger, a graduate student at Fort Hays State University, will portray Libby Custer, wife of General George Armstrong Custer, at 4 p.m. each day at the Stone Church. Custer and his wife spent time at Fort Hays before he died at the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.

"She does a wonderful job with that," Westfall said.

One of the museum's volunteers, Will Johnson, will have a presentation on buffalo guns at 2 p.m. each day at the Stone Church.

"This is our contribution toward the theme of the event," Westfall said. "It's something we're in better position to do, because we have this ability to bring living history characters here.

"We also have a tremendous collection of firearms we're going to feature this time."

While the long, flowing locks of "Wild Bill" Hickok can be seen at the museum, hair of another kind will be in evidence on stage at 9 p.m. July 5.

The band Hairball will perform, recreating some of the most influential bands in rock history. The group will transform into acts such as Guns & Roses, AC/DC, Whitesnake, Motley Crue, Journey, Bon Jovi and more.

According to the group's website, a pyro show that would make KISS jealous and more costumes and makeup than a traveling circus and an ever-evolving, endless playlist of hit songs helps Hairball produce a rock concert like nothing ever seen before.