The Gold Rush Committee is proud to announce Hazel Hill as the 2018 Queen of Valdez Gold Rush Days! Hazel has long supported Gold Rush Days by participating for decades as a Keystone Cop on the Hoosegow. Please check out her bio below for some more background on the life and volunteerism of Hazel Hill, and why we are so pleased to honor her with this prestigious title.
Hazel Hill was born and raised in San Miguel, California. She left sunny California and headed for Texas to pursue a lifelong career in the service industry. Here, she met the man of her dreams and started a family. Hazel has six children, ten grandchildren and several great-grandchildren, some of whom are following in her footsteps by participating in Gold Rush Days as CanCan Girls & Little Kickers.
Leaving Texas and traveling up the Alcan Highway back in 1973, Hazel came to Valdez to help her brother, Pete Williams, with a restaurant at the Totem Inn. They looked like the “Hill”billies, hitting town in a station wagon filled with a husband and four kids. Saying she was only staying for 3 years, 45 years later she is still cruising the streets of Valdez. Many of you have known her as an icon at the former Totem Inn Restaurant and have surely been served by her more times than you can count! She always remembers you, your kids, and your order.
Hazel has been a fast-moving participant in Gold Rush Days since the 70’s. She was a Keystone Cop through the 70’s and 80’s. She made numerous trips in the hoosegow arresting friends, family and neighbors; many times, taking them right out of their place of employment or tracking them down wherever they might be. Those were the days!
Back in the 70's and 80's, Hazel also went door to door with local businesses, to collect money for the printing of our Gold Rush Days booklet & schedule of events. For many years, she volunteered and worked the free community Fish Fry out of the Totem Inn as a cap to the end of Gold Rush Days.
Hazel was and is still an avid supporter of all Valdez sporting events—especially those for the kids. It’s not uncommon to see Hazel in the bleachers of a Little Dribblers game or a VHS basketball game. She spent years playing softball on a few of our local Softball teams, as well.
So, the next time you see Hazel in the store, at a ball game, or walking her furry little dogs along Pioneer Dr, take a moment to thank her for her volunteerism and support of our little city. And is customary during Gold Rush Days, you can even take a bow or curtsy to show your thanks!