Festivals and Events

Festivals and Events

With a multitude of festivals and events, South Dakota has something for everyone.  Festivals and events celebrate the best things in life, from food to music to hobbies and more.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the most recognized and celebrated motorcycle gathering in the world. For two weeks every August, the population of Sturgis, South Dakota, swells from about 6,000 to upwards of 400,000 as bikers of all stripes arrive and proceed to party.

Black Hills Stocks Show and Rodeo

There’s nothing more western, or more South Dakotan, than the Black Hills Stocks Show and Rodeo.  With the dramatic landscapes of Rapid City as the background, the Black Hils Stocks Show and Rodeo brings together the best examples of livestock with the thrill of a rodeo.

JazzFest – Sioux Falls

Each year over 90,000 people come to South Dakota for JazzFest, 2 days of South Dakota’s best jazz music. Jazzfest is held each summer at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls, and features premier performers on 2 different stages.  And don’t be surprised if you hear more than just jazz music, Jazzfest also showcases blues, Zydeco, Latin, reggae, big band, rock, soul and funk among others.


A Powwow, or Wacipi (pronounced wa-chee-pee), is a Native American celebration where a tribe gets together to dance, sing, spend time together, and honor the Native American culture.  It is a time when the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota of South Dakota conduct Honorings, giveaways, family gatherings and when friends meet, camp, visit, and reconnect as tribal nations. With nine Native American tribes, South Dakota hosts many Wacipi celebrations each year, many of which welcome visitors to part or all of the celebration.

Lifelight – Sioux Falls

Lifelight is one of the largest outdoor Christian music festivals anywhere, and is held annually in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  With an attendance of nearly 320,000 people in 2008, Lifelight takes place over 3 days, and features 6 different performance stages.  The festival attracts high profile bands within the Christian music scene, including past performers Third Day, Newsboys, and MIchael W. Smith.

South Dakota State Fair – Huron

The South Dakota State Fair will entertain adults and children alike.  A midway packed with rides, a grandstand featuring top notch music, and all the fair foods you remember will greet you at the South Dakota State Fair.

RibFest – Sioux Falls

If you love BBQ, RibFest will make your mouth water. Held annually in early summer in Sioux Falls, RibFest features all kinds of BBQ, including ribs and just about anything else you can imagine. BBQ masters from around the US descend on Sioux Falls during RibFest to round up some delectable BBQ.  Attendees can vote for their favorite BBQ, and at the end of the festival, the BBQ outfit with the most votes takes home the People’s Choice Award, along with a trophy, a $1,500 check, and bragging rights for the best BBQ!

Farm Shows – Vermillion, Sioux Falls

If you want to see the real South Dakota, and the agricultural heritage of the state, you’ll definitely want to check out a farm show.  Livestock showing and judging, horse and pony pulls, equipment and other agricultural exhibits will give you the flavor of what South Dakota farms and farmers are all about.

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