10 Must-Do Summer Festivals & Events in the Black Hills | Black Hills Travel Blog

10 Must-Do Summer Festivals & Events in the Black Hills

  • 10 Must-Do Summer Festivals & Events in the Black Hills
    10 Must-Do Summer Festivals & Events in the Black Hills
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The Black Hills and Badlands truly come to life in the summer season. With wildflowers in bloom and our favorite trails open for hiking and biking, those seeking adventures will find endless opportunities in our neck of the woods. Fill up your vacation calendar with festivals, concerts, rodeos and more – read on for a taste of the many events that make the Black Hills and Badlands a go-to destination all summer long.

Spring Volksmarch | Crazy Horse Memorial | June 2 & 3
Get up-close and personal with the 87-foot (9-story) face of Lakota hero, Crazy Horse, during the Spring Volksmarch. The annual organized spring hike up the world’s largest carving-in-progress is a 10K (6.2-mile) route, round-trip that takes up to four hours to complete. Hikers set their own pace as they make their way up the hilly and rough paths that lead to the arm of the massive sculpture. The turn-around point positions you directly in front of Crazy Horse’s face. Cross it off your bucket list this summer!

Summer Nights & Thursdays on the Square-Thursdays | Rapid City | May 31 to Aug. 30
Meet in the heart of Downtown Rapid City on Thursday nights for free live music on two different outdoor stages. You’ll find the action on the Main Street Square stage at Sixth and Main St., and the Summer Nights stage at Seventh and St. Joseph St. The summer entertainment series features robust lineups, family-friendly activities, and a vibrant crowd. Be sure to grab a bite to eat from delicious food vendors and cool off with an assortment of refreshments in the beverage gardens.

Wild Bill Days | Deadwood | June 15 & 16
Head to Deadwood’s historic Main Street and celebrate the life and times of legendary gunslinger, Wild Bill Hickok. Wild Bill Days keeps you grooving with free concerts all weekend long. This year's headliners are top country acts Clint Black, Friday night, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Saturday night. Throughout the day, Black Hills pros will lead gold panning and sluicing demonstrations. You'll be prospecting with the best of them by the end of the weekend! Be sure to check out the National DockDog Competition, where canine athletes compete in the fastest growing aquatic sport on four legs. New this year, the Wild Bill Motorcycle Classic invites you to ride into the Wild West with modern-day horsepower.

Black Hills Mountain Fest | Black Hills | June 15 to 17
Whether you’re a mountain bike enthusiast, avid fly fisher, live music lover, or local craft beer enthusiast, the Black Hills Mountain Fest has something for you! This three-day event is packed with singletrack and endurance races, top outdoor vendors, activities, free concerts, and outdoor education encouraging people to get out and explore the beauty of the Black Hills.

Mt. Rushmore Rodeo at Palmer Gulch | Hill City | June 9 & 24, Aug. 8 & 18, and Sept. 2
Take in the time-honored tradition that is South Dakota's state sport as the hoots and hollers of the Wild West rodeo action echoes through Mt. Rushmore Resort at Palmer Gulch. The rodeo events include bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback, team roping, barrel racing, and mutton bustin’ fun for the kids. This is the perfect event for families, rodeo first-timers, and anyone looking for good ole' fashioned fun.

41st Annual Festival in the Park | Spearfish | July 20 to 22
More than 25,000 attendees make it a point to browse the handmade items offered at Festival in the Park. Spearfish City Park houses more than 180 fine arts and crafts vendors during the weekend's juried exhibition. Grab a bite at one of the many food vendors offering festival favorites as you make your way through the eclectic booths or while relaxing to free live entertainment from local and regional artists.

Days of ‘76 Rodeo & Parades | Deadwood | July 24 to 28
Watch Wild West action as the Days of ‘76 Rodeo kicks up the dust in Deadwood. As the PRCA Midsize Rodeo of the Year, every year since 2004, it truly is the “Best Rodeo. No Bull.” During the day, take part in the Days of ‘76 Parade. This long-standing tradition originated as a reenactment of the rich history in the region. The parade stretches up to three miles and features one of the largest collections of early horse-drawn transportation in the area.

78th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally | Sturgis | August 3 to 12
Throughout the Black Hills, August is synonymous with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The small community in the northern Black Hills transforms into biker heaven for ten days, as Sturgis’ Main Street is filled with motorcycles, leather and denim, and people – lots of people! The event boasts some of best music in the country, from local, homegrown bands to up-and-coming regional acts, to the biggest names in rock and roll. On top of that, there are countless food and souvenir vendors, booths, and shops offering everything from motorcycle customizing to tattooing.

Southern Hills Music & Arts Festival | Custer | August 17 & 18
Make your way to the Southern Hills Music & Arts Festival where classic rock hits, local artists, vendors of all kinds, and car enthusiasts collide for two days of fun. This year’s event, hosted at Pageant Hill in Custer, will have six music stages boasting more than 48 free entertainment acts, a bevy of arts and crafts, food and drink vendors, a hot air balloon rally at sunrise, and the third annual Show & Shine Car show.

Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival | Hot Springs | August 25 & 26
Watch scores of colorful balloons take flight at dawn during the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival. The two-day event also offers static displays and glider rides at the airport, a Night Glow at the Southern Hills Golf Course, and an Art Walk & Chalk in Downtown Hot Springs.

For a full line up of festival and events in the Black Hills and Badlands, visit our Events Calendar.

About the Author

Morgan is the Communications Director at Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association. She grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where she developed a deep love for the outdoors and adventure. She followed her heart to the mountains and received a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from the University of Colorado - Boulder. Her inquisitive nature led her to uncover the many treasures the Black Hills have to offer. She has called them home since 2014.

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