The Most Popular Fall Events in Rapid City | Black Hills Travel Blog

The Most Popular Fall Events in Rapid City

  • The Most Popular Fall Events in Rapid City
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
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Soon the air will grow crisp, and the leaves will begin to change. The vibrant red, yellow and orange foliage signal falls arrival, and with it comes a season of incredible events in Rapid City. Locals and visitors will come together for lively celebrations of all things autumn.

We rounded up the most popular fall events in Rapid City, making it easier than ever for you to fall for the Black Hills this time of year.

Craft beer enthusiasts, this one is for you! Sample beers from local breweries during Bierbörse, held every October at Main Street Square in Downtown Rapid City.

The event gets its name, Bierbörse, from the German word for beer stock exchange. In the stock exchange, the price of beer varies based on demand. When the value of a beer is low, it will cost as little as $2. If it is high in demand, the cost may go up to $8.

Dust off your lederhosen because there's even more authentic German fun to be had. Dance to music from the live polka band, test your strength during the stein holding competitions, gather your friends for team keg bowling, and more.

If this sampling leaves you thirsty for even more, try finishing your day by visiting the five breweries located right in Rapid City.

Black Hills Powwow
Experience the pomp, pageantry and beauty of Great Plains indigenous song and dance at the annual Black Hills Powwow, held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center every October. This gathering has become one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the U.S. It draws thousands of dancers, singers, artisans and thousands of spectators from across the U.S., Canada and beyond.

The powwow is just one of many captivating events held throughout the three-day cultural celebration. Take time to view the talent on display at the Fine Arts Show and the He Sapa Win pageant, and check out the thrilling competition during the hand game, golf and archery tournaments.

The Lakota Nation's proud people and rich heritage are deeply ingrained throughout western South Dakota, which is evident at this event. Continue to honor the traditions and history of these important indigenous people by visiting museums and galleries around Rapid City.

Experience more of this culture with a visit to Sioux Pottery and view the process of decorative ceramics, explore Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries –the area's most extensive collection of Plains Indian art, crafts and jewelry and see hand-painted buffalo hide drums at Dakota Drum Company.

Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival
The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival in Rapid City celebrates the squash that's an integral part of the season with a full day of fall fun. The festival has grown to be one of the largest events in downtown Rapid City, with activities taking place at Main Street Square, down Sixth Street and into Memorial Park.

One of the biggest draws is the Pumpkin Catapult. Each year, students from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology construct intricate catapults. Their designs are put to the test as they launch pumpkins across Memorial Park in various competitions of length and accuracy. It's a smashing good time. For more free fun, make your way to nearby SDSM&T's Museum of Geology. The museum has compelling exhibits on paleontology and mineralogy.

Then, watch massive gourds compete in the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. The pumpkin festival is a certified Great Pumpkin Commonwealth weigh-off site, where pumpkins are carefully inspected, measured and weighed. Last year's winner clocked in at 1,250 pounds! After the weigh-off, get your picture next to these colossal pumpkins to impress your friends.

The fall festival truly offers something for everyone – kids’ activities, a pumpkin patch, a pub crawl, Scarecrow Stroll, pumpkin carving contest, live music, and over 60 vendors offering everything from produce to handmade art.

Stratobowl Historic Hot Air Balloon Event
Give fall a colorful welcome at the Stratobowl Historic Hot Air Balloon Launch, held every September.  Weather permitting, around ten balloons will take flight during this annual, sunrise only, three-day event.

The launch is dedicated to bringing awareness and preservation to this beautiful canyon that's located just seven minutes outside of Rapid City off of Highway 16. Additionally, this event honors the original high-altitude balloons launched from the site in the 1930s.

The Stratobowl was first made famous in the 1930s when the Army Air Corps and National Geographic Society launched balloon flights into the stratosphere to a record 72,395 feet. It was then that this little valley became known as the "Stratobowl," the birthplace of the space age.

There are two ways to experience the balloon launch when you attend the event — by flight or by hike. If you plan on flying, spaces are limited so make plans now. If hiking is more of your thing, you can also view the launch from the Stratobowl Rim Trail. It is an easy half-mile hike to the overlook from the trailhead. Balloons take flight at sunrise, so pack a flashlight. Be sure to bring your chair and camera, too.

Visit the Journey Museum & Learning Center, near downtown Rapid City, to learn even more about this historic event.

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