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Trip Worthy Events in 2020

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her husband and two dogs. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, at a local ice cream shop, or perhaps home taking a nap.

December 23, 2019

It's not easy to narrow down the area events into a list this short. There are so many unique events that happen in Rapid City and the Black Hills that are worth attending. However, after a lot of thinking, I am able to present you with what I would consider my top six (in no particular order). Each of these events would add some pretty unforgettable memories to an already overflowing collection of good times you’ll have while visiting.

The Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park

Every September, Custer State Park (only a 45 minute drive from Rapid City) hosts an event called the Buffalo Roundup. What’s so exciting about herding some buffalo you might ask. Well, it’s not just a couple of buffalo, it’s about 1,300 buffalo. During the roundup, these buffalo are herded primarily by cowboys and cowgirls on horse back, just like a scene from a wild west movie. Now for my favorite part. It’s not only awesome to watch this many buffalo running together – but to feel it. North American Bison are the largest mammals in North America, and they can really make a rumble when that many get going. It’s incredible. Depending on where you sit (hint: come early) you can actually feel the ground shaking. This event attracts people from all over every year and 2020 will be no different, so make sure you're there too!

The Black Hills Powwow

Dancer at the Black Hills Powwow


The 2020 Black Hills Powwow has been postponed due to COVID-19, but the event will be back and better than ever in 2021.

Taking place every year in October, this three-day event is an incredible spectacle of Native American culture with dancing, artwork, drumming and so much more all happening under one roof. If you’re looking to experience the Native American culture of the area this is the best thing you could attend. You’ll witness all the Lakota dance styles and stunning regalia while being completely captivated in the beautiful community that exists at this event. It’s pretty unforgettable. Each year the Black Hills Powwow grows attracting more skilled dancers and participants and a larger audience, it is currently the third largest powwow in the United States. 


Stein Holding Competition at Bierborse in Rapid City

Beer lovers, this is your event. During this event Main Street Square transforms into a little slice of Germany. Sample a selection of over 82 beers from local breweries, treat yourself to a schnitzel and test your strength in a stein holding competition. Bierborse translates to beer stock exchange, meaning the price of beer during throughout this event will vary. The beers that are popular will rise in price, while the less popular beers prices with drop. It’s hard not to have a good time.

The Crazy Horse Volksmarch

Fall Crazy Horse Volksmarch

Unlike the other events mentioned, the Crazy Horse Volksmarch happens twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. This event attracts people from all over the world, and for good reasons. Crazy Horse Memorial is the largest mountain carving in progress and during the Volksmarch the public can hike up and out onto his arm. You can stand face to face with Crazy Horse, marvel at the details of the carving, and then take in the stunning views of the surrounding Black Hills.

The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival

Kids activity at the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival

The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival is the biggest festival that takes place in Downtown Rapid City. The event flows from Main Street Square over to Memorial Park, and like the name suggests it’s everything pumpkin. There is a giant pumpkin weigh-off, pumpkin catapults, pumpkin carving, free pumpkin crafts for kids, goods for purchase and a whole lot more. This event is a great way to embrace the changing of the seasons and will leave you with some excellent pumpkin filled memories.

The Stratobowl Historic Hot Air Balloon Launch

Views of the Stratobowl Historic Hot Air Balloon Launch

Located fourteen minutes outside of Rapid City on Highway 16 sits the historic Stratobowl. This spot was the location of the Army Air Corps and National Geographic Society’s 1934 and 1935 manned balloon flights that launched into the stratosphere to a record 72,395 feet. Now, every year in September ten to twelve experienced balloonists gather to celebrate the anniversary of that historic flight. Spectators watch as balloons float out of the valley of the Stratobowl and over the tree tops of the Black Hills, it’s a beautiful thing to witness. An added fun fact, since the flights take place over a mountainous terrain it is considered “extreme ballooning”. My favorite thing about this event is that unlike most balloon launches, spectators are above where the balloons take off from. You'll get to watch as they slowly rise to eye level and then up over your head and away. This event goes for an entire weekend with balloon launches taking place Friday morning, Saturday morning and again on Sunday.

Our area allows for some amazingly, unique events that will make your trip to Rapid City even more memorable. These are just a few of the wonderful events that happen in the area, to see more you can head to our events page!

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