Mark Your Calendar
All communities have annual events that are worth catching — and the Black Hills has some of the best. From nationally recognized to locals-only affairs, we always have something new to discover. We know our Airmen and Soldiers move often and see a range of events everywhere they go, but we believe that ours are unique and truly deserve a spot on your calendar.
June is a great time to get out on the trails, but one hike in particular is worth catching. The Crazy Horse Volksmarch happens twice a year, but it really is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Catch it on June 5 and 6, or September 26, to hike up the carving and get face-to-face with a legend. Head to Hill City on the 19 and 20 for Sculpture in the Hills, a fun art festival that draws regional talent.
July kicks off with Independence Day celebrations, with the anticipated continuation of fireworks to Mount Rushmore headlining this year’s festivities. Cities around the hills put on their own displays as well, so you can’t go wrong no matter where you choose to celebrate. Close out the month with Deadwood’s Days of ‘76 from the 27-31, including rodeo events, music, and a parade.
August is when the biggest event of the year happens: the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The rally has been going for over 80 years now and is one of the largest annual motorcycle events in the world. On the 28 and 29, Hot Springs hosts the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival, with daily launches in the morning and events throughout the day.
September hosts the annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park on the 24. It’s an awesome experience, as you watch — and feel — hundreds of buffalo get herded into pasture by cowboys on horseback. We have a sizable German community in the hills, so don’t miss out on Oktoberfest celebrations at the end of September and beginning of October. A unique way to celebrate is by riding the 1880 Train’s Oktoberfest ride, where beer and food are served along with polka music.
October brings the changing of fall leaves, not to mention all kinds of Halloween fun throughout the hills. Spearfish Canyon is a great drive any time of year, but don’t miss it and Roughlock Falls in the fall. When it comes time for Halloween, Storybook Island in Rapid City hosts a safe Trick or Treat event that takes the stress off parents, and your kids will remember it for years to come.
November kicks off our holiday season, and you can enjoy festivities starting with the Festival of Lights Parade in downtown Rapid City on the 27 or the start of Storybook Island’s nightly Christmas Night of Lights. That same weekend, catch the start of the annual Olde Tyme Christmas celebration in Hill City and the Victorian Christmas in Keystone.
December continues the holiday season festivities, with parades or holiday fairs scheduled almost every weekend. Ice skating rinks appear in downtown Rapid City and in Deadwood, both offer rentals and warm beverages for the entire family.
While you’re here at Ellsworth, we hope you explore the Black Hills all year long. In addition to these events, our local communities host a wide variety of festivals, shows and gatherings. Keep an eye on local social media and events pages, we know the Black Hills will always have something new to discover!