Between Summer’s Heat and Winter’s Cold, This South Dakota Town Loves to Celebrate
The first Saturday after Labor Day offers Sioux Falls residents and visitors two fun-packed, family-friendly outdoor festivals from which to choose. In fact, you don’t really have to choose at all. Both are located in the downtown area, and begin and end at different times. Although there are a few hours of overlap, with a little smart planning, you can get the most out of both events.
Sioux Falls Artists and Artisans Take to the Streets
It’s 9:00AM, and 300 vendors and the citizens of Sioux Falls are eager to get Sidewalk Art Festival rolling. Low humidity, a soft blue sky and golden sunlight add the perfect backdrop to a full day of artistic displays, craft demonstrations, activities for children of all ages, live entertainment and tantalizing local eats.
This FREE annual outdoor event takes over the streets of Sioux Falls surrounding the Washington Pavilion. And why not? Proceeds from the festival will benefit the pavilion’s Visual Arts Center. The Washington Pavilion is one of the finest cultural, educational and entertainment venues in the region, and one of the town’s many draws for both locals and tourists.
From the moment the festival opens to its 5:00 PM closing time, there is enough variety to keep the most energetic man, woman or child satisfied and smiling. Pottery, hand-dyed silk scarves, paintings, framed photographs and furniture are only a few of many opportunities for browsing and shopping.
Science demonstrations, story-telling and a Children’s Studio – open from 9 AM to 4 PM – with interactive activities to keep the little ones occupied and interested, make it a no-brainer to bring the kids along.
The crowd ebbs and flows, but is constant throughout the day. Strangers will speak to you, vendors will answer your questions and friendly dogs will wag their tails to get your attention. The air is filled with the sounds of conversation, laughing children, live music, and yes, the occasional wails of an overstimulated infant or toddler.
Enticing smells of gyro meat, funnel cakes and kettle corn beckon you to stop and partake. And even if you are able to resist these and other fragrant delights, there is sure to be a smooth, refreshing gelato calling your name.
Sidewalk Art Festival brings together some of the best artists, crafters and entertainers in the Sioux falls area, and cordially invites everyone to come and celebrate their talents.
Current information on this year’s Sidewalk Art Festival can be found at http://www.sidewalkartsfestival.com
Get Your German On: It’s Party Time
Another lively Sioux Falls September festival is Germanfest. Because it runs from 10 AM to 10 PM, there is ample opportunity to take advantage of the extra five hours you have in the evening, should you decide to spend the day indulging your artistic side at the Sidewalk Art Festival.
Although this day-long event has a decidedly German theme, it is not to be confused with the Bavarian beer bash known as Oktoberfest. This beer bash plus is the way in which Sioux Falls celebrates a long-standing connection with its sister city, Potsdam, Germany.
The Sister Cities organization is dedicated to encouraging positive social change through international sharing and understanding of cultures. The organization’s fundraising efforts are directed toward student scholarships and support for cultural relationships.
Germanfest is funded by the Sister Cities Association of Sioux Falls, along with local businesses. The event is organized by a core group of hard-working volunteers who know how to throw a good party.
This party welcomes families and people of all ages, who like to enjoy themselves outside in the comfortable climate September brings to Sioux Falls. German culture. is represented through music, dancing food and, of course, beer.
Children have their own area where they’ll find age-appropriate games and entertainment, as well as the Kinder Area Puppet Show –
And then there is the Annual Dachshund Race, an opportunity for wiener dogs of all sizes, shapes and ages to show the world they’re nobody’s schnitzel. There are prizes for the winning wieners, but have no fear, slower runners won’t end up on anyone’s plate.
What will end up on plates are such nutritional necessities as an assortment of German sausages, sauerkraut, pickles and crispy, golden potato pancakes. Oh, and incase you forgot, there will be beer with which to wash it all down.
Germanfest is held in Falls Park, within close proximity to the downtown area. Picnic tables are available, however many prefer to bring their own lawn chairs so they can select the perfect spot to kick back and soak up the sights, sounds, aromas and atmosphere of Germanfest.
Current information on this year’s German Fest can be found at http://www.siouxfallsgermanfest.com
Our visit, to Sioux Falls was graciously hosted by the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. However, all opinions are, as always, entirely my own.