6 Things to do this October in the Black Hills

BLACK HILLS, S.D. – While peak tourism season may be over in the Black Hills, mild temperatures and sunny days make fall one of the best times to enjoy South Dakota. For locals — and tourists who are in on this well-kept secret — it’s an excellent time to visit the many attractions the area has to offer, while also beating the heat and crowds.

There are also plenty of events happening around the Hills during October that provide excellent opportunities to get out and explore.

Spearfish Canyon’s Fall Foliage

Due to an abundance of moisture this year, Spearfish Canyon’s autumn colors are expected to peak a little later than usual this fall. In late September, the color saturation was at about 65 percent, and it’s predicted to still be a beautiful palette in early October.

Each year, local resident and author Jerry Boyer provides a weekly report of the canyon’s colors. You can see the reports here.


Black Hills Horse Expo

The Black Hills Horse Expo is a great event for both horse enthusiasts and the general community. In addition to clinics and vendors, the Expo features a stallion showcase and an acrobatic equestrian production with aerialists, pyrotechnics and Roman riding. You can view a gallery of photos from previous year’s events below:

The Expo will be held Oct. 11-13 at the James Kjerstad Event Center on the Central States Fairground in Rapid City. You can find more information here.



2018 Deadwood Jam

Wild West Songwriters Festival

October 10 – 12 more than 20 top songwriters and artists flock to Deadwood to take part in the Annual Wild West Songwriters Festival. The 4th annual event is an opportunity for the public to “discover the moments that inspired their favorite hits and hear the songwriters put their original spin on those songs.”

This two-day event is filled with performances, panel discussions and parties with fresh songwriters attending each year. This year features songwriters such as Jesse Rice, who co-penned the song ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’ and Liz Huett, who toured with Taylor Swift as her backup singer and wrote the viral smash single, ‘STFU & Hold Me’. Full list of 2019 songwriters here.


Black Hills Powwow

The 2019 Black Hills Powwow will be happening Oct. 11-13 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

The 33rd annual event is considered one of the preeminent Native American cultural celebrations in the U.S. and features dancers, singers and artists from around the nation. Thousands of spectators come to watch the performances each year, as well as see the He Sapa Win pageant, a fine arts showcase, a youth wellness symposium and several sports tournaments.

This event is a cultural celebration and an opportunity to immerse yourself in dance, music and regalia with the theme of “Come Dance with Us”. BHPWA President, Stephen Yellowhawk said, “We want everyone to feel welcome and enjoy the beauty of Great Plains indigenous song and dance.”

A full schedule of the 2019 events available here.

Native American Day Celebration at Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial hosts several special events for Native American Day. South Dakota is the first state to officially celebrate the holiday, which takes place on the second Monday of October each year in lieu of Columbus Day.

The events at Crazy Horse are free with three cans of food per person and includes artist exhibitions, dancers, singers, storytellers and hands-on activities for children.

A free buffalo stew lunch is available for all visitors and the Crazy Horse Memorial Educator of the Year is also be named at the celebration. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to Native American education.

You can learn more about celebrating Native American Day at Crazy Horse Memorial here.

Deadweird and Scare in the Square

If you’ve been planning your Halloween costume since September (or even earlier) Deadweird and Scare in the Square are two events to mark on the calendar.

Deadweird kicks off in downtown Deadwood on Oct. 25 with the annual Monster Ball and culminates on Oct. 26 with a costume contest featuring more than $10,000 in cash and prizes.

The Monster Ball takes place at Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and includes live music, dancing and prizes and the costume contest winners are announced on Oct. 26 at the Silverado-Franklin, where there will also be plenty of music and fun.

Both nights are free and open to the public, but participants must be 21 or older. You can learn more here.

Scare in the Square takes place at Main Street Square in Rapid City and provides family-tailored entertainment and a downtown trick-or-treat event. From 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 26 participants can meet at the square to pick up a map showing downtown businesses where they can visit to trick-or-treat. You can find more information here.

This article is a sponsored content piece brought to you by Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Show, a proud supporter of local tourism. For the past 40 years Fort Hays has been a destination for visitors to the Black Hills to experience the “old west” firsthand through authentic cuisine and hands-on demonstrations.

“My father created Fort Hays because he recognized people were coming to the Black Hills to see the ‘old west’ but the ‘old west’ is gone. We are keeping the old ways alive, providing a piece of the west that is otherwise gone,” said Clint Jones, owner of Fort Hays.

The Jones family has what can only be described as deep roots in the Black Hills as Jones explained his family has been here “forever”. He went on to say that his great-great-grandfather was the first superintendent of schools in Rapid City and the towns first Presbyterian minister. His connection to the history of the Black Hills area and passion for supporting others in the industry inspired the support of content pieces such as this.

Jones also stressed the importance of supporting tourism in South Dakota year-round, “Tourism is the second largest industry in the state and there is always something to do or see in the Black Hills area whether you are visiting in December or July.”