Check out Chinook Days in Spearfish to celebrate one of Mother Nature’s greatest feats

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The fourth annual Chinook Days Festival kicked off on January 13, and will run through January 21 to celebrate the world record for fastest temperature change that was set in Spearfish in 1943.

The world record:

On the morning of January 22, 1943, a front set up over the Black Hills area. Cold artic air was to the north, and more moderate temperatures were to the south.

Spearfish Wxmap 012243

That morning, the temperature was -4 degrees in Spearfish, but in Deadwood, temperatures were in the 30s. In just a matter of minutes, the front progressed to the north and brought with it strong Chinook winds.

As the air flowed down the hills, it warmed up due to an increase in pressure, causing the temperature to rise to 45 degrees in Spearfish in only two minutes.

Classic Downslope Event

The rapid 49-degree change in temperature shattered windows and caused frost to form almost instantly. Throughout the day, the front moved back and forth a few times, rapidly changing the temperature each time, but none were as strong as the first.

Even though it also impacted Rapid City, no records were set there.


This weird weather is what makes the Black Hills so great, and is why this event is worth celebrating.

Chinook Days Winter Festival:

There’s no better way to celebrate one of Mother Nature’s greatest feats than with an outdoor festival.

We kind of put together a week full of events to celebrate that event and added some winter sports and some music and this winter festival up here and other things throughout the week. And that’s kind of our Chinook Days events,” said John Williams, a member of the group that organized Chinook Days.

The Winter Festival was full of different activities, including group fat tire bike rides and snowshoe hikes in the morning.

“We’re going to have a slow, fat bike race. So instead of getting to the finish line as quickly as you can, you have to get there as slowly as you can. We’ll have some dad mushing where we pull kids behind with snowshoes. We’ll have a fat bikers that do a keg pole around pulling empty kegs around,” Williams said.

The Winter Festival was fun, but there are still plenty of other events to look forwards to.

Chinook Days Schedule

“The big kind of grand finale is the Chinook Fest Bonfire and Beer Festival. That’s on Saturday, January 21st, 3-8 p.m.,” said Patrick Williams, brother of John Williams and also a member of the organizing group.

The bonfire will have three bands, fire performers, jugglers, aerial performers, a drum line and 15 breweries. It will be located at the Lookout Amphitheater in Spearfish.

Pre-sale tickets can be purchased for $25 each, at the door they cost $30.

If you missed out on the Winter Festival fun, Check out these photos:

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