One of the largest music fests in Sioux Falls is officially underway. JazzFest kicked off Thursday and runs through this weekend. This event brings tens of thousands of people out each and every year and the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society couldn't be happier.
"We expect about a 100,000 people, but with the way the weather has been, it's perfect weather, we think it's going to be a good year for us. Last year there were 125,000 and we think we could possibly even match or break that," Executive Director Rob Joyce said.
As tents are put up and the stage is set for music fans to arrive, there are others that benefit from JazzFest as well.
"We always look forward to it. We're in about the middle of our season and this is the highlight. After this, things go down a little bit, but this always the fun one," Ken Boettcher said.
Boettcher from Baltic travels around eastern KELOLAND in the summer to different event selling ice cream, smoothies, and kettle corn. This is his fifth year coming to JazzFest. It’s an event he hopes will help his bottom line.
"This is really our big event so we count on this one to pay the expenses and yeah, this is a good for us," Boettcher said.
With a good weather forecast, the crowds could be large at Yankton Trail Park this year. That likely means heavy traffic in south Sioux Falls.
If you want to park your car, plan on getting there early. JazzFest does have vehicle parking, but organizers said that will fill up fast. Parking is $10 per vehicle with proceeds going to the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society scholarship fund.
To ease traffic concerns, JazzFest has organized bus shuttles from three local high schools. Tonight, one shuttle from Lincoln High School will be in service starting at 5 p.m. Three shuttles from Roosevelt, O'Gorman and Lincoln High Schools will run tomorrow. There is $3 fee for a round trip. Organizers said the shuttles will run until everyone has been picked up.
The bike trails leading into JazzFest will also be open. Spoke-N-Sport will be operating a bike valet service during the event. Event officials do advise bike riders to bring a flashlight if they plan on riding during the night.