Eye on KELOLAND: What you can expect at the SD State Fair


Even in this year of constant change stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, some South Dakota traditions aren’t going anywhere.

The South Dakota State Fair gets underway in just a few weeks in Huron.

Glenn Muller is gearing up for another South Dakota State Fair.

It’s not only a tradition for Muller and his family, but also the South Dakota Pork Producers Council.

The executive director of the organization says the group started serving pork loin sandwiches back in the early 1970s, and it has since expanded its menu.

“We look forward to the fair every year. We get to meet new producers. We have our producers come in and volunteer their time to work at the fair, build relationships. The state fair is always about the memories of the fair. Obviously, this year the fair will provide memories that folks will carry for a lifetime,” SD Pork Producers Council Executive Director Glenn Muller said.

On top of vendors, fair-goers can expect many more familiar sights at this year’s 5-day event.

“We’re going to have a lot of traditional things, but maybe just a shift in things,” South Dakota State Fair Manager Peggy Besch said.

Fair manager Peggy Besch says there will be a full carnival with new rides, livestock shows, and more.

While there won’t be any major concerts, there will be plenty to see from the grandstand, including bull riding and a free laser and light show with fireworks.

You’ll also notice some new sights right when you get to the gate.

“Signage just encouraging people to wear a mask, social distance, and again just wash your hands,” Besch said.

There will also be hand sanitizing and hand washing stations.

“We’ve tried to spread out a lot of areas, spreading out our benches and picnic tables and bleachers. Just more frequency of cleaning and sanitizing, those types of things,” Besch said.

Besch is expecting to see some new faces this year at the state fair.

“We have a lot of folks, especially from neighboring states, surrounding states, that are excited for the first time will be coming to South Dakota since their state fairs didn’t happen, unfortunately,” Besch said.

It’s a much-needed event for the community if you ask Laurie Shelton.

She’s the president of the Huron Chamber and Visitors Bureau.

“We are always so thrilled to be able to host it because it makes millions of dollars of impact to our community,” Shelton said.

The fair boost will be especially helpful this year after COVID-19 took a toll on some businesses.

“Overall, with our sales tax revenues coming in, we’re down 8-percent for the Triple-B tax, which is for our restaurants, our lodging establishments, and our drinking establishments,” Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau President Laurie Shelton said.

Shelton is comparing January to July of 2020 with the same time window last year.

But the fair won’t just help the local economy, Besch says it will offer families some normalcy.

“The fair is an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate friends and family,” Besch said.

“We’re just excited to be back at the fair again,” Muller said.

The state fair runs September 3rd through the 7th.

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