Local comedy festival raising funds for Special Olympics of South Dakota

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The COVID-19 pandemic is no laughing matter. But the annual Sno Jam Comedy Festival is looking to help lighten things up and help those in need.

If you ask comedians Luke Johnson and Dan Bublitz Jr., they’ll tell you that it’s important to laugh even in the hard times.

Sno Jam Comedy Festival 2019. Courtesy: Dan Bublitz Jr.

“People need help in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is emotionally,” Comedain/Event Organizer Luke Johnson said.

“It gives them a chance to forget about everything. It’s an escape,” Comedian/Event Organizer Dan Bublitz Jr said.

One place you’ll find a lot of it this time of year is at the 5th annual Sno Jam Comedy Festival. And it’s no joke that foundations like the Special Olympics of South Dakota have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our athletes are just bummed out that we haven’t had any events, necessarily,” Nordquist said.

Courtesy: Special Olympics of South Dakota

CEO Darryl Nordquist says they had to switch to some outdoor events and couldn’t have athletes travel across the state.

“We’ve been blessed financially – keeping our head above water. From an employment standpoint, etcetera, our donors have kept us employed,” Nordquist said.

Every year, funds raised from the comedy festival go directly to the Special Olympics. They’ve raised $45,000 for them over the last 5 years. This year, the festival is going virtual to keep people safe. Some comedians will be doing stand-up virtually, and others will be attempting different material.

“A lot of times, they do other content in addition to stand-up comedy: they make sketches, they make short films, and so-on and so-fourth. So, we’re going to do a panel that’s going to feature some of the work that they’ve done and then with a Q & A,” Bublitz Jr. said.

Sno Jam Comedy Festival 2019. Courtesy: Dan Bublitz Jr.

Tickets will be sold at good-will price, meaning you can pay any dollar amount. The only limit is how much you’re willing to spend for a good laugh.

“We’re excited about it. We appreciate the partnerships we’ve built and that those partnerships, like the Sno Jam are still wanting to help support us, help keep our head above water,” Nordquist said.

​The Sno Jam Comedy Festival starts Thursday January 21 and goes through Saturday the 23.

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