A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
Summer activities and vacations are coming to an end and practices for school-related events have begun. But there’s one final gathering to attend before summer is truly over – the South Dakota State Fair, which runs from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5 in Huron.
This is the 131st year of the great South Dakota get-together and this year’s theme is “Thrills, Squeals and Ferris Wheels.” Attendance, revenue and camper numbers all showed increases last year. With this year’s fair providing an excellent mix of new events and fair favorites, we hope to see increases again this year.
My sister and I were 4-H members growing up and we always were hopeful of exhibiting at the State Fair. My sister showed a dairy cow that earned her a purple ribbon. One year, I gave a demonstration on how to run an audio cassette tape player, which was considered new technology at the time. Members of 4-H still participate in the dairy show, demonstrations and many other project areas during the fair.
Some new activities at the South Dakota State Fair this year are cheese sculpting, a ranch rodeo, team penning, the Dole Canned Fruit Dessert Baking Competition and a ‘Fair’Cycled Art Competition.
A public Dedication Celebration Ceremony for the new Nordby Exhibit Hall for 4-H, Youth & Community will be held Sunday, Sept. 4, at 4 p.m. Thanks to a very generous contribution from the late Earl Nordby together with support from many other individuals, businesses and organizations, this facility replaces the old Clover Hall building and will be in use by 4-H members during the fair.
The State Fair is part of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, but other state agencies participate in the fair as well. As you walk about the grounds and through the buildings, you will see Game, Fish and Parks, Tourism, Health and others. The Department of Public Safety is holding “Drive Safe SD Day” Sunday, Sept. 4, in the Day Sponsor Tent where fairgoers can play games, register for prizes, watch Highway Patrol police dog demonstrations and learn more about the department’s agencies.
Another exhibitor is Driver Licensing and from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday in the Day Sponsor Tent, you will even have an opportunity to renew your driver’s license. Bring in two documents showing proof of physical address (such as vehicle registration and vehicle insurance) plus the actual driver license you want to renew. Staff will be there to help you.
Again this year, there will of course be tasty fair food, carnival rides, games and unique activities. Enjoy bull riding or one of the concerts in the grandstand each evening. No matter your interest, you’re bound to have a good time.
For more information on State Fair events, contact the Fair office at 800-529-0900, visit sdstatefair.com or find them on Facebook or Twitter.