Heading to the fair this weekend? Here’s what you’ll need to know

The Sioux Empire Fair opens up on Saturday, and with the fair’s 81st year coming during a global pandemic, there have been some changes, cancellations and adjustments.

But not that many — carnival rides, concerts and many of the other things you’d expect are still here. We’ve collected all the information you’ll need to know below.

Admission and Hours

The Sioux Empire Fair will be open from Aug. 1-8, from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Indoor vendors will open along with the fair every day, and close at 8 p.m.

Tickets for adults are priced at $10, tickets for children ages 6-12 are $5 and children 5 and younger get in for free — except on Aug. 5, when admission to the fair will be free until 1 p.m. for Agriculture Appreciation Day.

Tickets are purchased at the door, and are not sold in advance. Veterans and military personnel with valid identification can get for free, along with one guest.

The fair’s carnival will open at noon on Aug. 1-2 and Aug. 8, and at 1 p.m. Aug. 3-7. The carnival closes along with the fair at 10 p.m.

Event workers line shelves with stuffed animals behind carnival game tables at the Sioux Empire Fair on Friday, July 31, in Sioux Falls.

Carnival wristbands, which get one person unlimited rides for the day, can be purchased at the midway ticket kiosk for $35. On Aug. 3, BillionAuto.com Appreciation Day, carnival wristbands will be sold for half price.

A “Siouxper Pass” can also be purchased at all Lewis locations in Sioux Falls and Brandon for $70 until Aug. 5. The pass includes fair admission and unlimited carnival rides for one person every day of the fair.

A full schedule for each day of the fair can be found on their website.

Grandstand entertainment

All grandstand performances run from 8-11 p.m., and all shows are free with paid fair admission.

  • Aug. 2: Hairball with Ron Keel Band
  • Aug. 3: Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister
  • Aug. 4: .38 Special with Undercover Band
  • Aug. 5: Cody Johnson with Jacob Bryant
  • Aug. 7: Terry Fator

The PRCA Rodeo will also be showcased on Aug. 8, with shows at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Jody Posey tends to a camel and zebra in the petting zoo at the Sioux Empire Fair on Friday, July 31, in Sioux Falls.

Fair entertainment

Musical artists, entertainers, magicians and more will be making appearances at the fair. Local artists including Elisabeth Hunstad, Gary Mehlbrech and Will Prines will be appearing at the fair’s Front Porch, with a full schedule available on the fair’s website.

The Dakota News Now Kids Zone will feature Bob Bohm, The Magic of Keith Raymond, Rockin’ Red Music and Crazy Contests from Freddie Prez. A full schedule can be seen here.

COVID-19 changes

Courtney Drenth, director of marketing and public relations for the Sioux Empire Fair, said there are automatic hand sanitizer dispensers at all gates and throughout the fairgrounds, as well as double the normal number of handwashing stations.

Cleaning crews for the fair are also working more often, Drenth said, and there is signage at all gates explaining the fair’s precautions. Carnival rides have also been spaced out.

An event worker scrubs one of the carnival rides during preparations for the Sioux Empire Fair on Friday, July 31, in Sioux Falls.

Some regular events at the fair won’t appear this year, she said, including 4-H events, although open livestock and FFA shows are still on.

Parking

Parking at the Sioux Empire Fair is free, and available in two lots near the fair, accessible from Madison Street.

Find more information about the fair at the SiouxEmpireFair.com website.

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