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Top Event for Lovers of All Things Pumpkin

It isn’t officially fall until shelves and menus are consumed with all things pumpkin and spice. I am a firm believer that there’s always something extra magical about the first pumpkin spice latte of the season, I have a stockpile of pumpkin-scented candles and a Pinterest board full of pumpkin recipes. There’s no denying I’m a major fan of the pumpkin craze and an even bigger fan of the annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival.

To my fellow pumpkin lovers out there: Mark your calendars. You won’t want to miss this event! In fact, you probably better plan this to be an annual trip because you’re going to love it and want to come back. There are way too many great aspects of the day to list them all here, so these would have to be my top 5:

1. The Amazing Photo Ops

You haven’t officially been to the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival until you’ve stopped for a photo in front of the gigantic jack-o-lantern. Complete with some straw bales to sit on and a friendly scarecrow, it encompasses everything you could hope for in one photo.  As I say this, I actually don’t have a photo in front of the jack-o-lantern…it’s now added to my Rapid City Bucket List!

pumpkin festival photo op.jpg

2. Fresh Baked Everything

I love baking, I really do, but I also love when I can enjoy fresh baked goods without having to clean up a mess in my kitchen afterwards. Between the Farmers Market and Bake sale I have to show some serious self-control to not buy more than we could ever eat. Fortunately, the vendors are also generous with their samples so even if you don’t want to buy the full thing, you can get a little taste. I’d recommend the pumpkin spice kettle corn, it’s one of my musts every year.


3. Pumpkin Carving Contest

I’m pretty sure I’ve admitted to not being artistically inclined before and that hasn’t changed. Fortunately for you, Rapid City is full of amazing artists that donate their time and talents for the enjoyment of all. You have to stop by the booth and check out the pumpkins! From intricate detailing to creative Rapid City inspired designs, you will not be disappointed. Last year I convinced my better half to carve the Do Big Things logo into a pumpkin, complete with Mount Rushmore and everything. Fortunately, our relationship survived even though the pumpkin didn’t quite make it to Halloween.


4. Kids Activities

Each year I go to the festival it’s with my best friend and my nieces. This event is so awesome we all find something to enjoy! There’s face painting, pumpkin painting, arts and crafts as well as a little train the kids can ride. You can also relax, munch on some of your pumpkin purchases and listen to live music while the kids enjoy a bounce house or the fountains. I can almost guarantee everyone will be ready for a nap by the end of the day with all these activities.

5. Pumpkin Catapult

If you’re a bit burnt out on the pumpkin craze that has swept the nation and cannot stand the thought or site of another bright orange gourd, then enjoy some sweet satisfaction in watching pumpkins fly through the air and SPLAT across the ground. Even if you aren’t that cynical, it’s a great event to watch. Teams bring catapults and compete with pumpkins of all sizes and the suspense builds with the roll of the drumline. It’s worth getting there early if you want a good view – the event starts at 10 but it’s so popular I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw people camping out the night before to get the best seats.


So whether you’re a pumpkin fanatic or simply looking for a great event to be a part of, I’d encourage you to head downtown and take part in the festivities! There are so many things to take part in its guaranteed fun for everyone. And for those of you without kids: as the event wraps up for the afternoon some adult-fun begins with a Downtown Pub Crawl!

If you’ve been to the event before, or plan on coming this year, let us know in the comments what you’re looking forward to most this year! Don’t forget to share the fun with your friends.

Meet the Author

Shiloh Francis

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

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Shiloh Francis
Guest Blogger

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

Shiloh is a transplant to Rapid City, having fallen in love with the area during family vacations and deciding to make it her permanent vacation after graduating from college. Traveling and discovering new places has always been a passion for Shiloh, but she loves the site of coming home to Rapid City each time the plane lands at the end of one of her adventures. Despite now being considered a local, she doesn’t let that stop her from taking time to play “tourist” in her own backyard. Shiloh is your go-to source for pup-spiration (all things pet-friendly), the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee or great bite to eat, and helping you find those hidden gems on your next vacation.

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