Ninth Annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival

Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 | 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Downtown's biggest festival, The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival, returns for a ninth year on Saturday, Sept. 30. Visit Main Street Square, venture down Sixth St., and into Memorial Park for
a pumpkin catapult, giant pumpkin weigh-off, Downtown chef competition, Downtown pub crawl, the Regional Health and Scull Construction Kidz Zone, vendors and more. The community-wide celebration of harvest season brings an estimated 25,000 people together for a day of fall fun! Major Event Sponsor, Hungry For Truth South Dakota.

Schedule of Events
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 Farmers Market and Vendor Booths Open
           Pumpkin Carving Contest Display
           Canyon Lake Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch (Sixth Street)
           Regional Health and Scull Construction Kidz Zone (Main Street Square, Sixth Street & Memorial Park)
           First United Methodist Church Bake Sale
           Giant Pumpkins on Display until 3 p.m. (City Hall Parking Lot)
           Vote for People's Choice in the Pumpkin Carving Contest
9 a.m. Drum Demonstration (Main Street Square Stage) followed by Drum Procession to Memorial Park
10 a.m. SD Mines Pumpkin Catapult (Memorial Park)
           Sponsored by RESPEC
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. JD Productions Family Entertainment (Main Street Square Stage)
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free Interactive Children’s Art with Gabrielle Seeley (Main Street Square)
11 a.m. Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off followed by Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off Award Ceremony (City Hall Parking Lot)
           Co-sponsored by Black Hills State University - Rapid City and Black Hills Federal Credit Union
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bud Light Beverage Garden Open (Main Street Square)
1 p.m. Pumpkin Post Coloring Contest Winner Announced (Main Street Square Stage)
1 p.m. Downtown Chef Challenge (Main Street Square)
           Sponsored by Someone's In The Kitchen
3 p.m. Pumpkin Carving Contest Award Presentation (Main Street Square Stage)
           Sponsored by HomeSlice Media Group
3 to 6 p.m. 35th and Taylor Concert (Main Street Square Stage)
           Stage sponsored by Paddy O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Grill
3 to 6 p.m. Live Broadcast of Fireball Run Finish Line
3 to 9 p.m. Downtown Pumpkin Pub Crawl (Participating Downtown Establishments)

Pumpkin Catapult
3… 2… 1… Launch! Teams from the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Production (CAMP) at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology star in Pumpkin Chuckin’ at 10 a.m. in Memorial park. For more information about CAMP, visit The Pumpkin Catapult is sponsored by RESPEC.

2017 Pumpkin Chuckin' Winners
1st place: Steel Bridge CAMP Team
2nd  place: Robotics CAMP Team
3rd place: Formula Racing CAMP Team

Pumpkin Carving Contest
Homeclice Media Group, home of KAT Country 98.7, HOT 93.1, Classic Rock 100.3 the FOX, Smash Hits KKLS, and 93.9 the MIX, invites you to showcase your creativity in the annual Pumpkin Carving Contest.

Receive special savings on a pumpkin from Canyon Lake United Methodist Church’s Pumpkin Patch by picking up a discount certificate at to Homeslice Media Group, located at 660 Flormann St. (behind the Mt. Rushmore Rd. Safeway). Present your certificate at the Pumpkin Patch and save on a pumpkin to carve or decorate for the contest. Please note: The Pumpkin Patch opens at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Your entry may be as tradition or creative as you like. From fanciful to frightening, we want to see them all. Drop off your carved or decorated pumpkin creation between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 at the Main Street Square office, located at 512 Main St., Ste. 980, with your $5 entry fee. You may also choose to donate a new, unopened toy for the Toys for Tots program in lieu of the $5 fee. All proceeds from this year’s entries will be donated to Toys for Tots.

The Categories:

  • Sprouts (Ages 12 and under)
  • Squashers (Ages 13 through 18)
  • Gourds (Adult)

The Prizes:
Best in Each Category
$25 Gift Card, each
Our panel of judges will select one winning pumpkin from each category.
Most Artful Carving $50 Gift Card
Judges will determine the most creative work of art overall.
People’s Choice $50 Gift Card
Festival goers will vote for their favorite pumpkin overall.
Best in Show $100 Gift Card
Judges will determine the best in show pumpkin.

Pumpkins will be displayed at the Homeslice Media Group booth where everyone can vote for the People’s Choice Award. A special panel of judges will select the other category winners. Winners will be announced at the festival at 3 p.m. before 35th and Taylor hits the stage. For more information, contact Lisa at or call 605-718-6867.

The Pumpkin Carving Contest is sponsored by HomeSlice Media Group.

Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off
Before dawn the morning of the event, giant pumpkins can be seen in pick-up beds and on trailers heading to Downtown Rapid City. The pumpkin festival is a certified Great Pumpkin Commonwealth weigh-off site, where the pumpkins are carefully inspected, measured and weighed. The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off is co-sponsored by Black Hills State University-Rapid City and Black Hills Federal Credit Union.

Top 2017 Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off Winners
1st place: 951 pounds, Kevin Marsh, Parker, SD
2nd place: 855 pounds, Team Evans/Winey, Rapid City, SD
3rd place: 564 pounds, Team Evans/Winey, Rapid City, SD
4th place: 480 pounds, Mark Kaiser, Spearfish, SD
5th place: 452 pounds, Kyle and Tara Kaiser, Edgemont, SD

Ugliest Pumpkin: 251 pounds, Bruce Easton, Rapid City, SD
Howard Dill Award: 216 pounds, Ethan Hook, Rapid City, SD
1st  Place Squash: 436 pounds, Matt Winey, Rapid City, SD
2nd Place Squash: 133 pounds, Ethan Hook, Rapid City, SD

Downtown Chef Challenge
A battle of culinary skills will ensue on Main Street Square’s stage. Downtown Rapid City chefs will compete for a first place prize, and most importantly, bragging rights, in the sixth annual Downtown Chef Challenge. Each chef is required to prepare a dish with pumpkin as an ingredient. The gourd may star in the dish, or it may have a supporting role. The recipes for the dishes will be available on site. 

2017 Downtown Chef Challenge Winners
1st Place: (kōl), Chef Josh Cumiford, Pumpkin and pork belly risotto with pumpkin verjus and crispy butternut squash curl
2nd Place: Murphy's Pub & Grill, Chef Katlyne Patterson, Pumpkin gnocchi with wild boar, oyster mushrooms and sage cream sauce
3rd Place: Hotel Alex Johnson/Vertex Sky Bar, Chef Chris Stamp, Pumpkin and braised pork belly over pumpkin and sweet potato gnocchi

View the 2017 Downtown Chef Challenge winning recipe HERE.

Downtown Pub Crawl
Downtown establishments have joined in the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival with a Pub Crawl. Pub crawl badge holders will receive discounts on beer, wine, cocktails, or soda at participating businesses from 3 to 9 p.m. Pre-purchase your pub crawl badge for $10 online or at the Main Street Square office from Monday, Sept. 18 until noon on Friday, Sept. 29. 
Purchase pub crawl badges for $10 at the Bud Light Beverage Garden from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the day of the event. Be sure to spin the wheel when you pick up your pub crawl badges for a chance to win fantastic prizes.

Participating businesses include: 445 Martini Lounge, Brass Rail Lounge, Firehouse Wine Cellars, Firehouse Brewing Compnay, Hay Camp Brewing Company, The Gold Bison Grill at the Holiday Inn – Rushmore Plaza, Main Street Square, Murphy’s Pub & Grill, Oasis Lounge, Paddy O’Neill’s, Press Start, ¿Que Pasa? Cantina, The Historic Freight House, Teddy’s, Thirsty’s, Tinder Box, VFW Post 1273 and Wobbly Bobby

Main Street Square Group urges participants to drink responsibly and utilize designated drivers.

Fireball Run Adventurally
The Fireball Run is an adventure rally filmed in real time. It is a 2,000 mile life-sized, trivia pursuit road rally competition that takes place over an 8 day period. There are 40 teams racing around the Midwest to locate America’s hidden gems and historic artifacts, all for bragging rights, a plastic road sign and an opportunity to find America’s missing children. Fireball Run is a 26 episode streaming series in the U.S. on Amazon and televised in foreign markets. The teams are made up of a variety of individuals with a whole lot of personality and BIG hearts including two of our very own Rapid City residents, Marnie and Doug Herrmann. This is your opportunity to watch as this amazing AdventuRally rolls through Rapid City and cheer on the contestants and celebrate with the winning team as they cross the finish line in Downtown Rapid City on Sept. 30. Finish line festivities start at 2 p.m. and the legendary vehicle parade starts at 4 p.m. Tickets are free for everyone! Stop by the Visit Rapid City office on the 2nd Floor of The Shops at Main Street Square, Ste. 240, to pick them up. For more information, visit

Free Parking in Downtown Rapid City
Extend your day Downtown with shopping and dining, while enjoying free parking in all Downtown public lots, metered spaces on the streets, and in the parking ramp near Main Street Square ALL DAY on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Visit Rapid City has generously coordinated a complimentary shuttle, providing festival attendees a quick and hassle-free ride to all of the fun. The shuttle will run continuously from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., taking riders from the West Civic Center parking lot and dropping them off near Main Street Square.

2017 Major Event Sponsor

2017 Pumpkin Catapult Sponsor

2017 Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off Co-Sponsor


2017 Harvest Market Sponsor


2017 Stage Sponsor

2017 Progress Sponsor

2017 Beverage Garden Sponsor

2017 Kidz Zone Co-Sponsors  



2017 Media Sponsor

 Funding for the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival is provided in part by Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association.