Downtown harvest festival enters seventh year

Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015

RAPID CITY, SD – Pumpkins weighing hundreds of pounds will roll into Downtown Rapid City on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the seventh annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival.

“The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival is one of the largest events held in Downtown Rapid City each year,” said Megan Whitman, executive director. “The festival is a great way to welcome the harvest season. Families can enjoy all things pumpkin with the pumpkin catapult competition, giant pumpkin weigh-off and much more.”

The day begins with a drum demonstration by Stevens High School and Central High School, then the drum lines will lead event attendees down Sixth St. to Memorial Park, where the pumpkin catapult, featuring students from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, will be held. The pumpkin catapult is sponsored by RESPEC.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the farmers’ market, vendors and the First United Methodist Women’s Ministries bake sale will be open on Sixth St. The Regional Health Kidz Zone will be on Sixth St. and in the City Hall parking lot, featuring a pumpkin patch, pony rides, pumpkin train, face painting, pumpkin painting and more. JDProductions will lead family entertainment in the Square from 10 a.m. to noon.

Stop by Arts Rapid City’s booth to check out the pumpkin carving contest and vote on your favorite. The entry deadline is Sept. 15, and pumpkins are due Sept. 25. Entries are limited to 25. An elite panel of judges will select the “Most Artful Carving” and “Most Facebook Affection.”

All eyes will be on the giant pumpkin weigh-off at 11 a.m. in the City Hall parking lot, with cash prizes up for grabs. Rapid City is a certified weigh-off site for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, a national organization. To enter a giant pumpkin, please pre-register and arrive between 8 and 10 a.m. The giant pumpkins will be on display until 4 p.m.

Burnison Jenner will perform on the Main Street Square Stage from 12:30 to 2 p.m., then again at 3 p.m. The Stage Sponsor is The Hotel Alex Johnson.

Downtown chefs will compete in the Chef’s Challenge at 2 p.m., sponsored by Someone’s in the Kitchen. Chefs from (kōl)Firehouse Brewing Company, The Blind Lion Speakeasy, Ciao, Murphy’s Pub & Grill, The Hotel Alex Johnson, Paddy O’Neill’s¿Que Pasa?StarbucksVertex and Enigma Restaurant will prepare a pumpkin dish that judges will taste. Festival goers may visit Chef’s Row in Pedestrian Alley to see creations on display and watch the final preparations.

To wrap up the festival, a Downtown Pub Crawl will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. Participants may visit (kōl), 445 Martini Lounge, Brass Rail Lounge, Firehouse Brewing Co., Firehouse Wine CellarsHay Camp Brewing CompanyIndependent Ale House, Murphy’s Pub & Grill, Oasis Lounge, Inc., Paddy O’Neill’s Pub, ¿Que Pasa?, Sanford’s Grub & Pub, Thirsty’s, Teddy’s Sports Bar & Nightclub, Tinder BoxWobbly Bobby and VFW Post 1273. Pub Crawl Badges will be available for purchase at the Bud Light Beverage Garden at Main Street Square from noon to 5 p.m., and a prize drawing will be at (kōl) at 6 p.m.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” movie will show at the Elks Theatre at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. with a $1 admission.

Children are encouraged to enter the Great Downtown Pumpkin Coloring Contest. The coloring page can be found in the Pumpkin Post and on the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival event page on The deadline to enter is Thursday, Sept. 24. The winner will receive a family 4-pack to the Elks Theatre which includes four movie tickets, four drinks and two popcorns.

Enjoy free parking in Downtown Rapid City on Saturday, Sept. 26, for convenience while shopping and attending the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival. Private parking lots do not apply.

For more information and information on how to enter the various contests, pick up a copy of the Pumpkin Post. The Pumpkin Post will be a supplement to the Rapid City Journal on Sunday, Sept. 20 and will be available at Main Street Square during the event. Information may also be found at, or by calling (605) 716-7979.

Click here for more news.