As we get ready to 'Experience the Magic' at the South Dakota State Fair, August 30 – September 3, here's 5 facts we dug up that fascinated us. (Check out the 2018 grandstand schedule here)

  • 1

    The South Dakota State Fair Began in Bismarck, ND.

    It's true. According to our resident historian, Randy McDaniel, The origin of the South Dakota State Fair actually began before there was a South Dakota. We were still 'Dakota Territory' and the capitol was...Bismarck. And that's where the Territorial Legislature approved an Act for a Fair...a fair which we now know as the South Dakota State Fair!

  • 2

    Leola High School Choir will sing with Foreigner

    The choir from Leola High School will join the legendary Foreigner on stage on Saturday night. The classic rockers invited Rapid City Stevens choir onstage when they performed at the Buffalo Chip for this year's rally where they provided backup harmonies for 'I Want To Know What Love Is.'

  • 3

    The Grandstand Is Exactly 100 Years Old This Year

    The South Dakota State Fair Grandstand was built in 1918. It replaced an old frame building bought and moved from Yankton.

  • 4

    The Fire of 1916

    The worst fire in the history of the State Fair began in the Feed and Forage building built in 1916. It was completely destroyed on September 4, 1977. Amazingly, there were 93,000 people on the grounds at the time.

  • 5

    Johnny Cash Shows Up in 1976

    September 1, 1976, the Man in Black makes an appearance at the South Dakota State Fair. Johnny Cash and Marty Stuart were tracked down by a reporter (Terry Woster) in a Holiday Inn in Mitchell, SD after the show. By the way, no one recorded the set list for the night so we don't have one, but you can bet Folsom Prison Blues was played.

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