Downtown harvest festival enters ninth year

posted: Sept. 21, 2017

RAPID CITY, SD – Downtown Rapid City will welcome loads of pumpkins weighing hundreds of pounds on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the ninth annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival. Major event sponsor, Hungry for Truth.

“The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival is a community-wide celebration of the fall harvest,” said Megan Whitman, executive director of Main Street Square. “With a pumpkin catapult, giant pumpkin weigh-off, pumpkin chef challenge, and pumpkin carving contest there’s no shortage of fun for the whole family.”

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 will be held, featuring teams of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology students and Central High School students. The pumpkin catapult is sponsored by RESPEC.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the farmers market, vendors and the First United Methodist Church bake sale will be open on Sixth St. and in Memorial Park. The harvest market is sponsored by South Dakota State University. Find the Regional Health and Scull Construction Kidz Zone on Sixth St., in the City Hall parking lot, in the Square and in Memorial Park. The Kidz Zone will feature an abundance of activities, bounce houses, face painting, the Canyon Lake Methodist Church pumpkin patch, pony rides, pumpkin painting and more. New this year in Memorial Park, ride the Main Street Square Fun Express Train and take aim at a giant 20 ft. inflatable bullseye game. JDProductions will lead family entertainment in the Square from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Gabrielle Seeley will provide free interactive children’s art projects from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Square.

Stop by the HomeSlice Media Group booth to check out the pumpkin carving contest entries and vote on your favorite. Carve or decorate your own pumpkin or stop by HomeSlice Media Group, located at 660 Flormann St., to pick up a discount certificate for special savings on a pumpkin from The Pumpkin Patch at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church to submit to the contest. The Pumpkin Patch at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church opens at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28. Pumpkins will be displayed at the HomeSlice Media Group booth, where everyone can vote on their favorite for the People’s Choice Award. A special panel of judges will select winners for the Most Artful Carving and Best in Show. Winners will be announced at the festival and awarded prizes. Pumpkins must be submitted to the Main Street Square office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, with a $5 entry fee. You may also 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. For more information, contact Lisa Pawlowski at or call 605-718-6867.

All eyes will be on the giant pumpkin weigh-off at 11 a.m. in the City Hall parking lot. Rapid City is a certified weigh-off site for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an international organization. Pumpkins will be carefully inspected, measured and weighed. Cash prizes will be presented during the award ceremony, which will immediately follow the weigh-off. To enter a giant pumpkin, register your gourd between 8 and 10 a.m. the day of the event. The giant pumpkins will be on display until 3 p.m. The giant pumpkin weigh-off is co-sponsored by Black Hills State University – Rapid City and Black Hills Federal Credit Union.

35th and Taylor will take the Main Street Square Stage from 3 to 6 p.m. for a free concert. The band brings an alternative rock sound with a heavy blues influence. The Main Street Square Stage is sponsored by Paddy O’Neill’s.

Downtown chefs will compete for a first place prize in the sixth annual Downtown Chef Challenge at 1 p.m. Chefs from (kōl), The Blind Lion Speakeasy, Murphy’s Pub & Grill, Hotel Alex Johnson, and Wine Cellar Restaurant will prepare a dish with pumpkin as an ingredient that judges will taste. The recipes for the dishes will be available on site. Festivalgoers may visit Chef’s Row in Pedestrian Alley to see creations on display and watch the final preparations. The Downtown Chef Challenge is sponsored by Someone’s in the Kitchen and will be judged by MJ Adams, Eric Gardner and a local farmer with Hungry for Truth.

To wrap up the festival, a Downtown Pub Crawl will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. Pub crawl badge holders will receive discounts on beer, wine, cocktails, or soda at participating businesses. Show your badge at the Bud Light Beverage Garden, open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., to receive one free beverage courtesy of Main Street Square. Participating businesses include 445 Martini Lounge, Brass Rail Lounge, Firehouse Brewing Company, Firehouse Wine Cellars, The Gold Bison Grill at the Holiday Inn – Rushmore Plaza, Independent Ale House, 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. Pub crawl badges may be pre-purchased for $10 online or at the Main Street Square office until noon on Friday, Sept. 29. Pub crawl badges will also be for sale in the beverage garden for $10 on the day of the event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Spin the wheel while picking up your badge on the day of the event for a chance to win prizes from businesses participating in the pub crawl.

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. 28. The winners will receive a family 4-pack to the Main Street Square ice rink, which includes four ice skating passes and four ice skate rentals.

Enjoy free parking all day in all Downtown public lots, metered spaces on the streets, and in the parking ramp near Main Street Square. Take a complimentary shuttle ride to the fun from the West Civic Center parking lot. The shuttle, courtesy of Visit Rapid City, will run from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will drop riders off near Main Street Square.

In addition to the fall festivities, the Fireball Run, will host their finish line on Sixth St. near Main Street Square. 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

For more information on the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival, pick up a copy of the Pumpkin Post. The Pumpkin Post will be a supplement to the Rapid City Journal on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Additional copies will be available at the Main Street Square office from Tuesday, Sept. 26 to Friday, Sept. 29, and at Main Street Square during the event. Information may also be found at, or by calling 605-716-7979. 


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