The eighth annual Dakota Western Heritage Festival will be held September 13 -15, 2019 at the Expo Center in Ft. Pierre.

Activities include a one – day wagon train on Friday , September 13, followed by a benefit steak feed sponsored by the Hayes volunteer fire department. Those interested in participating, please contact Carmen Magee @ 605 280-8938 or email her @

The Festival is the culmination of a year-long youth poetry/music contest involving students from local and surrounding schools. Cash awards and plaques will be presented and the youth will perform their original poetry and music at the Festival.

Involving the youth is a way of increasing their awareness and appreciation of the local and family histories.

Of special interest to Stanley County residents, Hazen Sherer placed first in the 3rd grade poetry category, Wyatt Schilling, Asher Rasmussen and River Ludemann placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the fourth grade poetry division, and Eddie Duffy placed 1st and Chezine Heezen garnerd second in the 5th grade competition. They will be receiving their cash awards and plaques and an invitation to perform on the freedom stage. Those interested in entering next year, please come and share the excitement, and meet the winners as well as our freedom stage performers.

Of special historical interest, Curt Mortensen and John Burkholder will present histories of their families, from the time they brought cattle to the prairie west of the Missouri River, then homesteaded and took advantage of the free open range until it disappeared behind barbed wire. Curt and John will have stories, photos and maps to share. If you have an interest in how it was back before fences, be sure to attend the Dakota Western Heritage Festival on Saturday, September 14th.

There will be displays and demonstrations all three days of the festival, including boot makers, hat makers, rope makers, silversmiths, antique quilts, a huge display of saddles made by South Dakota saddle makers, with many of the craftsmen there to tell about their work.

Our freedom stage will showcase a group of outstanding musicians and poets, all the “real deal”, having ranching and farming backgrounds. The daytime activities and demonstrations, including the freedom stage performers are all free!

Sunday will begin with cowboy church, followed by a cowboy breakfast and the day will end with music by Plains Folk.

Come and join us for a great weekend of celebration of the traditions and lifestyle of the West!

For more information visit us on Facebook under Dakota Western Heritage Festival or call Gary Heintz @ 605 222-0079.

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