Simplified: It's the eighth and final year of the Sno Jam Comedy Festival in Sioux Falls. A couple of the producers – and comedians who've been with the festival from the start – chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified about the event's history, what's on deck for this weekend and why it was time to say goodbye.
Why it matters
- The Sno Jam Comedy festival – true to form – started because of a joke. The founders of the festival were joking about how funny it would be to create a comedy festival during the coldest part of the year in South Dakota and invite comics from Los Angeles.
- The first festival took place in February 2017, and each year since, the festival has brought comics from across the nation to perform in Sioux Falls and help raise money for local charities.
- Sno Jam's final comedy festival will take place over four days this week, with "some of the heaviest hitters we've had," according to co-founder and producer Dan Bublitz, Jr. He and his other founders say they're ready to move on, and planning the multi-day comedy festival was essentially a year-round task.
"It's harder to keep it going," Bublitz said. "We’ve built such a great reputation that we just thought, sometimes it's just better to go out on a high note."
Tell me more
Sno Jam was the first comedy festival in the state. It not only brought in out-of-state comics, but it also gave local comics a chance to reach a broader audience, as well as make industry connections.
In its final year, the festival will be donating proceeds to the Dakota Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA) as a way to "pass the torch" to the next generation of performers, Bublitz said.
What happens next?
The festival kicks off Thursday, and it'll run through Sunday with performances from a wide variety of comedians.
"This has been a labor of love for eight years for all of us," producer Luke Johnson said. "We hope to see the community come out and support it one more time. You’re gonna see a lot of fantastic comics from all levels of experience and locations and personalities, and it's just gonna be a great time."