Simplified: The Sioux Empire Fair starts Thursday. Here's a look at some new and noteworthy food, events and exhibits to check out over the next week.

Why it matters:

  • The Sioux Empire Fair dates back to 1938 when Winona A. Lyon donated nearly 50 acres of land west of the river to be named after her husband William H. Lyon. This year marks the 82nd annual fair.
  • It's a place where art, music, agriculture and fried food combine, and this year has some new offerings, some brought back after a year off due to the pandemic and some favorites returning.

What's new or returning this year?

Several things. Courtney Hokanson, director of marketing and public relations with the fair shared some things to watch for:


Aside from the classic funnel cakes and other fried fair foods, this year food trucks from the region will also be bringing some new offerings.

  • Happi Lao Foods, an Iowa-based food truck, is bringing Laotian food
  • Rock n' Roll Tacos will have steak tacos and steak nachos, and
  • Another local vendor making an appearance is the Big Orange Food Truck from Harrisburg.

VIP Grandstand Tickets

For die-hard music fans – or just folks who want to be close to the action – the fair is bringing back VIP tickets to stand in the pit area just in front of the stage during grandstand performances.

With the exception of the Old Dominion show Aug. 5, which requires a separate ticket (some are still available, Hokanson said), people can pay $20 on top of their daily fair pass to get into the VIP section Aug. 7 through Aug. 14.


It was gone last year due to the pandemic, but bingo is back this year, Hokanson said.

Local news

Fair-goers can see a live TV news broadcast at the fair due to a new partnership with Dakota News Now. The station will broadcast from the fair during evening news shows several times throughout the week at the "Front Porch Entertainment" stage.

What else is worth checking out?


The full list of rides wasn't yet available, but Hokanson said there will be something for everyone.

"We always have them bring a variety: swings, Ferris wheel, more of the thriller rides," she said. "If you're wanting to spin, they have that, and they have the kids area again, as well."


As always, there will be livestock shows throughout the week, but there are also ways for families to connect with farm animals.

The Pipestone Discovery Barn will have piglets and calves being born, chicks hatching and lots of baby animals for people to see.

There's also a petting zoo and various activities throughout the week aimed at helping people understand where their food comes from.

What does it cost?

Fair admission is $10 for adults and kids ages 13 and up. Kids 6 to 12 are $5 and kids 5 and younger are free.

Grandstand entertainment is included with fair admission except for the Old Dominion show on Aug. 5.

The fair's "super pass" is available at Lewis Drug for $70 and includes admission, grandstand entertainment and rides for the duration of the fair.