Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Hot and (potentially) stormy

ICYMI: I missed a link in Wednesday's issue! Apologies to those who got only half the halfway house story. Here's the full story.

This weekend, we checked in with the Levitt as it gears up for its fifth year of building community through music in Sioux Falls. You'll also get smart about how to celebrate Pride Month locally from Rachel Polan, and catch our weekly event guide. Oh, and don't miss a cute pic of wolf pups who were born a few weeks ago at the Great Plains Zoo.

And now, news:


Get smart about Pride Month with Rachel Polan

Rachel Polan is the marketing director for Sioux Falls Pride and has lived in Sioux Falls since 2015. They chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified about activities going on this month, ways to support LGBTQ+ people and the joy of picnics in the park.

Answers are edited for length and clarity.

Before we get smart about pride month let’s get smart about you. Tell us a little bit about your background and what ultimately led you to work with Sioux Falls Pride.

I'm a board member and the marketing director for Sioux Falls Pride.

  • I actually came to Sioux Falls Pride through a journalism internship at Augustana back in 2018. I decided to stay in Sioux Falls after graduation because of how connected I felt to the work I was (and still am) doing at SFP!

I'm also a member of the queer community, which is what drew me to their internship in the first place.

We are all about simplicity here. Can you summarize what pride month means to you in 10 words or less?

Pride is all about community. We're here to create safe spaces for everyone who needs them.

What’s something that’s most often misunderstood about the LGBTQ+ community in Sioux Falls? And is there anything you’d like to say to help correct that misunderstanding?

People tend to think that when someone comes out at gay or trans or any flavor of the queer community, their entire life revolves around that fact.

  • It really doesn't, queer people are just trying to live their lives the same as anyone else.

We're not trying to turn anyone gay, or change anyone else's gender. We're just trying to live a life that's fulfilling without getting attacked for something we can't change about ourselves.

What are some ways that people can participate in pride month locally?

Sioux Falls Pride is hosting many events throughout the month, including a Canaries baseball game, drag shows, a family friendly festival and drag celebration, and more! You can see all the events at siouxfallspride.org/pages/events.

See the full interview


How the Levitt is building community in its fifth year

Simplified: Levitt at the Falls is gearing up for its fifth summer of free concerts in downtown Sioux Falls. Ahead of opening weekend, here’s a look at how the Levitt has made an impact in that time and what's new this summer.

Why it matters

  • The Levitt provides free concerts in a variety of different music styles with the mission of building community through music. This summer, 50 free concerts are scheduled.
  • Downtown has also seen a significant economic impact from the Levitt. DTSF, Inc. President Joe Batcheller said downtown saw 40,000 more people visit last summer compared to 2018 before the levitt opened.
  • This year, the Levitt is ramping up its community partnerships through a number of different cultural events, including hosting the Festival of Cultures, the All My Relatives Music Festival and African Music Day.
"You know that feeling like when you’ve found the perfect gift for somebody you love, and it's the day before Christmas, and you can't wait for them to open it?" Executive Director Nancy Halverson said of the upcoming concert series. "That's how I feel."

Tell me more

Learn how the Levitt came to downtown and what's new this summer.


Super Simplified Stories

  • New city clerk announced. The City Council is set to approve the appointment of Jermery Washington as the new city clerk. Washington previously worked as city clerk in Box Elder, and he'll replace Tom Greco, who is now the Commission Administrative Officer for Minnehaha County.
  • Southeast Tech sets scholarship record. Southeast Technical College awarded 154 incoming freshmen full-ride Build Dakota scholarships, a record number of participants in the program. Gov. Kristi Noem will be in town today to help award these scholarships to students.
  • Chamber hires Sanford lobbyist. The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce has hired Mitch Rave as its vice president of public policy. Rave's previous job was as senior legislative affairs specialist for Sanford Health.
  • Drop everything and look at this puppy. The Great Plains Zoo welcomed six red wolf puppies – a critically endangered species. All of the pups, along with first-time parents Camelia and Uyosi, are healthy.


Get a fresh look at South Dakota history with this new book

This is a paid piece from the Augustana University Center for Western Studies.

Simplified: A new book gives the first novel-length look at South Dakota history in more than a decade, and it was published right here in Sioux Falls by the Augustana University Center for Western Studies (CWS).

Why it matters

  • The center released "Old Trails and New Roads in South Dakota History" late last month. The book is a collection of essays by 13 historians and authors, edited by historian Jon K. Lauck.
  • It's the first new book interpreting the state's history since 2005, when the center published "A New South Dakota History," edited by CWS Executive Director Harry Thompson.
  • The CWS has been publishing books about South Dakota and the Northern Plains since 1978.
"The Center for Western Studies has long been dedicated to preserving South Dakota's history, and we're so excited to bring these new perspectives from so many talented writers," said Kamryn Miller, education assistant at the CWS.

Tell me more about the book

Get the details (and find where to purchase) here.


Stuff to do: June 2-8

  • *Party like it's 1499. It's finally here! Check out the 22nd annual Siouxland Renaissance Festival. Experience the Renaissance era, viewed from Tudor England, in this family-friendly two-day event on June 3 and 4 at the W. H. Lyon Fairgrounds. More info and tickets available here.
  • Reading kick-off. Start your summer reading on Friday by signing up your kiddo for the Siouxland Libraries summer reading program. Locations will have scavenger hunts, coloring and more activities to celebrate. Details here.
  • Rock around the block. DTSF's June Eastbank Block Party is Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Stop by for music, food trucks and vendors. Details here.
  • Family game night. Join Sioux Falls Pride at Game Chest on Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a pride-themed family game night. Pick from available games or bring your own. Details here.
  • Dig up dinos. Head to the Washington Pavilion on Saturday for Dino Day and hands-on, dino-themed activities. Details here.
  • Summer strut. The Crook's Community Day parade is this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. No registration is needed, just show off your talents in the summer-themed parade. Route and more details here.
  • Get veggie with it. Check out the second annual Veg Fest starting at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Good Earth Farm near Lennox. Shop local vendors, learn about local sustainability-focused organizations and catch free classes on fermentation, building a sustainable wardrobe and yoga. Details here.

*Denotes a sponsored event.


What I'm falling for this weekend:

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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or invites to your grill-out to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.