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Fort Sisseton Historical Festival

early June – Sisseton, South Dakota

The 3-day Fort Sisseton Historical Festival celebrates South Dakota’s early frontier and settlers’ way of life.

An affordable and entertaining summer event, the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival in South Dakota is invaded with history.

Fort Sisseton was a frontier army outpost from 1864-1889. The site was ideal because it provided a strong natural defense, had an abundance of lime and clay to make bricks, fresh water for drinking, and a thick stand of trees for timber and fuel. The fort transports visitors back to the late 1800s to experience what life would have been like for the inhabitants.

Living history re-enactments take center stage during the festival. Cavalry troops and infantry units cover the fort's grounds to form a military encampment complete with soldiers, women and children, and all the necessary tents, uniforms and horses. There is also Calvary and Infantry demonstration drills. President Abraham Lincoln and Governor Arthur Calvin Mellette are featured in a live re-enactment.

Some of the other festivities include a Lonesome Rail Bluegrass Concert, Fiddler Nelson concert, melodramas, black powder shootings, an antique tractor pull, sidesaddle demonstration, a tomahawk throw, period dance instruction, and a frontier fashion show.

For visitors who are looking to get a taste of the old frontier there is a chuck wagon style cook-off, a military Dutch oven pie baking contest, and various food vendors on site.

Craft fairs, art gallery shows, and tours of historic buildings are available throughout the weekend.

Camping is available in Fort Sisseton during the festival. The price to camp is $20 per night. The campsite is equipped for both tenting and campers. The $20 also includes your admission to the day’s events. The admission fee without camping is $5 per person; children 11 and under are free.

The annual 3-day event draws more than 15,000 visitors and 200 camping units.

Whether you are camping at the festival or just taking in a day of events, the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival is the place to bring your family for some affordable fun.

For more information about the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival and a schedule of events, visit the Fort Sisseton Historical Festival website or call (605) 448-5474. Fort Sisseton is located 10 miles southwest of Lake City off Highway 10.

For other events in South Dakota take a look at:

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