FESTIVE ON THE FRONTIER South Dakota
The Mount Rushmore State’s charming holiday traditions could make its famous presidential faces crack a smile. History and natural beauty don’t hibernate in winter here—they just add more layers.
TREES AND TRIMMINGS
Deck the halls? Deck the falls! More than 25 miles of string lights illuminate the grounds around the cascading Big Sioux River during Winter Wonderland at Falls Park in Sioux Falls (November 16–January 6). In all, expect more than 350,000 LED lights, nearly 300 decorated trees and numerous festooned light poles during the free event in the heart of the state’s largest city.
Pierre has few peers among state capitals in decorating its statehouse for the holidays. For Christmas at the Capitol (November 20– December 26), the building displays more than 100 live trees beautifully decorated by South Dakota service groups, organizations and families. Tour the Capitol for free and watch for special music and events throughout the season.
Hill City’s 1880 Train should carry a Santa on Board sign in November and December, when it becomes the Holiday Express. Ride behind the vintage steam engine on a one-hour round-trip through the Black Hills to the “North Pole,” where you pick up Santa Claus and take him back to Hill City. Along the way, enjoy cocoa, cookies and a story. FYI, tickets sell out quick ($35 per adult, $16 per child, ages 2 and under are free).
Westward, ho-ho-ho! Frontier Christmas at Fort Sisseton State Park (December 8) lets you celebrate the season in 19thcentury pioneer style. Volunteers in period dress help with makeand-take crafts stations, plus there’s festive food, caroling and a visit from Father Christmas.
HOLIDAY EXPRESS, HILL CITY
WINTER WONDERLAND AT FALLS PARK, SIOUX FALLS