Celebrations of Oktoberfest In South Dakota

South Dakota, an expansive, sparsely populated midwestern U.S. state where rolling prairies give way to the dramatic Black Hills National Forest, offers a unique twist to the classic German celebration of Oktoberfest. This celebration throughout the state is a lively event, combining traditional Bavarian festivities with the spirit of the Wild West. With authentic Lederhosen and German dirndl and traditional German food, drinks, music, and entertainment, these events provide a flavor of Bavarian culture.

Locations of Oktoberfest South Dakota

Oktoberfest is a popular festival celebrating German heritage and culture. It's typically held in Munich, Germany, but many other places around the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations. South Dakota is one of those places that has several Oktoberfest events.

  • Deadwood Oktoberfest: 501 Main Street, Deadwood, SD, United States, South Dakota, USA
  • Hill City 1880 Train Oktoberfest: 222 Railroad Avenue, Hill City, SD 57745, USA
  • Aberdeen Oktoberfest: 1400 NW 8th Ave, Aberdeen, SD 57401, USA

Oktoberfest South Dakota History

While there are no exact dates on when Oktoberfest started in South Dakota, it's a well-established tradition in the present times. South Dakota has a rich German heritage, and Deadwood's Oktoberfest is a way to honor that.  German immigrants likely brought their traditions with them, and Oktoberfest festivities evolved as a way for the community to celebrate.

Some Major Oktoberfest Celebrations In South Dakota 

There are many Oktoberfest celebrations all over South Dakota every year during the Beerfest season, which is almost fall in the USA. These events are all fun and worth checking out!

Deadwood Oktoberfest, South Dakota

Deadwood's Oktoberfest coincides with the changing colors of fall foliage in the Black Hills. The cooler weather makes it ideal for enjoying outdoor festivities with German food, beer, and music. The event caters to all ages. Fun activities like wiener dog races, beer barrel games, and live music create a lively atmosphere.

Hill City 1880 Train Oktoberfest, South Dakota

The 1880 Train in Hill City, South Dakota, hosts an Oktoberfest Express Event annually in late September. It's a fun way to celebrate Bavarian culture while taking a scenic train ride through the Black Hills.

The festivities kick off before departure with snacks, beer, and yard games. Once on board, passengers are treated to authentic German food and seasonal beers, all while enjoying live polka music. The train departs from the Hill City station and takes a round-trip journey through the Black Hills, lasting about two hours.

Aberdeen Oktoberfest, South Dakota

Aberdeen Oktoberfest is an annual event held in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to celebrate the region's German and Russian heritage with Bavarian culture, music, dancing, food, beer, wine, activities, and dachshunds. The festival typically happens in mid-October, but the dates can vary yearly.

Date and Time of Oktoberfest South Dakota

Oktoberfest in South Dakota is held at different times and dates around the year, allowing its attendees to attend multiple Beerfest celebrations. All Oktoberfest events occur mainly in September or October, with a few exceptions.

  • Deadwood Oktoberfest: October(two day celebration)
  • Hill City 1880 Train Oktoberfest: September (one-day celebration)
  • Aberdeen Oktoberfest: October (one-day celebration)

Oktoberfest South Dakota Tickets & Reservations

There are a couple of ways to experience Oktoberfest in South Dakota, but ticket reservations will depend on your chosen event. 1880 Train Oktoberfest combines a scenic train ride through the Black Hills with German food, seasonal beers, and live polka music. You can purchase tickets directly on their website. Adult tickets are $69 and include food, beer, and a commemorative event item. Deadwood Oktoberfest has free entry, while Aberdeen Oktoberfest costs less than $10 for the entry fee. 

Dress Code for Oktoberfest South Dakota

While there likely isn't a strictly enforced dress code, Oktoberfest in South Dakota is a chance to celebrate Bavarian culture. Lederhosen Men(leather shorts), knee-high socks, and a button-down shirt are the classic choice. Suspenders and a hat with a feather can add a touch of flair.  If lederhosen isn't your style, a dirndl (traditional Bavarian dress) is sometimes worn by men for fun. Dirndls are the most popular choice.  They're typically colorful dresses with a bodice and skirt.  Knee-high socks and flats are common footwear.

South Dakota Oktoberfest Food and Drink

South Dakota Oktoberfest celebrations are the gateway to raise a glass and celebrate autumn. All the venues offer a delectable Oktoberfest menu:

Classic Savory Delights

  • Roasted Half Chicken (Wiesn Hendl) 
  •  Fluffy Potato Dumpling
  • Bratwurst 
  • Bavarian Sauerkraut.
  • German Potato Salad 
  • Pretzel 
  •  German Beer Cheese (Obatzda).


  • Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)
  • Black forest cake


  • Radler (a mix of Light Bavarian Lager and Sparkling Lemonade)
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Cocktails

Oktoberfest South Dakota Entertainment Options

Live German music, dance, a family-friendly environment, and contests are the reasons behind Oktoberfest South Dakota's lively spirit. This many entertainment options are provided to keep attendees of all ages entertained.

Music and Dance

Local bands take center stage throughout the events at different venues to entertain the audience with traditional German music. Some venues also host the special Bavarian dances that are part of the Oktoberfest tradition.

Family-Friendly Activities

Face paintings and inflatables are some of the most common entertainment options to keep kids busy, and carnival rides are also included for adults.

Contests and Competitions:

Wiener Dog Races are part of the Oktoberfest entertainment list wherever the beerfest is celebrated. Cheer on the adorable Dachshunds as they race for glory in the crowd-pleasing Wiener Dog Races. Another contest at Oktoberfest South Dakota is the Beer Barrel Games. The classic Beer Barrel Games tests strength and coordination in a fun competition for participants.

Tips For Making the Most of Oktoberfest South Dakota

  • Participate in fun activities, like the wiener dog races and the beer barrel rolling contest.
  • Bring your dancing shoes! There will be live polka music all weekend long.
  • Pace yourself - it's a marathon, not a sprint!
  • Plan your transportation, as parking can be limited.
  • Come hungry! There will be plenty of German food to enjoy.
  • Don't forget to try a stein of beer.
  • Dress in your best lederhosen or dirndl.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

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