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Fort Sisseton: Where History Comes To Life


PIERRE, S.D. – Experience frontier life first-hand, June 6-8, at Fort Sisseton State Park in northeastern South Dakota.

"Everything at the festival is themed around history," said Katie Bogue, park manager. "Keep your eyes and ears open because history is happening all around you."

The Fort Sisseton Historical Festival started in 1978 as a way to promote the continued preservation and restoration of Fort Sisseton. After 30 years the festival continues to draw thousands of visitors to the park.

Fort Sisseton was a frontier army outpost from 1864 to 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 people who lived at the fort.

"Visitors to the festival will see military re-enactments, a rendezvous camp, black powder shoots, arena events, performers, demonstrators, vendors featuring hand-made arts and crafts and food," said Bogue. "Even if you’ve been to the festival before there is always something new to see."

New to the festival this year are traditional pipe makers and a Dutch oven cooking demonstration in the Living History Area. In addition, the Uffda Brothers will entertain visitors on the Dakota Stage Friday night.

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

The In Your Own Backyard series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight unique areas and attractions all across South Dakota. Click on the special "In Your Own Backyard" link at to access the complete list of articles.

The "In Your Own Backyard" series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.