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(Last Updated On: October 9, 2020)

A small historic town nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Deadwood boomed during the gold rush and attracted famous Wild West figures like Wild Bill Hickok (who was actually killed there). Today the town is more well-known for being a gambling community. But beyond gambling, annual Deadwood SD events attract hoards of people looking to have a good time and let loose in the modern day Wild West.

For such a small town (with a population of ~1,300 people), the offering of annual events is quite large! But to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by all of the choices, this is a list of the top 10 can’t-miss Deadwood SD events.


Where to Stay in Deadwood SD

Old historic clock in the old west town of Deadwood, South Dakota

For a small town, Deadwood SD has plenty of accommodation options. Everything from standard hotel rooms, historic (yet remodeled) properties, whole Airbnb apartments, and more. Just be mindful of how close (or far) from the action you want to be, as public transportation options are limited.

Deadwood Airbnb Recommendations

Deadwood may be a small town in South Dakota, but the home share market is alive and well! For larger groups, or those simply hoping for more space than a traditional hotel room, check out these incredible Deadwood Airbnb options.

1. Stay in Deadwood’s only turn-of-the-century historic inn with included daily breakfast service
2. Dip your toes in the Wild Wild West with this rustic cabin feeling house walking distance to downtown Deadwood
3. Live in the lap of luxury (for a moment) at the historic 1895 Jacobs Penthouse in the heart of Deadwood
4. Get the best of both worlds at this two bedroom, two bathroom house: a quiet neighborhood walking distance to downtown
5. Enjoy plenty of space for a larger group at the Aggies 1895 Saloon & Brothel located on Main Street
6. Stay in a historic Victorian home at The Daning Main Floor Suite
7. Bring a crowd to this two-level Sundance Kid Suite that sleeps 8 adults comfortably

FREE MONEY
If you are new to the Airbnb world, you’re in for a treat…it’s a fantastic way to travel and save some money. Use my code to join and you receive $55 off your first trip! Then use the money you saved for fun activities during your Deadwood trip.

Deadwood Hotel Recommendations

There is no shortage of awesome hotels in Deadwood, either! You have your choice of more modern options, historically significant hotels, and everything in between. Some of my favorites in town include:

1. Stay at a resort overlooking historic Deadwood at the Deadwood Mountain Grand
2. Feel the history at Deadwood’s very first hotel, The Bullock Hotel
3. The Hotel by Gold Dust is centrally located and has been beautifully remodeled
4. If a reliable “big chain” brand is more your style, then check out the Deadwood Springhill Suites by Marriott
5. Staying at The Lodge at Deadwood Gaming Resort may make you feel like you never need to leave, but make sure and catch the trolley downtown
6. Sleeping at the Mineral Palace Hotel & Gaming will take you back to the beginnings of Deadwood’s early days


Amazing Annual Events in Deadwood SD

Deadwood Jam

Next dates: September 18th & 19th, 2020

Two male musicians play music onstage for a large crowd of onlookers down main street Deadwood
Photo by Deadwood.com/Brittany Schoenfelder

Deadwood Jam is a premier outdoor music festival that has been entertaining attendees in Deadwood for 30 years! And the best part about it? All the concerts are completely free of charge.

Prior lineups have included big-name bands like Styx, Blues Traveler, Everclear and Big Head Todd. As well as a smattering of local and regional favorites both new and old.

One thing is for sure, no matter the lineup, there’s nothing like listening to good music in the middle of Deadwood’s historic main street!

Hops & Hogs Craft Beer Festival

Next dates: September 25th & 26th, 2020 (rescheduled from May)

A man and woman behind a bar serving small plates of food
Photo by Deadwood.com/Brittany Schoenfelder

Craft beer lovers, rejoice! You’re sure to get your fill of bubbly, hoppy libations at Deadwood’s annual craft beer festival.

Attendees will receive a schedule designating participating locations and their designated hours for tastings. At each location on the schedule, you’re invited to enjoy an amazing craft beer with a pairing of bacon-centric dishes.

Does it get more American than a bacon and beer festival in the old Wild West?? I think not.

Oktoberfest

Next dates: October 2nd & 3rd, 2020

Deadwood SD events - A man dressed in German lederhosen runs while carrying a tray of beers
Photo by Deadwood.com/Brittany Schoenfelder

One of my personal favorite Deadwood SD events is their annual Oktoberfest celebrations! But this event goes far beyond simply drinking beer in your best German outfit.

Celebrating Oktoberfest in the Wild West includes live German music at the Polka Fest, free food and dancing. You can also “ooh” and “ahh” over the contestants looking to win big (in costumes no less!) at the Wiener Dog Races.

Or, grab your best mates and form a team for the Beer Barrel Games! This is an event you MUST NOT miss in Deadwood for Oktoberfest. Teams compete in games like stein hoisting, footlong wiener toss, and relay races (to name a few). All vying for top bragging rights and public glory among your peers.

PRO TIP
While certainly not required, Oktoberfest is way more fun when you’re donning Oktoberfest attire. Many dress up for this event in Deadwood whether it be traditional Oktoberfest lederhosen, or team shirts for the Beer Barrel Games!

Deadweird

Next dates: October 30th & 31st, 2020

Deadwood SD events - a group of friends pose in their Halloween costumes at Deadweird
Photo by Deadwood.com/Brittany Schoenfelder

Halloween is one of those annual celebrations where you’re sure to find a fun event in almost every town/city across the US. And Deadwood is no exception with their annual Deadweird celebration! But fair warning: people get REALLY into it here.

Halloween weekend in Deadwood includes free events like the Monster Ball, where attendees can dance the night away to amazing live music. And what Halloween celebration would be complete without a costume contest? Flex your costume chops and see if you can take home the event’s top prize!

Forks, Corks & Kegs

Next dates: November 6th & 7th, 2020 (rescheduled from April)

A large gathering of people in an indoor open space sampling craft beers
Photo by Deadwood.com/Brittany Schoenfelder

Do you consider yourself a foodie? Or a wine-o? Then you won’t want to miss Deadwood’s annual food, wine and beer festival!

Explore more of Deadwood as you move through the various tasting venues across town. With each location featuring a unique culinary creation and beverage pairing specifically for the event, you’re sure to discover something you love.

Then end the weekend on the highest of notes by attending the Grand Tasting at the Events Center. This grand finale houses dozens of choices from participating wineries, breweries, specialty vendors and more. The perfect way to cap off a culinary weekend in the Black Hills.

St. Patrick’s Day

Next dates: March 12th & 13th, 2021

Deadwood SD Events - an aerial view of a large group of st patrick's day attendees dressed in green
Photo by Deadwood.com/Hannah Bohlinger

Every year in March for St. Patrick’s Day, the historic main street of Deadwood SD is turned green. Filled with eager patrons ready to drink green beer and enjoy the annual event’s shenanigans.

The amazing lineup of activities include the Leprechaun Olympics, where you can compete in a host of games to try and win top prize. Or you can try your luck at the poker run. Or join a clan for the pub crawl and visit Deadwood establishments with your new friends.

Not feeling particularly lucky? Catch the parade down main street with a green beer in hand! No need to worry about open container laws for this event.

Just be aware…St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Deadwood SD gets a little wild, but #YOLO right??

PRO TIP
Like many of the annual Deadwood SD events, the local hotels can book up FAR in advance for St. Patrick’s Day weekend! Be sure and get your accommodations squared away ASAP if you want to attend.

Deadwood PBR

Next dates: June 2021

A bull rider hangs on to his bull while additional cowboys watch on
Photo by Libby Productions

In the Wild West, rodeo is king. And it doesn’t get more extreme or adrenaline pumping than watching professional bull riders do their thing in the arena.

When the PBR comes to Deadwood, you can expect to see the same top-notch bulls and bull riders that grace TVs across America. Single-day tickets are available, or you can purchase a package for the whole weekend.

And once you’ve gotten your fill of excitement at the Deadwood PBR, head back to historic main street for the amazing food, gaming and fun Deadwood has to offer any day of the week!

Wild Bill Days

Next dates: June 18th & 19th, 2021

A cowboy dressed musician sings on stage to a large group of onlookers in the street
Photo by Deadwood.com/Brittany Schoenfelder

Wild Bill Hickok was a well-known figure in Wild West history, and was famously shot and killed while playing poker in a saloon in none other than Deadwood, SD.

Each year to celebrate the life of the famous gunslinger, Deadwood hosts Wild Bill Days. For the celebrations, Deadwood’s historic main street is transformed into an outdoor music venue with live concerts all weekend long.

While the concerts may be the main draw, attendees can also enjoy a variety of events including the National Dock Dogs competition, gold panning, and a classic car auction.

Legends Ride

Next dates: August 9th, 2021

A man and woman ride a motorcycle covered in furs and antlers
Photo by Deadwood.com/Brittany Schoenfelder

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is about as big and well-known as they come. With historical Rally attendance around 500,000 people, the small town of Sturgis, SD can’t possibly contain them all.

A mere 20 minute drive from Sturgis, attendees can be close to the action while also enjoying the 24/7 nightlife and gaming Deadwood has to offer.

The main event in Deadwood during the Rally is the Legends Ride, which brings bikers together to raise money for local charities. Meet at the Franklin Hotel to hobnob with celebrities (no joke, they love this event!) and check out the custom motorcycle auction.

Then, join hundreds of fellow Legend Riders on a scenic ride through the Black Hills from Deadwood to Strugis. There, reconvene at the famous Buffalo Chip for a special riders-only reception with complimentary food, drinks and entertainment.

Kool Deadwood Nites

Next dates: August 26th to 29th, 2021

Classic cars and trucks line Deadwood's historic main street
Photo by Deadwood.com/Hannah Bohlinger

Kool Deadwood Nites has been entertaining classic car lovers in Deadwood for over 25 years!

During this four-day event, the Wild West takes a back seat to a 50s and 60s style sock hop. Where classic cars (1973 or older, please!) are pitted against one another in the car show, or auctioned off to the highest bidder in the classic car auction.

And in true Deadwood style, the fun doesn’t stop there. Head into Deadwood’s historic main street for an awesome lineup of free concerts featuring big names in America’s rock ‘n’ roll history.


Final Thoughts on Deadwood SD Events

Deadwood SD events - many people walk along Deadwood's historic main street
Photo by SD Tourism

Deadwood may be a small, historic town, but one thing they certainly do not lack is an emphasis on FUN. And if you haven’t made a visit yet…what are you waiting for??

Whether you visit any old time, or plan a trip around one of the amazing annual Deadwood SD events, you’re sure to have a blast!


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3 Comments

  1. Agnes March 7, 2020 at 9:36 am

    South Dakota is on our list for states we’ve yet to explore. Since I love all things old timey/Wild West-themed, Deadwood would fit the bill!

    1. Kara March 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      Yes it would! And there’s a lot to do and see around there. Mount Rushmore is only about an hour away. There’s wineries in the black hills. Beautiful area to explore!

  2. Olga Maria March 9, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Never knew a small town can be such a hip and happening place. I can’t wait to explore Deadwood when I get the chance!