What You Need to Know About the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival in Custer State Park

If you’re planning your vacation to South Dakota and looking for things to do near the Black Hills, you want to be aware of the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival. This annual event at Custer State Park is one of the most popular attractions in the area, and for good reason! Your whole family will love coming out to celebrate with the locals, and you’re sure to make tons of fun memories with the ones you love most. Here’s everything you need to know about Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park, located near our cabin rentals in Keystone.

buffalo roaming the fields of custer state park

Buffalo Roundup

Buffalo Roundup takes place every fall and draws crowds from miles around. Come out and feel the thunder as cowboys, cowgirls, and park rangers round up and drive a herd of 1,300 buffalo! After the Roundup, be sure to stick around for the 3-day Arts Festival, where you can meet more than 150 vendors offering their arts and crafts for sale. There are also tons of events happening every day, so you can visit each day of the festival to experience something new!

Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival

In 2020, the Buffalo Roundup itself is scheduled for Friday, September 25th. The Arts and Crafts Festival will take place from Thursday the 26th until Saturday the 28th. On Thursday, come out for a welcome ceremony at 10 a.m., then experience hoop dancing with Kevin Locke, learn about Custer State Park bison history, and listen to Colin Patterson tell you a little about the geology of Black Hills, SD.

On Friday, acts under the big top include Kimberly Kay and Greg Hansen and The Backroads. At the education tent, you can learn about stagecoaches in Custer State Park from Rick Cohn, or listen to Daryl No Heart talk about Lakota culture and traditions. Be sure to stick around until 4 p.m. for the barbecue cook-off!

guitar player

The final day of the festival brings much with it as well. Head over early to experience the Pancake Feed from 8 to 10 a.m. Go under the big top for acts like Buffalo Grass, Cambria String Band, and Black Hills In Motion Cloggers. At the education tent, a Cowboy Church service will be held at 9, then you can stick around throughout the day to experience the Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra, learn about the State Railroad Museum from Rick Mills, or hear about the Civilian Conservation Corps from Jay Hendrickson and Peggy Sanders.

All throughout the weekend, you’ll have access to the incredible vendors of the area. You can visit with the local artisans and crafters to pick up a unique souvenir and support the incredible work of local South Dakota residents.

What You Need to Know

For the Buffalo Roundup, be sure to bring your folding chairs, cameras, rain gear, and sunscreen. Determine which viewing area you will be going to ahead of time, as all vehicles will depart the way they entered. Your viewing area will determine if you park in the north or south parking lot.

 As far as the festival, hours are as follows:

  • Thursday: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; BBQ cook-off from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

You’ll also have access to the Custer State Park Visitor Center (8 a.m. until 5 p.m.), Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center (9 a.m. until 4 p.m.), and the Wildlife Station Visitor Center (8 a.m. until 4 p.m.).

Where to Stay

If you’re wondering where you should stay, the most convenient place will be our Keystone cabin rentals. We have accommodations for any size group on any budget, so you can truly personalize your experience. Ready to spend your getaway in the Black Hills of South Dakota? Contact us today to start planning!