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South Dakota State Fair eying new developments

A rendering of the DEX, one of two new buildings planned for the state fairgrounds
A rendering of the DEX, one of two new buildings planned for the state fairgrounds

It’s been a few eventful years at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Huron, and new construction projects aim to make the fair bigger.

Candi Briley is assistant manager of the State Fair. She said two new buildings, “The Shed” and “The DEX”, are replacing a single, now-destroyed facility.

“The DEX came about from a tragic fire that took out the open class beef barn on Halloween of 2020," Briley said. "With the fire brought us a great opportunity to build the DEX, and with the DEX, the open-class sheep barn came down – it came to the end of its life. So, really great and historic times here at the fairgrounds.”

The Shed replaces the old sheep barn.

“It will also serve as a multipurpose facility," Briley said. "It includes a show arena and an educational center – it’ll be a place for interactive learning so people can learn more about the sheep industry, different opportunities in agriculture, as well as South Dakota’s rich agricultural history.”

And the DEX, or Dakota Event Complex, will serve as an event center for the fairgrounds and community.

“That will be home to open class beef and 4-H beef during the State Fair. Outside of the fair it hosts a world of opportunities for different events of all sizes," Briley said. "It’ll be able to house two full-size rodeo arenas, we can house up to 1,700 cattle stalls, and it’s 150,000 square feet, so it’s a really great sized building.”

Organizers say this fall will be spent fundraising, with the design phase to begin in spring of 2024, and a formal groundbreaking at the 2024 State Fair.

Those interested in supporting the effort are encouraged to call the fairground offices at (605) 353-7340.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture