It’s late August, and that means more than back-to-school time on South Dakota’s Cheyenne River reservation. It’s time for the fair!
Each year on Labor Day weekend, Cheyenne River residents and visitors congregate in Eagle Butte for the annual Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Fair, Rodeo & Powwow. This year’s massive, community-wide celebration is scheduled for Friday, August 30 to Sunday, September 1, and the Cheyenne River Youth Project® is adding to the fun.
On Friday, CRYP will host a Rummage & Lunch Sale fundraiser, which will start at 9 a.m. and run until 2 p.m. Also at 9 a.m., it will open its weekly Leading Lady Farmers Market on its East Lincoln Street grounds. The market has booth space to accommodate 10 independent community vendors, and it will run until 4 p.m.
Fair-goers will have an opportunity to peruse the farmers market’s bountiful selection of naturally grown, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, homemade preserves, hand-crafted jewelry and artwork. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, the market is a great way to share fresh, nutritious, locally grown foods, to enjoy beautifully handmade arts and crafts, and to gather with friends and neighbors.
“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for our local growers and artists to earn a little extra income,” she added. “Each year, we’ve seen the fair bring so many people right past our front door as they travel to and from the various weekend events and activities, so we do expect to see a significant bump in foot traffic at this year’s Friday market.”
Set-up will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, and the $10 booth fee will be collected after close. Vendors who earn less than $10 in sales will have their booth fees waived; booth fees also will be waived for youth participants who wish to sell their produce, artwork or crafts. Community members who would like to be included in the Leading Lady Farmers Market can pick up registration forms at the CRYP office in the Cokata Wiconi teen center.
Then, on Saturday evening, August 31, the 25-year-old, not-for-profit organization will open the doors to its Cokata Wiconi teen center for a special fair installment of its seasonal Midnight Basketball program; the event starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m., and it’s open free to youth ages 13-19.
Finally, on Monday, September 2, staff and volunteers will unveil this year’s original CRYP float and take part in the Eagle Butte parade. The float has become a beloved community favorite, one eagerly anticipated by children of all ages.
“This is perhaps the biggest weekend of the year for Cheyenne River,” Garreau noted. “Not only does our entire community look forward to the fair for months and turn out in droves to enjoy it, the reservation also welcomes dancers, riders and visitors from around the country. So we want to make sure that CRYP can serve as a welcoming gathering place, and with all the fair activities going on, we’re also happy to provide a positive, safe place for our teens to socialize and play ball after what would normally be their curfew.”
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.