South Dakota State Fair Foundation

Mission of the South Dakota State Fair Foundation

The mission of the South Dakota State Fair Foundation is to raise funds for the enhancement, preservation, and renovation of the South Dakota State Fairgrounds.

Through Fire, A Vision was Born
Discover the DEX: Dakota Events CompleX

'Discover the DEX' Overview 'Discover the DEX' Giving Levels

Pledge Form Donate Now

For 135 years, the South Dakota State Fair has been a place to celebrate youth and agriculture. Since the late 1970s, the Open Class Beef Complex has been a part of that celebration. It’s held many memories and has been an important part of the culture of the South Dakota State Fairgrounds.

On October 31, 2020, early Halloween morning, that all changed with a fire that destroyed the 96,000 square foot building.

Out of adversity comes opportunity. It is our generation’s time to bring this vision to life. Discover the DEX. Help us build the DEX: Dakota Events CompleX - the new multipurpose livestock and equestrian complex at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds.

Design the DEX
The DEX will feature:
•200,000 square foot, one-of-a-kind, livestock and equestrian facility that will set a new standard for hosting local and national events.
•7,000 seats will hold spectators from around the globe, as they witness events brought to South Dakota never thought possible.
•The capacity to host two full size equestrian arenas, larger livestock shows, concerts, auto thrill shows, and events throughout the year make this complex unmatched.

The footprint will encompass the area abandoned by the Beef Complex, that is scheduled to be demolished by February of 2021, and replace the 37,000 square foot Sheep Barn, that has long outlived its useful life.

For the annual South Dakota State Fair, the capacity is expected to be 2,000 head of show cattle. Open class and 4-H beef will call this new livestock facility home. A commitment will be made to work with sheep and goat exhibitors to improve and modify the existing 4-H Livestock Complex to make sure it is done right and meet their expectations as they move to this new home. This will allow for species specific barns across the grounds, a trend favored by exhibitors, and address livestock transportation safety issues on the fairgrounds.

Northwest view of the DEX: Dakota Events CompleX
Southwest corner of the DEX: Dakota Events CompleX

*Pictures are renderings and subject to change.

Vision Timeline
Demolition of the Open Class Beef Complex began in December, with project design efforts following in Spring 2021. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held during the 2021 fair and the DEX will be up and running in time for the 2022 State Fair.

Discover the DEX
The estimated cost of the DEX is $19 million. To pay for the project, Governor Noem is asking the legislature for $12 million in one-time funds. We are very grateful for Governor Noem’s support of the project. If you are a fan of the fair, please ask your legislators to support the funding package. The one-time funds, plus insurance payments from the fire leaves $4 million to be raised by the State Fair Foundation.

Donate to the DEX. It is a “big ask” but it is time for us to rally together and bring a pool of $4 million dollars, still needed to complete this vision. The task force, lead by the South Dakota State Fair Foundation, is asking for you to help us reach that mark now so we can meet the deadline of a Grand Opening at the 2022 South Dakota State Fair.

The South Dakota State Fair Foundation announced ‘Discover the DEX’ fundraising campaign to help fundraise the remaining $4 million dollars.

‘Discover the DEX’ Fundraising Campaign Press Release

Donate to the DEX
Support the ‘Discover the DEX’ Capital Campaign.

The ‘Discover the DEX’ campaign includes several donor opportunities for all donation levels including naming rights, donor wall recognition, and a livestock brand and name recognition display.  

To view the giving levels, click on the "'Discover the Dex' Giving Levels" button below.

'Discover the DEX' Overview 'Discover the DEX' Giving Levels

Donations may include gifts of:

  • Cash
  • Grain (contact your local elevator)
  • Livestock (contact the State Fair Foundation)
  • Tribute or memorial gifts
  • Retirement fund assets
  • Charitable trusts
  • Real estate
  • Matching gifts
  • Gifts in-kind (subject to approval by the South Dakota State Fair Foundation according to its gift acceptance policy

Pledge Form Donate Now

To make a pledge and for additional information about the project or questions about the ‘Discover the DEX’ campaign please contact:
Peggy Besch
South Dakota State Fairgrounds Manager
Email Peggy

Jim White – Huron
‘Discover the DEX’ Fundraising Committee Chair

The fundraising committee is made up of members from across the state:

  • Scott Cordts – Huron
  • Loren Noess – Sioux Falls
  • Preston Steele – Huron
  • Terry Schiltz – Huron
  • Dick Werner – Herreid
  • David McGirr - Huron
  • Brad McGirr – Huron
  • Steve Masat – Redfield
  • Dean & Judy Stevens – Huron
  • Kristi Effling - Highmore
  • Janet Heine – Fordyce, NE
  • Jeff Lakner - Wessington
  • Craig Schaunamann - Aberdeen
  • Brett Blasius – Wall
  • Barry Mack – Huron

Associate Members:

  • Hunter Roberts – Pierre
  • Sherman Gose – Huron
  • Gary Cammack – Union Center
  • Dusty Anderson – Yankton
  • Larry Gabriel – Phillip
  • Laurie Shelton – Huron
  • Larry Tiedeman - Brookings

Support the South Dakota State Fair Foundation

Commemorate a special person, treasured occasion, or your overwhelming love for the fair with a personalized bench or planter! Contact the State Fair office at (605) 353-7340 or via email today for more information.

Contact the Foundation