Deadwood’s fall tourism is holding steady

“I think that a lot of people don’t realize our shoulder season, September and October, are getting bigger and bigger each year.”
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:05 PM MDT
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DEADWOOD, S.D. (KEVN) - The end of summer signals the traditional end of tourism in South Dakota. But Deadwood’s fall foot traffic has been on the rise, not just this year but over the last few.

“With coronavirus, we expected everything to be probably a little bit slower,” said Louie Lalonde, Saloon No. 10 co-owner. “The last few weeks have been good. I think that a lot of people don’t realize what we’ve seen over the past years is our shoulder season, September and October, are getting bigger and bigger each year.”

Increased fall tourism isn’t random or even completely COVID-related, the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce has been working to increase foot traffic in the last few years.

“During a lot of our chamber meetings, we discussed the need to increase the traffic in these off-seasons so all of these efforts that we’re doing with our marketing and our additional events, they’re helping," said Lee Harstad, Deadwood Chamber of Commerce director. "They’re definitely helping our businesses stay open longer throughout the year, extend their hours and get people into town to shop, to eat, to drink, and to gamble and that’s what we’re here for.”

Events like the Deadwood Jam are purposefully scheduled in the fall to bring in a different set of tourists.

“In making some comparisons," said Lalonde. "We have seen September be bigger than June and you would really think that it would be the opposite of that but the entire demographic changes as soon as school starts. This time of the year, people are older and or just married. We call them newlyweds or nearly deads and they are figuring out that this is a beautiful place to come this time of the year.”

Lalonde said the weekends have been busy.

“People have found their own comfort level in learning to travel in the middle of a pandemic and still enjoy themselves and feel safe," said Lalonde.

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