Pierre preparing for 56th inauguration

The 56th South Dakota Inaugural is on Saturday.
The 56th South Dakota Inaugural celebration is happening this Saturday, January 7th.
The 56th South Dakota Inaugural celebration is happening this Saturday, January 7th.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:52 AM MST
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PIERRE, S.D. - Every four years, Pierre treats the rest of South Dakota to an inauguration, and a peaceful transition of power.

“It is a great opportunity for there to be a transfer of power in our democratic system, and for us to celebrate that,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding. “New administration, new families, it is a great time for the city of Pierre.”

This year, every statewide elected official is officially an incumbent. Secretary of State Monae Johnson was the only person elected to their first term in November, but was appointed to the office early. New state lawmakers will also get to take the oath of office.

After the inauguration has ended, the night moves into the festivities, two different celebratory events.

“The Capitol Ball takes place right in the Capitol Rotunda, it has been going on for a long time and is a big deal for the inauguration,” said Ryan Sheldon, Media Coordinator for the event. “After that, we go into the Inaugural Ball which is held at the Ramkota River Center, also here in Pierre.”

It is a big deal for Pierre, and a unique chance to showcase the city. The “Inauguration Committee,” is made up of roughly forty members, all of which are volunteer. They are appointed by the Pierre Mayor to assist with planning. This year, they’ve made notable improvements to the event over years past. They have created an event website, are using e-tickets for the first time, and say they have been trying to put more information out more quickly than ever before.

The committee has been planning for months to get things just right, without using taxpayer dollars to put the event on.

“The Inaugural Committee has been planning the event for a few months now,” said Sheldon. “These people have been working hard for months, weeks, and now we are down to the kind of daily planning meetings and calls to make this event the best it can be. These are people from the Pierre community who like to be involved, and care about making this event as special as it can be.”

Dakota News Now will carry live coverage through South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) starting at 12 PM CST. Tickets are currently still available for purchase online to attend the events.