SDSU recreates campus at Dakotafest



Courtesy SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences

The 16th Annual Dakotafest is set for August 16-18, 2011 at the Schlaffman Farm in Mitchell, S.D., and SDSU’s presence will be hard to miss thanks in part to a three-story inflatable replica of SDSU’s signature Coughlin Campanile


The campanile is just one piece of a simulated SDSU campus that was unveiled at the 2010 Dakotafest and will return in 2011. The recreated campus features a SDSU tent with nearly 60 exhibitors and five separate pavilions representing plant science, seed technology, animal science, rural health, politics and the SDSU bookstore with SDSU merchandise for sale.

“We are excited to partner with SDSU again this year at Dakotafest, and we have several activities planned,” says Ray Bianchi, farm show director for Cygnus Farm Shows which hosts the annual event.

“The SDSU campus format is very visibile and offers a great opportunity for SDSU to share its wealth of knowledge on agricultural research, Extension outreach, and the variety of curriculums offered to students,” Bianchi adds. Approximately 32,000 people visited the three-day event in Mitchell last year.

A fundraising auction to benefit the SDSU Cow-Calf Unit Expansion is also being planned for Thursday, Aug. 18, the final day of the show. In 2010, an impromptu auction came together during the last day of Dakotafest to raise money for the SDSU Cow-Calf Unit, and it was such a success the intention is to build upon that this year.

“The auction was planned in just a few hours last year with vendors donating livestock equipment and items they had at the show. All total, $3,200 was raised for SDSU. We will solicit donations well in advance this year – from ag products and services to trips – and hope to aid the University in raising significant funding for the Cow-Calf Unit,” Bianchi explains.

Information about iGrow, the innovative web portal launched by SDSU’s College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences this winter, will be available at SDSU exhibits throughout Dakotafest as well.

One of the things that hasn’t changed at Dakotfest is the commitment to delivering pertinent information to attendees. Throughout this year’s three-day event the SDSU pavilion will continue to host educational sessions- from coffee shop talks with Extension specialists each morning to forums on current industry and political topics.

“We are planning to have a panel to discuss the next generation of the Farm Bill, as well as a forum on the budget pressures to education and how that impacts K-12 and collegiate curriculums,” Bianchi says.