Welcome to Prairie Village, a living museum of the past!
**COVID-19 notice: All cancellations or postponements of Prairie Village events or start dates due to the virus situation will be posted here.
**We regret to announce that our 2020 Steam Threshing Jamboree at Prairie Village scheduled for August 27 – 30 has been canceled. Many weeks of fact-gathering, lengthy personal conversations, and event study went into this incredibly difficult decision. Multiple complicating factors played a role, but chief among them were: 1. The well-being of our staff and volunteers, 2. Extended personnel and processes needed to provide basic virus accommodations, 3. Many of our typical offerings simply would not have been available this year, 4. Significant numbers of exhibitors, vendors, and performers reported they would not be coming, and 5. Several key event volunteers reported high risk factors for themselves, their family, or their clients – causing them to understandably need to bow out this year. People who prepaid for Jamboree camping or vending can expect to receive communication from us regarding options for a refund or carry-over to 2021. All Jamboree campers who were offered a site this year – even if not yet paid – will be allowed an option to keep their 2020 site for 2021 (again, we’ll be in touch with you). For those wondering what will happen to the John Deere feature we had planned for this year, be assured it will not be skipped over. We already have plans in place for International Harvester to be our 2021 feature, and John Deere will follow as our Jamboree feature the very next year – in 2022. We plan to continue to offer camping and historic village visits here at Prairie Village throughout the summer – with current adjustments in place – as well as some fun additions currently being developed. We appreciate your continued support as we work to preserve, promote, and educate regarding the history of the South Dakota prairie pioneer!
**Prairie Village is now open for public camping and historic village visitation 7 days/week. Visitors familiar with Prairie Village will see temporary differences from our usual operations, such as rides not being offered on our railroad and historic carousel. When touring our historic buildings, only one individual, couple, or family will be allowed inside at one time, and no person under age 16 will be permitted inside unless accompanied by their parent or guardian. We are working hard to provide a setting which will allow individuals and families an opportunity to be outdoors and enjoy Prairie Village while adhering to CDC and State recommendations regarding the virus in terms of customer interactions and disinfecting, as well as social distancing and several other guidelines related to personal responsibility on the part of all visitors. Thank you in advance for your responsible cooperation!
**Prairie Village regular season camping reservations can be made either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 605-480-2633. All reservations are subject to change or cancellation in the event of unexpected changes in COVID-19 spread or containment recommendations.
**Additional event cancellations include: Our summer concert series, Railroad Day, variety show, and car show. The traditional Pumpkin Train will not be held in October, but a limited pumpkin picking event is being considered.
Located 2 miles west of Madison, South Dakota on the shores of Lake Herman and situated on 120 acres, Prairie Village features more than 40 antique-filled buildings, reliving the days of an active turn-of-the-century main street. Visit the Lawrence Welk Opera House, a rare operating steam carousel, sod and log houses, country school, churches and one of the last remaining chapel railroad cars, the “Emmanuel”, and much more. Hours of operation and admission.
Please be aware that historic building access, carousel rides and train rides can be affected by inclement weather. Guests are encouraged to call ahead with weather-related questions.
Link to: Early History of Prairie Village
Visit our gift shop, where you can purchase drinks and snacks along with souvenirs from your visit. We also offer a large covered picnic shelter with connected kitchen facilities which can be rented for family reunions, business picnics or other group gatherings. Church services are held every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. from June through August at the village’s Junius Church.
For grounds layout see the: Map of Grounds and Building Descriptions. Free but limited WiFi access is available near the gift shop and just north of the carousel (not available in most camp sites).
Give a click and follow Historic Prairie Village on Facebook.
We will be open daily from Sunday, May 3 through Labor Day 2020, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Final Village admission is at 4:00 p.m. daily. (For additional information, see Hours & Admission page) We offer camping typically from Opening Day in May into October (closing is weather dependent) with over 300 electrical sites available, two shower houses and an RV dump station on the grounds.
Pets are welcome at Prairie Village but must be on a leash and kept under control at all times. Pets (except for official service animals) are not allowed in buildings, and owners must pick up after their pet. All appropriate immunizations must be current and documented.
Smoking is not allowed inside or within 25 feet of buildings, the carousel, and railroad equipment. Fireworks of all kinds are prohibited on Prairie Village property. Drone flying is prohibited unless specifically approved by management.
The village is surrounded by 2 miles of railroad track for the Prairie Village, Herman & Milwaukee Railroad. Buy a ticket to ride one of our trains, which run every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. during our regular season (dates shown above), as well as on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Railroad Day, during the Steam Threshing Jamboree and by special arrangement for groups. Train ride ticket prices: adult and child $4, age 3 and under free, family train pass $15 (up to 5 family members), group of 15 or more $3 per person. Free train rides for mothers on Mother’s Day and fathers on Father’s Day at 2:00 p.m. Check out one of America’s newest turntables and roundhouse in action.
Ride one of the world’s last remaining steam-powered carousels. Operating daily during the regular season (dates shown above), the 100-plus year old Herschell Spillman steam carousel features hand-carved horses prancing to the tune of great calliope music. Rides costing only $2 per person are available on the hour from 11:00 to 4:00 Monday through Saturday and noon to 4:00 on Sundays.
Over the years, thousands upon thousands of elementary school children have come to Prairie Village on “school tours” in May and early June to have fun while gaining knowledge and appreciation for how rural citizens lived in eastern South Dakota many years ago.
We conduct numerous events throughout the season (Schedule of Events). On August 27, 28, 29, & 30, 2020 the 58th Annual Steam Threshing Jamboree will be held, featuring John Deere. Plan now to attend what promises to be a huge event. The Jamboree features parades, a large flea market, hundreds of antique tractors, antique car show, horse & steam powered threshing, saw mill & machinery demonstrations, tractor pulls, wagon trains, railroad roundhouse and turntable demonstrations, train & carousel rides, evening dinner train (by reservation), musical entertainment, exhibits, food and family fun.
For information on being a 2020 Jamboree food vendor or flea market vendor click here.
We offer Prairie Historical Society Associate Memberships and Season Passes. Season passes provide big money savings. Click Here
The continued dynamic progression of Prairie Village is the result of extensive volunteerism. Find out more by going to the Volunteer’s Page. Many of the dedicated volunteers are among the over 400 members of the Prairie Historical Society. The requirements to become a PHS member are 100 hours of volunteer service at Prairie Village, OR at least 3 consecutive years as an exhibitor, OR a $500 cash contribution.
The Prairie Historical Society (Prairie Village) is a non-profit corporation and is organized for the charitable, educational, and scientific purposes within the 501(c)(3) section of the IRS code. Gifts and donations to the Prairie Historical Society are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. Feel free to contact us for further information.