Economic impact of potential Mt. Rushmore fireworks show could be even greater than last year

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – Governor Kristi Noem sent a letter to the South Dakota congressional delegation asking for their support to continue a Fourth of July fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.

The tourism industry and economy of the Black Hills saw a boost from last year’s display, which included a visit from former President Donald Trump.

Governor Noem says visitors spent $2,000,000 during the 2020 Mount Rushmore Fireworks display. This resulted in $160,000 in tax revenue for state and local governments.

Michelle Thompson, president of Black Hills & Badlands Tourism, said that the fireworks show and visit by former President Trump provided a much-needed boost for Black Hills tourism in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and is optimistic that this year would be even better.

“We think that this could be a much bigger year with the pandemic not as serious as it was last July,” Thompson said. “We can have bigger crowds. We’re really looking forward to drawing more people into the area.”

Thompson said that the fireworks were a great advertisement for the Black Hills, and was happy that so many people saw the display, not only in person but also by watching the fireworks on television throughout the country.

She said that this has generated interest in people who have never been to the Black Hills before.

“Last year, when the fireworks were announced, we immediately started getting phone calls from people who had not been here before and said that we were on their bucket list, and the Mount Rushmore fireworks were why they wanted to come here,” Thompson said. “So, it’s a fantastic event for this area.”

Thompson said that she hopes, along with Noem, that the fireworks will continue well into the future.

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