The 605 team packed our gear and headed to Yankton for this year’s annual road trip in August. Ever since I went to college in Vermillion, I’ve wanted to attend the Yankton Riverboat Days & Summer Arts Festival. The family-friendly event is three days of over 120 fine artists and craftsmen vendors, great food, a parade, music, and draws over 100,000 people every year.
My wish came true, as we attended the 38th Annual Yankton Riverboat Days and also got to explore the town and its unique offerings.
As we pulled into Yankton, our stomachs were rumbling. We arrived at River’s Edge, which has gorgeous views of the Missouri River on the patio and a wide range of high-quality menu items, like Bruschetta, Mussels, Rosemary Garlic Ribeye, and Citrus Dill Glazed Salmon.
Owner Brittany Trimble Wagner greeted us with a table full of food and drinks to sample. The restaurant is also a venue for events, including weddings. River’s Edge has items for different palates, including a casual Cuban and a Steak & Bleu Pasta. If you save room for dessert, there are options like Whiskey Pudding and Lemon Amaretto Tiramisu.
Getting to the Station
Ben’s Brewing Co. has been a Yankton staple for over a decade with a downtown location that includes the Copper Room speakeasy upstairs. Outgrowing the space, owner Ben Hanten found a 28,500-square-foot building to become the brewing headquarters with a 248-person capacity and 28 beers on tap.
With pinball machines and a modern warehouse vibe, the newest addition, Ben’s Brew Station, has already turned into a community hangout. You can grab everything from a West Side Park IPA to a limited release like Wakonda. On the go? Grab cans, a crowler, or a growler.
Keep it Going
Because we needed more local craft beer in our lives, we headed over to the Backspace Brewing Co. taproom. The brewery was named after the idea of “deleting boring beer.” The beer selection includes C-Squared Pale Ale and Maple Pecan Blonde Ale.
Sip on McCall’s Gunpowder Nitro and attend an event, like the May 20 Yuya Mix Last Man on the Moon EP release show at 7 p.m. with Windy City Bites. The two-floor modern warehouse has a mezzanine for around 30-40 people and has been used for events like corporate presentations and NFL draft parties.
605’s Taylor Hanson and I met the “dishwasher” who was a grandmother of co-owner Tyler Schindler. “They pay me in beer,” she laughed, as she cracked each of us open her “secret stash” of Coors Light. The crew lovingly calls her “Mama Suzie,” and I could have probably hung out with her all night.
It was time to figure out where we would lay our heads later that night. We drove to Lewis & Clark Resort, which has everything from traditional campsites to cabins and motel rooms. Our team was lucky enough to stay at The Lodge, which is a 4,000-square-foot building designed for family events, weddings, or corporate retreats. It features a gathering room that is 1,800 square feet, a large kitchen, six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and can sleep up to 28.
The waterfront view was breathtaking when we walked out back to the picnic tables and campfire area. This house is perfect for a family or friend reunion, and I definitely will stay there again.
After stocking our fridge and unpacking, we were eager to get to the next location: Black Orchid Drinkstillery.
Time to Pregame
With options like the Tequila Sunrise and Beulini, we knew we were in good hands. The “drinkstillery” is also known for its House Bloody Mary, which is “wasabically delicious.”
Hungry? Try the house-made Spiced Pretzels or Italian Tomato Fatbread. Now that it’s nice out, enjoy the outdoor patio with dueling fire pits.
It was finally time to head to Yankton Riverfest & Summer Arts Festival. The smells of corn dogs and funnel cakes alone got us in the mood as we meandered around all of the tents at Riverside Park. There was something for everyone with fair-like rides, bouncy houses, and a beverage and food shelter. We stopped by the amphitheater to watch a musical group, Omaha Street Percussion, that reminded me of Stomp.
After bobbing my head to the beat, we bought some South Dakota prints from a local vendor and grabbed some grub. Then it was time for beer.
Cracking a cold one, we caught up with people we knew and got ready for the Jo Dee Messina concert. Taylor was mesmerized by nostalgia with songs ByeBye and Heads Carolina, Tails California, and we basically had to drag her to go catch the fireworks.
I will say that the fireworks over the Missouri River was definitely a memory I won’t forget. The epic show exploded, and the colors reflected off of the water by the Meridian Bridge. Kids were on parents’ shoulders, and thousands of us were in awe of the impressive display. We had a spot on the dock, and it seemed surreal to see how beautiful it was.
Pack Up Parade
Let’s just say we didn’t go to bed early. 605’s John Snyder and Taylor stayed up with a bonfire well into the morning. I was smart and fell asleep not too long after our return to The Lodge.
As we got our lives together, we checked out of the Lewis & Clark Resort and headed downtown to the parade.
Worried the drums would give me a migraine, I was thrilled that it was the opposite. We sat on the patio of the Black Orchid and automatically got a high from the energy of the participants (I might have fan-girled over Charlie the Coyote).
A man with an Irish accent had his black poodle on his lap next to us and jokingly said, “We’re going to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone,” as we shot photos of the celebration. All spirits were high, and it was a shame that we had to leave. After one more walk through of the art (and several purchases later), we headed for lunch.
BRO BRGR BAR:
Not feeling burgers? Try the Chipotle Chicken Brgr.
What’s Up, Bro?
Starving, we arrived at Bro Brgr Bar downtown. The restaurant that wants to treat everyone with “brotherly love” has made a name for itself for craft burgers, like the Downtown Brgr with chipotle, cream cheese, bacon, American cheese, fried egg, onions, lettuce, pickle, and tomato. Owner Ramiro Nino also does specials, like The Bayou Brgr, which has ingredients like andouille sausage and cajun remoulade sauce with angus beef.
Barely talking from the food coma and our self-induced coma from the night before, we wrapped up and headed home. The trip was short, but sweet.