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“Neutrino Day is our favorite day of the year at Sanford Lab,” said Constance Walter, communications director.
Constance Walter

On July 13, the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) once again hosts its citywide free science festival in Lead, South Dakota. Attendees are encouraged to start their Neutrino Day experience at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, 160 W. Main Street in Lead, but will find activities all along Main Street, including at the Lead/Deadwood Arts Center, the Historic Homestake Opera House and the All In One Events Center.

The festival includes hoistroom tours, science activities and exhibits, live video chats with scientists at CERN and underground at Sanford Lab, and perennial favorite “Science Steve” Rokusek. The lab is also proud to feature “The Case for Curiosity” with Cabot-Ann Christofferson and “The Legend of the Northern Lights” with astronomer José Francisco Salgado and the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra.  

“Neutrino Day is our favorite day of the year at Sanford Lab,” said Constance Walter, communications director. “It’s a great way for us to give back to our community and state, and there’s something for everyone. It’s just a lot of fun!”

The day begins at the Visitor Center, where visitors can sign up for a free Yates Hoistroom tour. The trolley will be used for hoistroom tours only, which begin at 8:30 a.m. Public parking is not available at Sanford Lab, so school buses will pick up visitors at the Visitor Center beginning at 8:45 a.m. and shuttle them to locations and events throughout the day. 

The Visitor Center will be a hub of activity. Through engaging demonstrations, visitors can explore rock formations and fire safety; scour the galaxy using a solar telescope; learn about electrical safety; and visit the hydration station. Inside, visitors can stay cool during an Education and Outreach demonstration, tune in to live video chats with scientists at CERN in Switzerland and underground at the 4850 Level or peruse the many exhibits on display. And while there, guests can stop at the Davis Ring to take selfies, then wander down to Manuel Brothers Park to learn about electricity and play LaCrosse.

At Sanford Lab, guests can see wild science demonstrations by South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s (SDPB) crowd favorite, Science Steve. Guests will also meet scientists who work underground, learn about current experiments, watch engaging science videos—including SDPB’s new documentary, “Space Age South Dakota”—and see a heavy equipment display.

Strolling down Lead’s Main Street, visitors will find plenty of activities from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Hands-on activities include fossil finding with the Journey Museum at the All In One Event Center and an art activity at the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center. 

Guests can also stop at the Historic Homestake Opera House for the “The Case for Curiosity” talk at 11 a.m. Cabot-Ann Christofferson, a researcher with the Majorana Demonstrator Project and a lecturer at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, will address advances that come from asking questions about how things work and explore reasons for humanity’s curiosity.

Finally, music and science collide with the Neutrino Day finale, “The Legend of the Northern Lights,” a performance that combines visual imagery and music to tell the story of one culture’s understanding of this magificent phenomena. Salgado will open the presentation with a brief discussion of the science behind the Northern Lights and the value of using art to help tell stories about science. The Black Hills Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Ensemble, along with two actors, will perform live as the film plays.

Volunteers will be stationed throughout Lead to assist visitors with any questions they may have.

“We couldn’t do this without our incredible volunteer force,” said Walter. “They run activities, talk about the science, direct people to different locations, clean hardhats—they really keep everything running smoothly.”

To kick off the event, SDPB's Innovations will host a live broadcast with the speakers from the 4850 Level on Friday, July 12, from 11 a.m. to noon. Additionally, you can hear Dr. Nigel Lockyer, director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, on Morning Fill Up at the Garage in Rapid City at 7 a.m.

A complete list of activities can be found at

For more information, contact Constance Walter, Sanford Lab communications director, at or by calling 605.722.4025

Major financial support for Neutrino Day comes from Black Hills Energy, the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Regional Health, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Mike Headley and Elizabeth Freer. Additional support comes from Black Hills State University, Haugo Broadcasting, Homeslice Media, KEVN, Keloland Media, Simpsons Printing, the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, the City of Lead, Mile Up Marketing, the All in One Event’s Center, Haggerty’s Music and more than 250 volunteers.

Sanford Lab is operated by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) with funding from the Department of Energy. Our mission is to advance compelling underground, multidisciplinary research in a safe work environment and to inspire and educate through science, technology, and engineering. Visit Sanford Lab at