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THE PUPPET PLACE at the South Dakota State Fair


The women of the LWML South Dakota District assist the Utecht family each year at the South Dakota State Fair in spreading the Gospel message to Fair-goers.


Rev. Robert Utecht began this ministry 50 years ago, using wooden marionette puppets, cloth puppets, music, magic, juggling, balloon sculpturing and ventriloquism. What a fun way to share the Good News that God loves us, even in our sin, and sent Jesus to die for that sin, that we may one day have the promised gift of eternal life!


Rev. Andrew Utecht and family and Rev Peter Utecht and family have continued the ministry begun by their father, Pastor Bob.


Performances are held at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. each day. Volunteers don animal costumes to get the attention of Fair-goers, while members of the LWML SD invite them to come in, watch the show, and enjoy the air-conditioned room. After the show, hand puppets* and/or whistles for the youngsters and Bible studies for the adults are handed out.

2024 Zone Worker Schedule  — Worker Guidelines

NEW for 2024. The South Dakota State Fair has added an extra day, Wednesday, August 28.
Please note the update to the worker schedule.

Wednesday, August 28 — Brookings Zone

Thursday, August 29 — Chamberlain Zone

Friday, August 30 — Milbank Zone
Saturday, August 31 — Mitchell Zone
Sunday, September 1 — Pierre Zone
Monday, September 2 — Sioux Falls Zone
Set Up (Huron) and Clean Up — Huron Zone

Contact Jan Larson, Vice President of Gospel Outreach, for more information.
605-280-0862; email

* If you are interested in helping make the puppets that are given away after each show at the South Dakota State Fair, please contact Pat Huisman, the new Puppet Lady for the LWML SD District! Her phone number is 605-280-6317 and her email is She has the patterns and directions for making the pieces plus ordering information for the toddler mittens.  


Thank-you to those of you who helped make them at the LWML SD 2022 Convention! Pastor Utecht loved them and said that these will now be given out every year! We need at least 550 puppets for each year. 


Family of Rev. R.E. and Donna Utecht

Front row: Rev. Andrew and Lori, Isaac, Donna, Rev. Peter and daughter.

Amos and his wife Katie are on the left.
Ethan and his wife Justina are towards the middle with their three children. 
Justus and Rebecca and their child to the right of middle. 

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