A lot has changed in Sioux Falls since I moved here in 1981. Back then 49th Street was the outer boundary of the southwest part of the city. Harrisburg, Tea, and Lennox were still miles away. Landscape Garden was referred to as "Landscape in the Country" because - it was!

Fast forward to the present and people who return to our city after some time away are stunned at the changes. Population estimates for the Sioux Falls metro area hover around 265,000 in 2021. In 1981 there were about 80,000 of us hanging out in town.

The growth of America's small towns is the very subject of Oscar-winning filmmakers Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan's new HBO feature documentary, "Our Towns". Sioux Falls is the first city in the country to screen the film for an audience.

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The film is based on a best-selling book written by the journalists James and Deborah Fallows, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. Sioux Falls is one of the eight towns profiled in the film.

The documentary will be shown at the historic State Theatre in downtown Sioux Falls at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, June 23 and tickets are free.

Following the film presentation, there will be a question and answer session with the filmmakers and book authors moderated by Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Ten Haken.

From 2011 to 2016 the Fallows traveled the U.S., exploring the changes occurring in small-town America. Then in 2018 Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan joined the Fallows to revisit 8 of those towns, including Sioux Falls.

In the film, you'll meet people from all walks of life, from educators to city leaders,  artists, students, and more. All who have strong connections to and opinions about their towns.

This is a fantastic opportunity to share a film that explores the power of local communities.- - Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Ten Haken

One reviewer for The Decider (a website that helps people decide which streaming content to watch) said,

After you watch "Our Towns", you'll think twice before ever again using the phrase "flyover country." - The Decider


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