Medora kicks off western-themed holiday festivities

From the creator of the touring show, A Magical Medora Christmas, Bill Sorensen brings the sounds of the season to Medora. Featuring past and present stars of Medora, A Magical Badlands Christmas is sure to share the spirit of the holidays in the beautiful North Dakota Badlands.

Medora will be the host for holiday events this weekend with "A Magical Badlands Christmas", gingerbread competition and more. (Dickinson Press File Photo)

Though the 25th Annual Cowboy Christmas was woefully cancelled due to health concerns, Medora will still be shining holiday spirit in the Badlands with a musical, gingerbread competition and 14 businesses in town ready to welcome guests at their leisure.

The decision to cancel the 25th Annual Cowboy Christmas — which is a highlight for the winter season and attracts people from across the nation — did not come lightly, said Secretary Anna Killian of the Medora Chamber of Commerce.

“Due to the pandemic, we just weren’t able to with a good conscience gather that many people together especially given the governor’s recent mandate for gatherings at 25% capacity or less. That just really handicapped us,” Killian said. “We weren’t able to stick to that ruling and still fulfill a meaningful event and we didn’t want to endanger anyone’s wellbeing in the name of Cowboy Christmas.”

However, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation will host “A Magical Badlands Christmas.” Though the show is already sold out for physical performances Dec. 4-5, 11-12 and 18-19, for the first-time ever, it will be available through livestream and on-demand platforms for folks to watch at the convenience of their homes.

This year’s theme will be “We Need Christmas.” The show will be livestreamed from the Old Town Hall Theater Dec. 12 in which purchasers will have access to watch either or both, live shows happening at 3 p.m. MDT and 7:30 p.m. MDT. A live recording of the Dec. 12 show will be available starting Dec. 13 for on-demand streaming and the link will be available for 48 hours. To purchase the livestream or on-demand link, visit


Produced by Bill Sorenson, who has been involved with the musical since the beginning, this year’s show will be a twist of the former traveling Christmas show that usually travels to 25 plus communities.

“This show has traveled for six years and entertained many wonderful crowds across four states. This year is no different, even though we are not traveling to greet thousands of friends of Medora in their own community it warms our hearts knowing we can still share the spirit of Christmas with families right in the comfort of their own homes,” Sorenson said in a press release.

The Chateau De Mores State Historic Site will host the 2nd Annual Gingerbread Competition Dec. 4-6, in which people can vote for their favorites on site or online at or by calling 701-623-4355. The winter will be announced at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6.

With decorative Christmas lights and a western breeze in the air, Medora is the holiday ticket for an enjoyable time, Killian said.

“Medora is wide open. We have gift shops; we have cafes; the restaurants in town are open; the national park is open… we have local pottery, handsome gifts, we have high-end things from Pendleton and we have all kinds of gifts across the spectrum,” she said, adding, “If you need to do Christmas shopping, Medora is the place to do it.”

The 25th Annual Cowboy Christmas will return, however, in 2021.

“We want to go big; we want to come back with a roar and show people just how fabulous Cowboy Christmas can really be,” Killian said.

Spruce up your cowboy boots and throw on that holiday sweater this weekend for a western kind of weekend in Medora.


Bill Sorenson will create a twist on his holiday musical with a livestream and on-demand viewing of "A Magical Badlands Christmas." As a show creator and entertainer legend, Sorenson is hoping to bring the holiday spirit into many homes this season. "We know people need Christmas more than ever this year. The cast features present and past stars of Medora who have worked hard to create a show full of heartwarming favorites that your family will love," Sorenson said in a press release.

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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