Category Archives: Events

15 Holiday Events in Western Montana: A Big Sky Country Christmas

We always talk about how much we love winter, and it’s the truth. It’s also true that we love the festive holiday frolic the season brings. In Western Montana’s Glacier Country, we really know how to deck the halls and celebrate the season of giving with all things merry and bright.

So without further ado, here’s a look at Western Montana’s must-see happenings this holiday season.

Deck the halls! Whitefish, Montana showing off its western holiday spirit. PHOTO: Brian Schott.

Santa at Missoula’s Southgate Mall + Holiday Performances
Capture the magic of the season at Southgate Mall, the region’s largest shopping center, with a Santa visit and photos, as well as a gingerbread house contest display and holiday performances. For a complete rundown of holiday happenings at the mall, visit shopsouthgate.com. New this year: Holiday Hustle for Him on Wednesday, December 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Christmas at Kalispell’s Conrad Mansion Museum
November 24 – December 31
The home of one of Kalispell’s founders, Charles Conrad, gets completely decked out in seasonal splendor, and the mansion offers tours Fridays and Saturdays during the holiday season at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m

Old-Fashioned Forest Service Christmas at the National Museum of Forest Service History, Missoula
November 25, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Join Santa Claus and his pack mule team, plus Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl, for Christmas stories and songs around the campfire, a candy cane hunt, holiday shopping at the Bungalow Ranger Station, plus Bill Moore’s book, “The Lochsa Story,” his documentary, “Bud’s Place,” and a book signing with author Vicky MacLean.

Carriage Rides in Downtown Missoula
Saturdays and Sundays November 25 – December 17, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Take a break from the holiday hustle for a festive horse-drawn carriage ride in downtown Missoula. The Resort at Paws Up brings two of their beloved horses to town for free carriage rides. Make your way to Missoula’s East Pine Street and hop in.

Enjoy a festive carriage ride through downtown Missoula. PHOTO: Taylar Robbins

Polson Parade of Lights
December 1, 6 p.m.
Get festive in the Flathead Valley and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season with Santa, a bonfire, food vendors and a parade. Downtown Polson shops stay open late so you can start checking names off your gift list.

Lantern Tours at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula
December 1 – 3, 5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula offers guided lantern tours providing a look into past winters (complete with plenty of Christmas moments) and ends with cocoa and cookies. Book early! Call 406.728.3476 (extension 1) to purchase tickets.

Whitefish Christmas Stroll
December 8, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The quintessential mountain resort town of Whitefish decks its halls and kicks off the holiday season with a downtown Christmas Stroll featuring concerts, a tree-lighting ceremony, Santa, and wagon rides from Bar W Guest Ranch.

A Christmas carol before your eyes—chestnuts roasting on an open fire in Whitefish, Montana  PHOTO: Peter Siudara

Christmas Light Trolley Tours in Kalispell
December 8 – 31
Hop aboard a cozy trolley and set out to view the holiday lights in Kalispell with Montana Trolley Co. Click here for specific times and additional info.

Christmas in Bigfork
Located on the bay of Flathead Lake, the quaint (and beyond adorable) community of Bigfork goes all out for Christmas. Two days to note: Saturday, December 9 and Saturday, December 16. On those days, Santa comes to Bigfork, along with carolers and free live music dowtown, and the Bigfork Playhouse Children’s Theatre presents “White Christmas.”

Not many places celebrate Christmas quite like Bigfork, Montana. PHOTO: Bigfork Chamber of Commerce

Dolce Canto’s Light, Beauty, Peace at the Historic St. Ignatius Mission
December 10, 7 p.m.
One of the most beautiful churches in the state, the St. Ignatius Mission hosts Missoula’s a cappella (though sometimes accompanied) choir, Dolce Canto, for a holiday concert encouraging listeners to meditate on the notion of hope this holiday season.

Handel’s Messiah with Glacier Symphony + Chorale
December 15 – 17, 7:30 p.m.
A popular holiday tradition, the Glacier Symphony and Chorale performs Handel’s Messiah in Bigfork, Whitefish and Kalispell.

The Nutcracker in Missoula
December 15 – 17
A beloved holiday tradition, Montana’s Garden City Ballet performs “The Nutcracker.” Check specific times here for this treasured Missoula community event.

The grace and tradition of Missoula’s Nutcracker performance will be the highlight of your holiday season. PHOTO: Neil Chaput de Saintonge

Community Christmas Party
December 16, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Hamilton’s historic Daly Mansion hosts a Community Christmas Party complete with a visit from Santa and activities for the whole family.

Yuletide Affair 14 at Alpine Theatre Project
December 21-23, 7 p.m.
This sellout show stages once again at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center with a mix of holiday music, Broadway-caliber performances and hilarious satire. You can snag tickets here.

Whitefish’s Yuletide Affair is the perfect combination of comedy and winter cheer. PHOTO: Brenda Ahearn

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at Whitefish Mountain Resort
December 24
A Christmas Eve tradition, Santa visits the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort, leads a torchlight parade on snow-covered Big Mountain, and gives out gifts at Ed & Mully’s after the parade (so hopefully you’ve been good this year).

You can also check out a full listing of holiday events at glaciermt.com/events.php.

May your days be merry and bright! (If you’re in Montana, all of your Christmases will probably be white, too. We just can’t help ourselves.)

 

 

 

Fall Family Fun: Montana’s Harvest Traditions + Halloween Happenings

Pumpkin patch in Missoula. PHOTO: Destination Missoula

Western Montana’s golden fall foliage set against our signature big blue sky is enough to make autumn a lovely time to visit Glacier Country. Add to that our strong heritage of local harvest traditions and Halloween happenings, and the season becomes downright fun. Family activities abound this time of year, and we’re here to give you an insider’s guide to some of our best—and spookiest—festivities. So grab that pumpkin spice latte you’ve been waiting all year for (and perhaps a handful of candy corn) and give in to your craving for all things autumn. Oh, and don’t forget your costume.

Family Fall Fest: Missoula

October 21, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m.

Fall frolic happens at the Fort. Fort Missoula Regional Park, that is. The Fort’s classic Family Fall Fest has everything you’d expect—a costume parade, apple cider pressed on site, hayrides, pumpkin and face painting, games, sack races, and…a giant pile of leaves. Jump into fall in Montana at this fun family festival. Plus, it’s free. (A suggested $1 donation supports the Fort’s scholarship fund.)

Haunted Hayrides: Hamilton

October 27 – 28, 2017, 7 – 10 p.m.

What’s fall without a hayride and Halloween without haunting? Head to the historic Daly Mansion in Hamilton for both of these things—haunted hayrides. Ghouls, ghosts and goblins wander the mansion grounds. Witness a zombie wedding, scary clowns and a hillbilly village. Bonus: The Bitterroot Valley is absolutely stunning this time of year, so add a leaf-peeping scenic drive onto either end of your hayride, whether you stick to Highway 93 or turn off into one of the Bitterroot’s scenic canyons to pull over and take a golden fall hike (costumes optional, hiking shoes recommended).

Hamilton’s Daly Mansion. PHOTO: Destination Missoula

Field of Screams: Victor

Open through October 31 (see website for days/times)

Hailed as “Western Montana’s #1 Haunted Attraction” Victor’s Field of Screams is exactly what it sounds like it is. Daytime fun turns into nighttime terror. Bring your little goblins by during the daylight hours for wagon rides, a hay bale tower and cornfield fun without the spooks. But when the sun goes down the zombies come out, and it’s time for the big kids to play. Field of Screams is not for the faint of heart. Thrills and chills abound.

Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch: Kalispell

Open through October 31, 2017, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Picking out a pumpkin is part of the magic of the season, and building a day of autumn adventure around it makes it all the more special. Head to the breathtaking (especially this time of year) Flathead Valley and make fall farm memories at the family-run Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch, with activities like a giant jumping pillow and a huge construction site sand box, plus tractor tours, farm animals and train rides. Jump in the corn kernel shed, hang out by the plum trees, and savor the season with caramel apples, kettle corn and hot chocolate. Oh, and don’t forget to pick out a pumpkin!

Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch. PHOTO: Sweet Pickin’s

Festival of the Dead

November 2, 2017, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Inspired by the traditions of the Mexican holiday El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Missoula’s unique and popular annual Festival of the Dead is a multicultural family-friendly event celebrating life and death through community arts. The festival culminates with a procession, which begins at the north end of downtown Missoula’s Higgins Avenue and processes to Caras Park, with post-procession performances by the University of Montana’s African Dance Class and Unity Dance and Drum.

Harvest Wrap-Up: Glacier Country’s rich autumn traditions are the perfect way to take in fall in Montana. Do note: It’s the season of favorite flannels and cozy sweaters, but be prepared for any kind of weather this time of year.

For more fall fun, visit our Fall in Montana page, where we’ve compiled a list of autumn activity ideas and events in our little corner of Big Sky Country. Be in the know about all the finest fall happenings, and also learn where to hike, bike, float, fish, golf and camp—all the obvious things we love about Montana—among the vibrant fall colors. We’ll also help you find the best local spots to kick back and relax with some of Montana’s favorite fall flavors (think pumpkin ice cream) and tastiest seasonal brews. There’s something for every member of the family to enjoy in a Montana autumn, plus shoulder-season pricing.

Warren Miller Can’t Get Enough Epic Montana Powder

It’s no secret that winter in Western Montana is pretty extraordinary. With over 300 inches of snow every year and thousands of acres of awe-inspiring terrain, including six downhill ski areas, it’s most certainly a winter travel destination. But, it’s not just that. It’s a sought-after winter playground for adrenaline seekers and backcountry explorers in search of powder paradise. When you experience a Glacier Country winter, you find the heavenly helpings of snow we’re talking about, and if there’s anyone who knows where to go for the “epic pow,” it’s Warren Miller. For the second year in a row, Warren Miller Entertainment has journeyed right here to Western Montana to take the powder plunge.

A filmmaker for over 60 years, Warren Miller is a legend in the ski and snow industry. He founded Warren Miller Entertainment in 1949—one of the largest, most established and successful action sports film companies today. Warren’s 68th feature film, Line of Descent, celebrates the generational aspect of skiers and riders conquering the ascent and reveling in the descent on some of the world’s deepest lines. The film features some of Glacier Country’s most epic backcountry, merging snowsports with backcountry skiers and a snowmobiler sharing—and crushing—the same terrain. Montana native and professional snowmobile athlete Keith Curtis teams up once again with professional skiers Tyler Ceccanti, Collin Collins and Julian Carr for epic snow play right here in the Seeley Lake area, Bigfork and Polebridge.

Here’s a look…

Warren Miller athletes catch some serious air in Western Montana’s Glacier Country. Photos: WME

Warren Miller’s film tour officially kicks off winter each year, touring the U.S. from October to December. Check out the full schedule here. Attend one of the film’s domestic premieres, and you can enter to win a ski and sled road trip for two in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.

Glacier Country is one of the main tour sponsors for Warren Miller’s 2017 film. We’re honored, and always proud to represent Big Sky Country. This recognition is a testament to Western Montana’s position as a world-class snowsport destination. Watch the film, then come shred winter with us and see for yourself.

Huckleberry Heaven: Trout Creek’s Annual Huckleberry Festival

Trout Creek—tucked in the northwest corner of Montana—is a charming community full of recreational opportunities like camping, hiking and fishing. Little did you know, however, that Trout Creek is home to one of the best festivals in Montana—their annual Huckleberry Festival, which attracts visitors from far and wide to celebrate the coveted purple berry.

We recently visited the Huckleberry Capital of Montana for their annual festival, and it was quite a memorable weekend. Check out a few photos below.

The 38th annual Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival’s schedule of events was chock-full of over 120 vendors. Festival booths featured a wide range of American-made goods, arts and crafts, delicious foods and educational information. And let’s not forget the obvious…there were huckleberries aplenty.

It was a little smoky from area wildfires, but nothing could keep these huckleberry lovers away.

The Huckleberry Festival is organized and run by volunteers from the community of Trout Creek, and deep community pride was emanating from the event location. In addition to vendors, the festival featured scheduled events like the Huckleberry Festival Parade, a Huckleberry 5K Run, dancing under the stars, a Huckleberry Homesteader Pentathlon and children’s activities.

Multiple people and clubs gathered to participate in the Huckleberry Festival Parade.

Participants in the Little Miss Huckleberry Pageant.

A trip to the festival wouldn’t be complete without devouring something made with huckleberries…we opted for the tasty ice cream.

Insider Tip: Get there early on Saturday or Sunday for the delicious huckleberry pancake breakfast.

Trout Creek’s Huckleberry Festival takes place every August. If you missed your chance to attend this year’s, mark your calendar for August 10, 11 and 12, 2018.

Happy Exploring,

Nicole

 

Big Sky Beats: Music Festivals and Concerts in Western Montana

Western Montana’s jaw-dropping natural beauty and wide open spaces are perfect for nurturing the imagination. That means there’s no shortage of creative genius in our roots. Artists are drawn here from all over the world. Our communities are alive with arts and culture, and our festivities are often centered around one of our favorite things—music, which we take pretty seriously around these parts.

Glacier Country offers the perfect combination of diverse venues, small-town charm and breathtaking scenery, so it’s no surprise that there’s always some form of musical entertainment to take in. From seasonal symphonies to outdoor concerts and festivals featuring local and national acts to local bands in favorite bars, music echoes in these mountains any chance it gets…which is pretty often. Well, all the time, actually.

We host some of the best music festivals west of the Continental Divide, in unique indoor and outdoor settings big and small. Plan your late summer or early fall visit around one of the events below, put on your dancing shoes, and come hear what’s playing under the big sky.

One of Western Montana’s newest concert locales is now open and offering a rare treat for music lovers in the 4000-capacity open-air venue right on the edge of the Blackfoot River adjacent to Kettlehouse Brewery.

Travelers’ Rest Festival

August 12 – 13, 2017
For over a decade, Big Sky Brewing Company has hosted concerts on their scenic Missoula grounds, and they’ve recently (earlier this year!) unveiled a brand new state-of-the-art amphitheater, designed with larger productions in mind. The August 2017 Travelers’ Rest Festival (presented by The Decemberists) brings stellar artists and fresh mini donuts. What’s not to love?

Festival Amadeus

August 8 – 13, 2017
Mozart in the mountains? We’re all about that. Seven days of classical music against the backdrop of Glacier National Park sounds like a pretty good time to us. The Glacier Symphony and Chorale is an established cultural treasure and Festival Amadeus offers an engaging lineup of highly acclaimed musicians in Whitefish.

A road trip to an event on Flathead Lake is always filled with incredible views.

Flathead Lake Blues Festival

August 18 – 19, 2017
Enjoy the deep south in the wild West with blues under the big sky. The Flathead Lake Blues Festival in Polson showcases musicians from all over Western Montana, situated right on the shores of stunning Flathead Lake. This year’s festival features Ladies of the Blues and several International Blues Challenge competitors.

Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gathering

August 19 – 20, 2017
Listening to bagpipes in Montana’s beautiful Bitterroot Valley is one way to enjoy a summer visit to Glacier Country. Come to Hamilton’s historic Daly Mansion for pipes, drums and Irish step dancing—and a “Shamrock vs. Thistle” Irish whisky and scotch comparison, of course.

The River City Roots Festival is fun-filled free community concert held in Downtown Missoula.
PHOTO: Athena Photography/Missoula Downtown Association

River City Roots Festival

August 25 – 26, 2017
For a true taste of the heart and soul of Missoula, plan your visit around its signature event, the River City Roots Festival. Recognized as the 2009 Montana Tourism Event of the Year, the Roots Fest is a free two-day festival offering exceptional music, local art and family fun. Dancing in the streets highly encouraged.

The Crown Guitar Workshop & Festival

August 27 – September 2, 2017
Billed as “summer’s best backyard party,” The Crown Guitar Workshop & Festival at Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork draws guitar lovers from all over the world. Hear music legends perform in a small meadow venue and enjoy family-style meals in the log cabin Main Lodge.

 

Caras Park in Missoula has many outdoor music events throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Symphony in the Park

August 13, 2017
Grab a blanket, pack your picnic basket and head to Caras Park for this free, family-friendly downtown Missoula summertime tradition—an evening of pops favorites and classical music overlooking the Clark Fork River.

Happy Listening,
Glacier Country Tourism

Missoula Magic: A Weekend in a Western Montana Hot Spot

We’ve got a crush on Missoula. It’s the kind of place that will steal your heart and never let go. The allure of small-city charm surrounded by breathtaking wilderness has secured its position as one of our region’s cultural and recreation hot spots. If you’re looking for a place to feed your soul and your belly, spend a weekend in Missoula, but plan on being a little heartbroken when it’s time to leave. The list of things to do in the robust mountain town is long, so we took the guesswork out of planning the perfect Missoula weekend:

SATURDAY

The Missoula farmers markets are full of local favorites and seasonal surprises like morel mushrooms and fresh huckleberries.

Firsts things first: coffee. Start your Saturday off with a cup of Montana’s best at Black Coffee Roasting Co. (named the Best Coffee in Montana by Cosmopolitan and Mental Floss, 2017). Try the AM blend…it’s morning, after all.

A kayaker on Brennan’s Wave in downtown Missoula.

From there, stroll downtown to the Clark Fork Market (did we mention Missoula is kind of famous for its outdoor market scene?) and grab yourself a waffle sandwich. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

A Carousel for Missoula was hand-carved and painted by Missoula residents.

While you’re in Caras Park, take a spin on A Carousel for Missoula and then take a look out over the river’s edge at Brennan’s Wave and watch the surfers and kayakers play in this man-made whitewater playground.

From there, head up onto the Higgins Bridge and begin your exploration of downtown Missoula’s shops, galleries and eateries. Then for good measure (and because it’s delicious), grab some ice cream at Sweet Peaks or the Big Dipper.

When happy hour rolls around, stop in at the Top Hat or Finn & Porter for appetizers and drinks, and then spend a relaxing evening with an Eddy Out® Pale Ale or a Fresh Bongwater™ Hemp Pale Ale at Kettlehouse Brewing Co. When you work an appetite back up, head to the Wally & Buck food truck (recently setting up camp outside the southside location of Kettlehouse Brewing Co.) for a handcrafted, grass-fed burger from Missoula’s own Oxbow Cattle Company. Read more about Missoula breweries here.

Don’t be scared off by the line…It moves quickly!

If by this point you’re not quite ready for Saturday to be over, there’s a good chance you can catch a live show at the Top Hat, The Wilma or the Kettlehouse Amphitheater. Check out our events page to plan your next visit around a fantastic Glacier Country event.

When the day is done, enjoy some of Missoula’s warm western hospitality at any of its fine lodging options, and rest up for Day 2 of exploring the Garden City.

SUNDAY

Head downtown to devour a breakfast at the Catalyst Café & Espresso Bar. We promise it will be an incredibly delicious experience.

The Catalyst’s menu is full of locally sourced ingredients and excellent vegan and vegetarian options.

Now that you’re full and caffeinated, and since you’ve explored a bit of the town already, it’s time to play outside. Head to Missoula’s Snowbowl, where there’s plenty to do no matter the season. Hike, bike or zip line your way around the bowl and stay put for a lunch on the mountain…Snowbowl is famous for its Bloody Marys and wood-fired pizza.

When Snowbowl isn’t full of snow you can catch the chairlift and folf, bike or hike at the top of the mountain.

After a day spent playing under Missoula’s big blue sky, check out Western Montana’s premier shopping destination, Southgate Mall. Shop till you drop and then grab a bite at the mall’s Mustard Seed Asian Café, and take your server up on dessert—it’s well worth the calories.

From there, head back toward downtown and see a film at Missoula’s historic community theater The Roxy. Pssst…they serve organic popcorn, beer and wine.

As Sunday comes to a close and you reflect on your weekend in Missoula, you’ll likely find yourself thinking about when you can return again. After all, you’ve only experienced a fraction of the one-of-a-kind activities a weekend in Missoula offers. We have so many tips, tricks and favorites to share that can’t possibly be squeezed into two days. Visit our Missoula community page for lodging options and more activities.

In the mood for a hiking weekend instead? Missoula has several trails with beautiful views on the edge of town. Try Mount Sentinel (pictured), Peace Park or Blue Mountain to see Missoula from another perspective. Visit our hiking page for directions.

September in Montana: Cool Autumn Events

Well, it’s here. Filled with gorgeous colors and delicious smells, the beautiful, glorious first month of fall is upon us. Along with its pleasant arrival, September in Montana also brings noteworthy area events.

Check ’em out…

Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Bigfork
Happening THIS WEEKEND (Saturday and Sunday) at Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana Dragon Boat Festival brings teams of ferocious (or in the case of the Glacier Country team–fun and silly) paddlers to navigate the waters of Flathead Lake as they race against other dragon boat teams. The event is open to spectators and features live music, food and drinks. Spectators are welcome to come watch and cheer on the teams of paddlers as they compete on the largest natural freshwater lake in the West.

A team makes their way onto the course on Flathead Lake.

A team paddles onto the course on Flathead Lake.

Germanfest in Missoula
Taking place Sunday, September 8 at Caras Park in downtown Missoula, Germanfest includes singing and dancing, German food and beer and plenty of kid’s activities.

Nordicfest in Libby
Coming up September 13 – 15, Nordicfest celebrates the area’s Scandinavian heritage of Montana’s northwest corner with style and flair. A cool event, it includes a Fjord horse show, live music, a Viking encampment, parade, children’s events and a craft show.

Founders Day Celebration in Stevensville
Marking 172 years of the St. Mary Mission, this year’s Founders Day Celebration will be held September 22. The celebration includes ringing of the St. Mary Mission bell, a Salish presentation and tours of the historic mission and its grounds.

The historic St. Mary's Mission.

The historic St. Mary’s Mission.

Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish
Held over TWO weekends (September 26 – 28 and October 3 – 5), Whitefish’s Great Northwest Oktoberfest is a kick-up-your-heels event that includes authentic Bavarian food, log-sawing competitions, stein-holding contests, traditional music and keg-hurling championships.

Free Entry to Glacier National Park
While it’s not really an event, the National Park Service is offering fee free entry to Glacier National Park on September 28 in honor of National Public Lands Day. Entry for the entire day is free and autumn is one of the best times to see the park.

The west entrance to Glacier National Park.

The west entrance to Glacier National Park.

Montana Brewer’s Fall Festival in Missoula
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Montana has good beer. Putting their goods on display on September 28 at Missoula’s Caras Park, breweries from across Montana will showcase their locally made brews. Round out the day of tasting Montana with live music and local food.

This year's festival features beer from more than 20 Montana breweries.

This year’s festival features beer from more than 20 Montana breweries.

September, this girl salutes you.
TT

Fall in Montana

This morning, I headed out the door bound for work. And while Montana is still in the trenches of summer, I felt something completely different. A new feeling that could only mean one thing—fall.

And while I’m not trying to rush summer out the door (I literally want her to stay as long as possible), I couldn’t help but let my mind water to fall in Western Montana.

My mind wandered to this scene of the Flathead River, taken last fall.

An early morning on the Flathead River, taken last fall.

It’s just that fall is so lovely. It’s filled with mild temperatures, changing colors, perfect fly-fishing conditions and a delicious breeze that manages to combine fresh, crisp mountain air with the warm smell of sun-drenched grass, pumpkins and cider.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how I can share the awesomeness of fall in Montana with you. Because let’s get serious…you and I both know that my beloved Montana is not one of the first places you think of when you think of awesome fall destinations.

But, it should be. Here’s why…

Fall Colors
I’m calling it: Montana is an up-and-coming fall foliage viewing destination. While we may not have the gorgeous colors of Michigan or the spectacular array of reds found on the east coast, Montana gets its shine on in the form of brilliant shades of yellows and golds, with splashes of reds and oranges in the underbrush.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park. Photo: Donnie Sexton.

Glacier National Park
While the height of visitation to my most favorite place happens during July and August, as far as I’m concerned September and October are totally the belle of the ball in terms of times to visit Glacier National Park. Why? a) The crowds are gone. b) The hiking trails are open and you and your hiking buddy may be the only one on them. c) The fall colors combined with the peaks are a site to see. d) Time restrictions on cyclists biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road are lifted after Labor Day.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

Fishing
To be honest, there’s no time of year I’d rather fly-fish in Western Montana than autumn. I think it’s the quietness of the river, the crisp edge in the air and the relaxation that comes along with it.

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo courtesy of Mike Brodwater

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo: Mike Brodwater

Golf
Even though I may not be known for my stellar golf game, I can still appreciate a beautiful course that plays nicely. You know what else I appreciate? A golf season that reaches into the shoulder season so people like me can hit the links and not be afraid of hitting other golfers.

Epic Events
Montana has some sweet fall events. Topping my personal list are Montana Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake, Montana Brewers Festival in Missoula, Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish and Scarecrow Festival in Stevensville.

Paddles up!

Paddles up!

Wishing you a fun-filled and delicious smelling fall,
TT

Round Out July with Sweet Montana Events

I’m not sure how things are in your neck of the woods, but I can tell you one thing: Montana is hopping!

This messy-haired girl has always been a strong supporter and lover of all things Montana during the summer months, from floating the Blackfoot River to basking in the long daylight hours and soaking up the sunshine.

One thing that makes my heart pitter-patter for Western Montana during the summer months are the events that take place. This region of Montana has some kick-in-the-pants events that are fun to the very last drop. To help you better make plans for your trip to Montana this July (who are we kidding, I’m actually making this list to help me plan out the remainder of my month), I’ve compiled some of my personal recommendations for events in Montana’s Glacier Country that should be placed firmly on your not-to-be-missed list.

Logger Days, Darby 
July 19 – 20
Logging is an important Montana past time and the cute town of Darby (located in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley) hosts this annual event. On the roster: 17 traditional logging competitions, activities for little lumberjacks, a logger relay and live music.

One of the logging competitions at Darby Logger Days.

One of the logging competitions at Darby Logger Days.

Flathead Cherry Festival, Polson
July 20 – 21
Celebrating one of Montana’s sweetest gems, the Flathead Cherry Festival is held in Polson on the shore of Flathead Lake and includes Made in Montana vendors, as well as fun events like a cherry spitting contest, cherry pie eating contest and live music.

Sweet Flathead Cherries grow in orchards along Flathead Lake.

Sweet Flathead Cherries grow in orchards along Flathead Lake.

Montana Baroque Music Festival, Paradise
July 23 – 25
Held at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort in the aptly named Montana community of Paradise, this music festival showcases baroque music in a gorgeous setting. An added bonus: you can soak in the natural mineral waters of the hot springs after grooving to the music.

The road to Paradise and Quinn's Hot Springs Resort.

The road to Paradise and Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort.

The Event at Rebecca Farm, Kalispell
July 25 – 28
Horses and competitors come to Kalispell to compete in the nation’s largest equestrian triathlon—The Event at Rebecca Farm. An added bonus: admission is free.

Lewis & Clark Festival, Cut Bank
July 26 – 27
Celebrate the history of Lewis & Clark at this fun festival, with happenings that include a parade, chili cook-off and street dance. While you’re in town, be sure to check out the two nearby historic sites from the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

For more events throughout Western Montana, check out www.glaciermt.com/events.php.

Wishing you a fun-filled and happy July,
TT

PS: Mark your calendars for these awesome August events.
Huckleberry Festival in Trout Creek, August 9 – 11
Epic Shore to Shore Race at Flathead Lake, August 10
Fill Your Own Bucket Day at Glacier County Honey in Babb, August 10
River City Roots Festival in Missoula, August 23 – 25
Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Bigfork, August 26 – September 3

Western Montana Fourth of July Roundup

Happy Fourth of July!

Okay, so I’m technically early as Independence Day is still a few days away…but I’ll tell you what, this national holiday is coming in HOT. As in, it’s going to be here before you know it!

Along with the Fourth of July comes American traditions and celebrations that include parades, BBQs, fun on the water, family bonding time, street dances and fireworks. And because nearly every town in Montana has their own unique spin on the Fourth of July (and quite frankly, sometimes there are so many options it’s hard to choose one), this messy-haired girl has rounded up the best Fourth of July celebrations in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.
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Drumroll, please…

St. Regis July 4th Festivities
This cute Montana town celebrates our nation’s birthday with a parade, pancake breakfast, logging contest, softball tournament, street dance and fireworks.

Missoula
Montana’s second largest city celebrates the Fourth of July in style, with activities that include a pancake breakfast, children’s games and historic demonstrations at Fort Missoula. During the afternooon and evening, make plans to take in “Downtown ToNight” at Caras Park from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with music from Kung Fu Kongress. Rounding out the day: Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks at Southgate Mall, with music at 9 p.m. and fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

Arlee Fourth of July Celebration and Pow Wow
The 115th annual Arlee Celebration is held July 3 – July 7, with festivities including old style dress, dancing, drumming, singing, a parade and stick games.

Arlee Pow Wow. Photo courtesy: Donnie Sexton

Arlee Pow Wow. Photo courtesy: Donnie Sexton

Troy’s Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration
Head to the charming town of Troy in the northwest corner of Montana, for fun that includes a parade, quilt show, antique car show, live entertainment and a fireworks display.

Kalispell’s July 4th Parade & Thursday!Fest
Gather in downtown Kalispell and enjoy the parade as it passes through town at 10 a.m. Round it off with an ice cream social at The Conrad Mansion. An added bonus: Thursday!Fest runs from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and includes live music, a farmers market, arts and crafts and more.

Bigfork Fourth of July Celebration
Fill your tummy with a free pancake breakfast at 9 a.m.. Afterward, make your way to downtown for the old fashioned parade at noon, followed by live music and food at the Bigfork Fire Station, as well as duck races on the Swan River.

Whitefish Fireworks
Gather your friends and a blanket and head to Whitefish City Beach for a fireworks show, starting at dusk.

Polson Parade & Fireworks
Head to the Flathead Lake community of Polson and celebrate the Fourth of July in style. The parade starts at noon, followed by a fireworks display at 10:30 p.m.

And if you’re looking for a place to watch fireworks lighting up the night sky from Flathead Lake to Columbia Falls, plan to view fireworks from Lone Pine State Park near Kalispell. The park will be open until 11:30 p.m. to provide prime viewing.

Wishing you a happy, fun and safe Montana Fourth of July!

xo,
TT