Montana isn’t exactly one of America’s hotspots for festivals, but it holds its own with a number of entertaining events that showcase the unique culture and outdoor recreation on offer. From beer and art to the Wild West and raging rivers, Montana has just enough to tempt visitors that will enhance their trip to Big Sky Country.
Wild West Winterfest
The locals of Bozeman break up the doldrums of the long winter with a fun and warming festival called Winterfest. The Gallatin County Fairgrounds transforms into a cold weather carnival featuring a kids’ rodeo, horse-drawn carriage rides and ATV ice racing competition. There is storytelling and music, a chili cook-off and a pet trick contest.
In the Flathead Valley of northwestern Montana, there’s a little town called Big Fork. Every May when the local Swan River is running high thanks to the spring snow melt off, this town gets wild and crazy on the river. Try your luck on the rapids of the "Wild Mile" or watch the action from land. Local bars, brewpubs and restaurants provide the food, beer and entertainment.
Custer’s Last Stand Re-enactment
Every June, the site where General Custer made his last stand against the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes relive this monumental event in American west history. It’s one part of the larger Little Big Horn Days, a popular festival which spans several days at the Battle of Little Bighorn National Park.
Sweet Pea Festival
One of the biggest arts festivals in Montana, Sweet Pea attracts hundreds of craftspeople to the town of Bozeman each August to show off their wares. The event is held in Lindley Park and is a completely volunteer endeavor. Besides the amazing art, you can enjoy live music and theater along with food vendors and plenty of activities for children.
Montana Beer Festival
The best craft breweries from across the Rocky Mountain region converge on the town of Bozeman to share their latest ales at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in August at the peak of summer. Live music provides the perfect backdrop as you sample dozens of excellent beers.
Yellowstone Ski Festival
In November, Yellowstone National Park marks the beginning of another long and snowy winter with its annual ski festival. Despite being the early weeks of the season, skiers from around the country flock to Yellowstone for cross-country races, ski clinics, gear swaps and lots of other fun activities geared toward the sport.