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Food, Film & Folks in Big Sky Country. It’s always a party in Montana. Throughout Big Sky Country, hungry, happy and honky-tonking visitors find everything from food and wine festivals to rodeos and film festivities.
This spring, make your way to the scenic city of Great Falls for the annual Wine & Food Festival in early March. Attendees are met with dancing and live music, a killer breakfast menu, and more than 100 beers, wines and other refreshments.
Still thirsty? Head to Montana State University in the late spring for the MSU Billings Wine & Food Festival – a celebration of domestic wine and gourmet food up for tastings, auction, and sale.
Even film fans find haven in Montana. Helena is home to the Martin Luther King Jr. Film Festival, celebrated in mid January, and when you just so happen to have the day off.
Later in the year, the cultural hub that is Missoula hosts the Montana CINE International Film Festival in mid-October. Don’t miss special screenings and discussions of films with a focus on social and environmental issues right in Historic Roxy Theater – set on the Hip Strip in downtown Missoula. For more Montana happenings, check out the cultural and music festivals of Big Sky Country. Whether an avid skier, aficionado of the Old West, or a fan of folk music, Montana has your answer somewhere on its busy calendar.
Winter & Western Festivals
Montana is an active state, and more often than not, includes its western heritage in its many annual festivities. Here’s hoping you like the cold, because we’re attending the Wild West Winterfest and the Yellowstone Ski Festival.
Kick off your holiday celebrations with the Yellowstone Ski Festival – a staple of West Yellowstone’s event calendar. Cross-country skiers flock to West Yellowstone for a zip down the Rendezvous Trail System, not to mention the lectures, exhibits, and clinics of the Fall Camp Nordic Ski.
Cap off your getaway with the Yellowstone Ski Festival – complete with food and children’s activities – and maybe try your hand in some night skiing. Don’t forget, you’re but a short drive away from Yellowstone National Park.
Set in Bozeman, the Wild West Winterfest is a Montana celebration if ever there was one. A fun mid February weekend, this festival features beer, wine, food and many a show and sale.
Check out the Dog Keg Pull, the Children’s Art Show, and the All Breed Horse Sale, and enjoy some leisure time with the family at the petting zoo or the chili cook-off.
For those with thin blood, head to Kalispell in mid August for the Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo. You can check out the many RAM PRCA Rodeos from the Grandstands, or saddle up for some pig wrestling, horse races, and even a demolition derby.
Each year famed music acts headline the Northwest Montana Fair, so enjoy a night out in the warm air of Montana in the summer. Don’t miss the Great American Pie Contest, a make sure you get a good seat at the Fair Parade along Main Street.
Music & Folk Festivals
Montana should sound like music to your ears – and it soon will. If you’re traveling through Big Sky Country in the late summer, get ready for some craft markets, beer sampling, and all things audible.
Don’t miss nearly 300 artisans doing their thing in Butte at the Montana Folk Festival – a lively, three-day celebration happening in mid July. Fill up at the Montana Folk Festival food court, stroll through one of two marketplaces, and sample your way through beer and wine.
Get your ears ready for cowboy poetry, storytelling, and nightly concerts in Uptown Butte Historic District. This free event is just minutes from the Best Western hotel in Butte – so shop up, and unload your new treasures back at your room.
A mid September celebration, the Music On Wings Bluegrass Festival is a pride of Miles City. The celebration starts off with open-mic jam sessions, allowing any attending bluegrass musician to hop on stage and show off.
Sign up for vocal and instrumental workshops, or just enjoy the many gospel, country, and of course bluegrass concerts in heavy rotation throughout the weekend.
Enjoy the classic sounds of folk rock on your next visit to Montana. The Montana Folk Festival is a wonderful, free celebration of music and dance in Butte. The festival features more than 250 dancers, musicians and artists on six stages. There's even performances for the kids on the family stage.
While listening the music, enjoy the panoramic views of the incredible Montana mountains, surrounding the festival grounds. Wander through the Festival Marketplaces to shop for unique gifts and hand-made crafts made by Native Americans. Take a break to satisfy your appetite with the delicious food and treats.
Enjoy live bluegrass in Montana. The Music on Wings Bluegrass Festival is a fun, musical celebration held each September in Miles City. Festival-goers enjoy listening some of the best Bluegrass performers, from Montana and across the United States. Kick back and relax with the whole family, while enjoying the music and food.
The "Open Stage" event features a bluegrass jam session, followed by the Saturday Vocal Harmony workshop. The Gospel music performances are some of the highlights of the festival. Plan on staying the whole weekend – there are many brilliant ways to enjoy Miles City, and this might be the very best.
Plan a visit to Montana for the winter. The Yellowstone Ski Festival has been celebrating the beginning of the Montana cross-country ski season, for more than 30 years. Each November, Nordic skiers from Canada and across the US, travel to West Yellowstone, to join in the fun and start skiing for the season.
Festival festivities include the Nordic Skiing Clinic, On Snow Gear Demo, SuperTour Races, Indoor Ski Show, Biathlon Races, classes, presentations and clinics. Visitors enjoy shopping for the latest gear, as well as testing the gear on the Rendezvous Trails.