Fall in Montana is full of energy as folks take advantage of the last vestiges of mild weather before winter descends on the state. Celebrate the harvest season under the Big Sky with pumpkins, fresh cider, costume contests, and arts and crafts at one of Montana’s many wonderful fall festivals. Here are some of our favorites.
In mid-September, the people of Butte don lederhosen and raise their steins in a toast to fall at the annual Butte-toberfest. In addition to beer from more than a dozen Montana breweries, fest-goers will enjoy stein races, food, live music and even costume contests. The event is child-friendly, and proceeds are donated to local charitable organizations.
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The end of September means that it’s time for the Fall Harvest Festival and Apple Day at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. You can give cider making a whirl, learn how homesteaders readied themselves for the onset of winter, grab lunch from a food truck, and enjoy some fall-themed craft activities.
Every year, on the two weekends that straddle the beginning of October, the folks of Whitefish hoist their glasses to the return of the Great Northwest Oktoberfest. The festival centers, of course, around German-style beer and food, live music, dancing and Montana-style fun. Try your best at one of the festival’s competitions, like the log sawing, keg throwing or stein holding contests.
Beer lovers will be very pleased to learn that the Montana Brewers Association hosts an annual Fall Rendezvous. The festival takes place at the end of September and includes unlimited samples of Montana-crafted beer. There is always live music and plenty of grub available from food vendors.
The annual Townsend Fall Fest takes place each year in early October. Festival events include a full weekend schedule of live music and dancing, one of the state’s largest car shows, a pancake breakfast, kids activities, and contests like stein hoisting and brat eating. Of course, food and beer vendors are on hand all weekend long.
In early October, birders and nature fans, alike, gather at the Bridger Bowl ski area—and other places in and around Bozeman—to celebrate one of the largest known Golden Eagle migrations in North America. In addition to raptor viewing, the festival includes nature walks and talks, as well as entertainment and educational programs and activities for raptor enthusiasts of all ages.
Once a year, the Bitterroot Valley celebrates its favorite fruit with its annual McIntosh Apple Day, followed by Liquid Apple Night. The daytime festival includes children’s activities, food, vendors and baked goods. In the evening, festival goers can enjoy hard cider from throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Live music and food vendors are on hand for both portions of the event.
Appreciators of art and film, unite! Each fall, Missoula hosts the Montana Film Festival. This special event provides a place for movie lovers to come together to enjoy screenings of indepdent films from on-the-rise talent. The goal of the festival is to enrich audiences "through the art and craft of independent narrative film."
Every October, the Ranch at Rock Creek celebrates the peak of fall with its Autumn Harvest Weekend celebration. The celebration features live music, a barn dance, and even a sing-along campfire. Ranch guests can also enjoy fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. A menu designed around farm-to-table fare with beverage pairings will be available all weekend.
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