Summer is going out with a kick in the Bitterroot Valley, with annual events, fairs and rodeos.
The annual Stevensville Creamery Picnic began over a century ago when the original creamery was rebuilt after burning down. It is celebrated the first weekend of each August, and is coordinated by the Stevensville Civic Club. This year, the 105th annual event, honors "Hometown Heroes," Friday and Saturday, Aug. 4-5.
The weekend kicks off Friday with the 16th annual Montana State BBQ Championship. The weekend also includes parades, live music, historic tours, a fun run, a pancake breakfast, a brew fest, dances and free ice cream.
Charla Bauman & Lawrence Hammond, Shane Clouse and Stomping Ground, The Sandbox, Bitterroot Community Band, Lolo Creek Band, Tom Cats and 406 are on the docket to play sets during the weekend.
For a full schedule visit online, creamerypicnic.com.
The Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering is a cultural and educational festival with highland games, drums and pipes, the gathering of the clans, dancing and everything Celtic. This year it's set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-20, at the Daly Mansion in Hamilton.
The family-friendly event has activities and contests for all ages.
Food booths, parades, kids’ activities, highland games, scotch and mead tastings, exhibitors, vendors, music, dancing, herding dog demonstrations and arts and crafts usually draw in about 3,500 people to enjoy the festival.
Cheryl Tenold, president, said the event is an exciting opportunity to learn about the Celtic arts.
“Our event is education and cultural as well as being a lot of fun,” Tenold said. “Part of our goal is to pass on the heritage. There are opportunities to learn dancing, musket shooting and piping. If anyone is even slightly interested in learning piping they should contact us, it seems to be a dying art.”
The gathering of the clans for celebration and competitions is what originally started the festival. The 2017 Honored Clan is Clan Cunningham.
“The games are based on the Scottish tradition of people gathering by clans and competing athletically,” Tenold said. “Each day at 1 p.m. we have a grand parade, the clans march in with banners, mottoes, pipers and athletes.”
Tenold said there is a focus on family heritage and research assistants can help you discover your clan.
The mead and scotch tasting are an additional cost and are hosted by a master to explain the creation, craft and traditions.
The opening ceremonies at 1 p.m. each day have a Lament — a remembrance of those who passed away during the recent year.
Performers this year include Angus of Brother from Oregon, Swagger from Utah, The Craic’ers, Top House and Tom Robinson.
The Ceilidh, a traditional “open mic” social gathering, is 7 p.m. Saturday.
“Everyone can participate and people can learn a dance or someone tells a story or sings a song,” Tenold said. “It used to be that clans from rural areas met and their young people dated at a Ceilidh.”
The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band will be live on the mansion grounds re-enacting the time of King George and will give musket demonstrations.
Sunday events include learning to highland dance and contests of clan tug of war, Skillet Toss, Beards and Braids and Bonnie Knees.
The admission is $5/day for kids and $10/day for adults. On Sunday, admission is $8 for adults, and a two-day pass is $15. There is free parking at Hamilton High School with free shuttle buses to the Daly Mansion every 15 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Sunday. Parking at the mansion is available for $10.
Tenold said listening to the bag pipers is a big draw and the event is a great family weekend full of heritage and culture.
For the complete schedule of the Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering, go online to bcgg.org.
The 2017 Ravalli County Fair & Rockin’ RC Rodeo, Aug. 30- Sept. 2, has a theme of “Country Pride, County Wide” with traditional exhibits and 4-H, FFA and community entries. Displays of art, china painting, quilts, photography and agriculture draw more than 20,000 people. “Shadows” are the special topic for photographs.
“An adult coloring contest and a new junior arts superintendent give the community the opportunity to display their unique creativity,” said Bethany Perkins, a fairgrounds employee.
Credit cards are accepted at all gates and food vendors. There will be watermelon and pie eating contests, a photo booth, pedal tractor pulls, floral displays, poetry contest reading, stick horse rodeo, a hungry hippo game, a dog show, cheese demonstrations, Bitterroot Mountettes, Miss Ravalli County Rodeo Queen, FFA and 4-H demonstrations, a carnival and much more.
The main attractions in the rodeo arena are a Horse and Mule Show, noon, and a Ranch Rodeo, 7 p.m., on Aug. 30; Bull-A-Rama and Cowboy Bronc Riding, 7 p.m., Aug. 31; National Rodeo Association Rodeo, 7 p.m. on Sept. 1; National Rodeo Association Finals Rodeo, 7 p.m. on Sept. 2. Livestock provided by Red Eye Rodeo.
Children 5 and younger can get in for free; adults pay $9 daily or can get a four-day pass for $25; students, military and 60-plus seniors will pay $7 daily or can get a four-day pass for $18. Carnival rides are additional.
For a full schedule visit online, rcfair.org.
The Darby Rodeo Association is hosting a Good Ol’ Fashioned Ranch Rodeo on Saturday, Aug. 5, and a fundraising dinner and concert with Dave Stamey on Monday, Aug. 17. For the details visit online, darbyrodeoassociation.com.