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Brew festivals are popping up on the scene more and more these days, but there’s one characteristic about the Bigfork Brewfest that makes it stand out.

Most brewfests tend to occur in the blissful summer months, when they compete with a plethora of fun activities. Bucking the status quo, Hilary Shepard, winter enthusiast, owner of Bigfork outdoor gear store The Mountaineer Shop, asked herself “Why not an outdoor brewfest in the winter time? Aren’t we all looking for an excuse to get outside, listen to fantastic music, socialize and most importantly drink craft beer, in the winter months?”

The Bigfork Brewfest showcases over a dozen breweries from across Montana and from as far away as Bend, Oregon, who pour samples of their beverages. Beyond the beer, folks gather around bonfires and dance to local musical talent, a great way to stay warm on a wintery afternoon. Food vendors are on hand to complement the brewskis, as well as for purchase wine, cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages.

The proceeds from the $25 entrance fee which includes a commemorative mug and eight beer samples, goes to support local nonprofit charities. Last year money collected was donated to help groom local cross-country ski trails and buy guitars to launch a beginner guitar class for fourth- to eighth-graders.

This year marks the seventh annual Bigfork Brewfest, taking place on Saturday, March 4, from 3-7 p.m. in the streets of downtown Bigfork.

All designated drivers are awarded free entrance to the event and as many soda pops as they can guzzle. Discounted rooms are available Brewfest weekend at Marina Cay (406-837-5861), just a short walk from the brewfest location. For more information, visit or find the festival on Facebook.

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