Our Family’s Annual Vacation In And Around Our Home State
Okay, I know this is a summertime event, and it still feels like we are in deep winter right now, but it’s fun to plan and dream about warmer weather! If you have ever wanted to visit the state of Montana, or even if you have lived here for years, this is an event everyone should experience once. Our family has a special attachment to this venue. Kevin’s business, Doodl Creative Studio, has provided much of the graphic design and marketing since its inception, including website, posters, and signs. As a result, we have been attending this event as a family since 2011. The only year we didn’t go was when our first child was due. Kevin has attended since 2008 when it started out as the National Folk Festival.
Centrally located in Butte, Montana, with six stages and multiple performances by over 20 musicians and performers, a dance pavilion, endless food options, artist marketplaces, and a family area, the Montana Folk Festival is one of the Northwest’s largest FREE outdoor music festivals. It attracts upwards of 150,000 people over the three-day event. Saturday is always the biggest day. Friday evening and Sunday afternoon are generally a little quieter.
The last couple of years we’ve enjoyed planning our in-state vacation around this event. We have explored unique attractions right in our own backyard. Usually, we spend a day at the Festival and then branch out from there. Here are some places we have explored:
Still on our bucket list is:
The Montana Folk Festival provides a unique opportunity to visit Butte, Montana. With a rich history and deep Montana roots, Butte is the perfect place to host a large music festival. From the amazing vista and landscapes that create a magical scene to the headframes that light up Montana’s Big Sky. The festival is set up in the Victorian ‘Uptown’ Business District. Much well-preserved historical architecture can be explored while attending the festival. For those of you who are not familiar with Butte, this part of the city is built on a “hill” full of precious metals, giving it the nickname of “The Richest Hill On Earth.” To the visitor, it may simply appear as a very steep incline. As I get out in the Spring and start walking and bicycling with the kids, I always look at this as ‘training’ for hiking those hills in Butte in July! Thankfully, the Festival does provide golf carts and bus transportation up and down the venue. But if you’re anything like me, it can be a fun exercise too!
With its mining history, Butte is easily a destination city for your family. Around 20 headframes still stand over mine shafts throughout the town. The Berkeley Pit is both a Superfund site and a tourist attraction with an observation deck. In 2002, Butte was one of only twelve towns in America to be named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Visitors coming to Butte are offered the opportunity to experience every aspect of the folk music scene, with easy access to Montana’s great outdoors, National Parks, and historic places.
Let’s talk about music appreciation. I think we all know music is important. Here are a few reasons to include music in your lives. Music can be relaxing, it can brighten the mood, and it seems that some music increases concentration, thereby making learning easier. I wanted to create fun memories for our children, centered around music, in the hopes that they will practice and enjoy it their whole lives. Practicing music is a great way for kids to learn discipline, patience, focus, and helps them develop thinking and reasoning skills. And what a neat opportunity to teach the kiddos about music, geography, art, and culture all in one trip! This year we have been studying world geography and I’m so excited to take the kids to hear some folk music from those parts of the world! We have read about and prayed for these countries, ate ethnic foods, watched movies, and learned about the animal world, and now we can appreciate the music! Every year the Festival includes several musical performers from around the world. From Irish and Asian to Indian to African, you can always expect to hear something new.
If you need a vacation, consider The Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana. It is always the second full weekend in July, which makes it easy to remember. There is so much more to see and do in Montana than anyone will ever accomplish in a lifetime – but it’s worth the effort.