Sweet Pea Festival Week Rundown
It’s that time of year again! Local artisans and craftsmen flood the streets of Bozeman. Food vendors flock to downtown and Lindley Park. Children are laughing and are covered in dusty chalk and vibrant paints. It’s the week of the Sweet Pea Festival and there are a lot of things happening!
Sweet Pea Festival unofficially begins the Tuesday before the first weekend in August, and this year that’s July 30th! The Sweet Pea Festival is a celebration of the arts and what better way to kick off an art festival than with some art? Tuesday is known as Chalk on the Walk and is the best way to kick off your week. Starting at 9:30 in the morning, the Downtown Bozeman Association begins handing out sidewalk chalk to anyone and everyone who asks for some. Young and old, novices and professionals alike all flood the downtown streets to add their masterpiece. Spanning for almost seven blocks the giant collage is always a sight to behold. And with art from professional chalk artist Bill Spiess appearing alongside art from kids of all ages it's the perfect metaphor for the meaning of Sweet Pea. A community working together side-by-side to celebrate and appreciate the arts.
Photo courtesy of Bozeman 365
Now that the decorations have been set up, it’s time to celebrate with another form of art: culinary. Wednesday evening is the beloved annual Bite of Bozeman. Starting at 5:30 nearly 40 local restaurants set up vendors along Downtown’s Main Street where the streets have been blocked off. There you and your friends and family can wander the temporary pedestrian-only zone while eating delicious local food and admiring the works of art from Tuesday’s Chalk on the Walk. Local musicians, as well as other forms of entertainment, are mixed in with the food vendors, providing three hours of artistic and tasty entertainment.
Photo courtesy of the Downtown Bozeman Association
Thursday features the Sweet Pea sponsored Music on Main! If you have been in Bozeman at all these past couple of weeks you will have seen the roadblocks along downtown starting at 6 in the evening on Thursdays. Music on Main is one of Bozeman’s most beloved summer traditions and this week it’s sponsored by the Sweet Pea Festival. This year The Dead Winter Carpenters will be providing everyone their evening entertainment. Enjoy your favorite beer or other beverage provided by local breweries during the open container event. Grab a bite to eat from open downtown restaurants or from some of the local food vendors, or bring the kids to the kid's corner located on Bozeman Ave. Music on Main is a great way to enjoy good food, great music, and a fantastic community.
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Sweet Pea officially begins on Friday at 3:30 pm with a performance from Montana’s Shakespeare in the Parks. This year the MSIP is eager to present Henry IV: Part 1. Then starting at 4 pm vendors of all shapes and sizes open shop. Local arts and crafts vendors display beautiful works of art from elegant antler jewelry to breathtaking watercolor paintings. Restaurants and nonprofits from around Bozeman and beyond set up food booths where you can get anything from burgers to curry. Four o’clock is also the time you can swing by the Sweet Pea merchandise booth to commemorate your wonderful experience, or stop by the Beer and Wine Garden to enjoy your favorite local brews. Can’t make it at 3:30? The festival is open until 9:30 at night and there are two bands playing after Shakespeare in the Parks. Starting at 6:30 at The Bowl stage, Big Sam's Funky Nation is ready to kick off the Sweet Pea Festival with a bang! The funk/jazz/rock/hip hop band is followed by the soul-based contemporary pop group Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds at 8 pm. Both bands offer a fun and unique music experience and are ready to get you on your feet and help you dance the night away.
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Festivities continue bright and early Saturday morning with the annual Sweet Pea 10k and 5k runs! The runs begin in the early mornings at 7:15 and 7:25 am respectively on Main St. After all the runners make it back the fun and adorable Children’s Run begins at 10 am. The Children’s Run kicks off the start of the Sweet Pea Parade, which has been described as the biggest and best parade in all of Montana. Both events end at the entrance to Lindley Park and the site of the festivities. Artisans and craftsmen open shop at 10 as well as food vendors. The festivities continue to kick off at noon with performances from bands like Thea Dead Yellers and The Dusty Pockets as well as dance groups like the Montana Ballet Company and the Mountain Air Dance. Workshops of all sorts open for children and adults alike including woodworking, slime, and stomp rockets. The festivities continue well into the evening, only coming to a close at 10 pm.
Photo courtesy of the Sweet Pea Festival
The third and final day of Sweet Pea is bittersweet. Starting at 9 am Bozeman’s local newscaster, KMMS, will be hosting a live broadcast featuring Elle Fine and Sunday Morning Brunch. At the same time, the Beer and Wine Garden will be opening, so start your final day off with some of your favorite local brews. Your last chance to get a Sweet Pea Festival souvenir begins at 10 am when the festival merchandise booth opens. The festivities get into full swing at 11 when the arts and craft vendors open alongside the food stands. This is also the time when the performers hit the stages. These include more local and national bands like Blitzen Trapper and Goodnight, Texas as well as exciting performances from Bozeman Dance Academy. Then starting at noon and going until three there are more children’s activities available for kids of all ages. The festivities wind down and finally come to a close on Sunday evening at 7 pm.
The Sweet Pea Festival is a wonderful and exciting way to celebrate the arts and the part they play in our lives. From the oldest senior citizen to the tiniest tot, there is something for everyone at Bozeman's best annual festival. The Sweet Pea Festival is the perfect way to celebrate good food, great art, and a fantastic community. So drink up, jam out and get ready for this year's Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts!
By: Issa Rabideaux
Updated by: Cassi Miller