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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!

Chalk on the Walk Bozeman Montana Sweet Pea Festival at Montana Gift Corral

Chalk on the Walk Sweet Pea Festival at Montana Gift Corral, Bozeman Montana

Photo courtesy of the Sweet Pea Festival

    Sweet Pea Festival unofficially begins the Tuesday before the first weekend in August, and this year that’s July 31st! 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 Jacob’s Crossing Lobby 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.


Bozeman Montana Sweet Pea Festival Bite of Bozeman at Montana Gift Corral

Bozeman Montana, Bite of Bozeman Sweet Pea Fesitval at Montana Gift Corral

Photo courtesy of the Sweet Pea Festival

    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 St. 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 like Solidarity Service, Kate, and the Alley Kats, and Bluebelly Junction, as well as other forms of entertainment, are mixed in with the food vendors, providing three hours of artistic and tasty entertainment.


Bozeman Montana Sweet Pea Festival Music on Main Montana Gift Corral

Music on Main, Bozeman Montana, Sweet Pea Festival at Montana Gift Corral

Photo courtesy of the Sweet Pea Festival

    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 local Bozeman band, Cole and the Thornes, will be providing everyone their evening entertainment. Their reggae-meets-soul sound makes a wonderful ambiance for the event. 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.


Bozeman Montana Sweet Pea Festival at Montana Gift Corral

- 72 Hours Remain -

Bozeman Montana, Sweet Pea Festival, Day 1, Friday, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, at Montana Gift Corral

Photo courtesy of the Sweet Pea Festival

      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 Othello for the first time in their 46 year career. 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 from around Bozeman set up food vendors 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. Starting at 6:30 at The Bowl stage, Dirty Revival is ready to kick off the Sweet Pea Festival with a bang! The rock/ pop/ funk band is followed by the genre-bending Big Head Todd and the Monsters 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.


Bozeman Montana Sweet Pea Festival at Montana Gift Corral

- 48 Hours Remain -

Sweet Pea Music Festival Saturday Concert Bozeman Montana at Montana Gift Corral

Photo courtesy of the Sweet Pea Festival 

      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. The races are brought to you by the Big Sky Wind Drinkers, the Bozeman local running club. 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 ten as well as food vendors. The festivities continue to kick off at noon with performances from bands like Hawthorne Roots and The Moondoggies 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, painting, and tie-dying. The festivities continue well into the evening, only coming to a close at 10 pm.


Bozeman Montana Sweet Pea Festival at Montana Gift Corral

- 24 Hours Remain -

Bozeman Montana Sweet Pea Festival. Art Vendors, at Montana Gift Corral

 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, 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 Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, The Black Lillies and Stephanie Quayle as well as an exciting performance from Bozeman’s premiere dance school, The Dance Center. 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

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