June 15, 2018

29th Annual Lewis & Clark Festival, June 15 & 17

Discover the World of Lewis and Clark, 1805

The 29th annual Lewis & Clark Festival takes place June 15-17 at Gibson Park in Great Falls, MT. It is organized by the Lewis & Clark Foundation and promises a weekend full of fun and adventure as visitors re-live the Expedition, the Native cultures they encountered, and how the Corps lived and survived. Hours of the Lewis & Clark Festival are Friday, June 15, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sunday, the Sun River Valley Excursion is available by registration only.

Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with Sacagawea and the Corps of Discovery, spent nearly a month in the Great Falls area in June of 1805, having encountered one of their biggest obstacles – the series of waterfalls known as the Great Falls of the Missouri. The Lewis and Clark Festival re-creates the adventures and hardships of life in the 1805 frontier encountered by the Corps of Discovery.

Friday: Bluegrass in the Park Concert
The Festival kicks off with a Bluegrass concert at the Gibson Park Band Shell, with two Bluegrass bands. Gates open at 5:00 p.m., with the concert beginning 6:00 p.m. featuring Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs from Bozeman, and Two Bit Franks from Livingston. Tickets are $15 in advance from the Mansfield Box Office (406-455-8514) or $20 the day of the event. Children 12 and under are free with an adult paid admission. Coolers and pets are not allowed, and organizers suggest concert goers bring a blanket or chair for seating. The event features several microbrews, plus domestics and wine, along with food concessions.

Where to stay in Great Falls:
Our Hotel Sponsors include the Best Western Plus Heritage Inn, SpringHill Suites, and Days Inn.

Thank you to our Bluegrass in the Park Sponsors:
- Cherry Creek Media, STARadio
$1200+ - Holiday Casino
$500+ - Embark Federal Credit Union, JCCS, Loenbro, Heritage Inn, Vision Net
$350+ - Anderson ZurMuehlen, SpringHill Suites

Saturday: Lewis & Clark Festival activities
Thanks to sponsors such as US Bank and the Portage Route Chapter, Saturday’s Festival events are free to the public, with a jam-packed day filled with fun family activities.
The Honor Guard will kick off the day at 9:45 am with a black powder salute among the shade trees and open space of Gibson Park.

A highlight of the 2018 Festival is Native American dancers and drummers from the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe performing at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 pm.

Several musicians and groups will also perform during the day in the band shell, including Peter and Molly Wilson, Jeni Dodd, Thorn Amongst Roses, and the Great Falls Scottish Fiddle Orchestra.

Children’s activities throughout the day include story-telling with Buddy, a live Newfoundland dog representing Seaman, the dog owned by Meriwether Lewis. Lewis purchased Seaman for $20, a large sum of money 200 years ago. He served as a good hunter and guard dog during the expedition. Children are also encouraged to bring a trade good and hone their bartering skills with a seasoned trader, at the trade blanket.

The nationally renowned Lewis and Clark Honor Guard will, throughout the day, fire many of the weapons used by the explorers, including a swivel gun canon. The Honor Guard will fire off all of the reproduction firearms in a spectacular afternoon program at 4 pm, including detailed explanations of where they were acquired, and their use during the expedition. All of the firearms will be loaded and fired with a blank charge. As a staple of military units and a necessity of survival, firearms were essential for the Corps of Discovery.

The Lewis and Clark Honor Guard will give presentations in period dress every hour, in the Council Lodge Presentation Area. Two conjoined tipis form the “stage” for each program, as was the historical tradition among some of the Native tribes in the area. A few of the programs include Firestarting and Other Fun Activities, Selling the Indian Nations on their New Trading Partner, and Geological Discoveries of Lewis and Clark. Casey Wiley will also demonstrate how to skin a beaver. Another popular venue is the Native lodge encampment, with several Native tipis.

Several artisans, including a furrier, metal artist, potters and beadworkers will exhibit their trades. The fine arts and crafts area will feature many unique items for sale. Food concessions will also cater to the crowds, featuring Indian tacos, burgers, and other food items.

The festivities continue at 7 p.m. as the River’s Edge Trail hosts its popular Luminaria Walk. In partnership with the Festival, the Trail has brought back its popular Luminaria Walk, with food, music, and a host of other activities along the River’s Edge Trail. The Trail will be lit from Gibson Park and proceed under the tunnel across the Missouri River via the pedestrian bridge, and into West Bank Park. Folks can turn around and continue back the one-mile journey to Gibson Park. The Luminaria Walk is a great family event, and a perfect way to take a stroll along the Missouri River.

For more information call the Lewis and Clark Foundation at (406) 452-5661.

Thank You to the Festival Sponsors!
- Anonymous
$2,000+ - ABC FOX Montana, Cherry Creek Media, KRTV-3, Portage Route Chapter, STARadio
$1,000+ - Atlantic Richfield, Montana Federal Credit Union, US Bank, Great Falls Tribune
$500+ - JCCS, Best Western Plus Heritage Inn, Home Renovations, City Motor Company, First Interstate Bank
$350+ - Northwestern Energy, Anderson ZurMuehlen, Great Falls College MSU

Sunday, June 17 - Sun River Valley Excursion
This is a package that’s tailor-made for history buffs, adventurers, or those who just want to know more about the founding of Montana and the history of the immediate area.
The excursion features a full day tracing the wagon/stagecoach routes through the Sun River Valley and the Birdtail, and Mullan Trails. Montana resident and historian, Ida Johnson, has spent years amassing a vast collection of the history of the area, having grown up on the Mullan Road.
The tour includes the Robert Vaughn Ranch in Sun River, and the historical significance of the small towns in the area: Simms, Fort Shaw and Sun River. The old stone barn between Vaughn and Sun River is another highlight, along with history on the troops stationed at Fort Shaw. Native history includes Little Dog, the famous Piegan chief, and the battle between his people and the Crow.

The bus departs from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at 9:00 a.m. and returns approximately 5:00 p.m.
Cost for the trip is $60 per person, or $100 per couple, and includes a box lunch. Seating is limited and reservations are required.
Call the Portage Cache Store at 452-5661 for more information.
Premier Sponsors
D.A. Davidson
Stockman Bank

Major In-Kind Sponsors
Alaska Airlines
Cherry Creek Media

Lamar Outdoor Advertising

Allure Aesthetics
Eagle Beverage
First Interstate Bank

1st Liberty Federal Credit Union
Advanced Litho
CTA Architects Engineers
Mitchells' Crash Repair
Prairie Mountain Bank
Russell Country Federal Credit Union

Table Sponsors
Anderson ZurMuehlen
Norma Ashby Smith
BlueCross BlueShield of MT
Brookdale Senior Living
Buff N' Duff's Showroom Shine
Celtic Cowboy/Taco Johns
Contract Flooring/Carpet One
Church, Harris, Johnson, & Williams P.C.
Douglas Wilson and Company, P.C.
Dustin Young & Company Real Estate
Edward Jones - Patrick Winderl
Fairclaim Law Firm
Geranios Enterprises Inc.
Great Falls Clinic
Great Falls Voyagers
Harp Financial Group - Travis Harp
Hoven Equipment
HUB International
Sara Mayben
Montana Milling
Nelson Architects
Northwestern Energy
Pepsi of Great Falls
Portage Route Chapter
Jay & Renee Russell
Schnider Funeral Home
Dale & Judy Schwanke
Sletten Construction Co.
Stewart Title
The Quintrell Agency/Allstate
United Materials of Great Falls, Inc.
US Bank

This event is sponsored by:

Cherry Creek Media

Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Major Sponsor


Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Major Sponsor

Holiday Casino

Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Major Sponsor

Embark Credit Union

Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Sponsor


Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Sponsor


Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Sponsor

Cherry Creek Media

Lewis & Clark Festival Major Sponsor

Holiday Inn

Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Sponsor

Vision Net

Lewis & Clark Festival Bluegrass Concert Sponsor

Portage Route Chapter

Lewis & Clark Festival Major Sponsor


Lewis & Clark Festival Major Sponsor

ABC FOX Montana

Lewis & Clark Festival Major Sponsor