Sweet Pea Festival; A Great Time to Visit Bozeman!

Sweet Pea Festival; A Great Time to Visit Bozeman!

Sweet Pea Festival, a celebration to cultivate and promote the arts, is Bozeman’s premier summer event. 2019 marks the 42nd anniversary, a testament to the community’s love of art.

Named after the sweet pea flower which grows prolifically in the area, the festival was modeled after the Sweet Pea Carnival that took place from 1906-1913. The carnival ended because of the impending war but was revived in 1977 as a celebration of the arts. Today, over 400 volunteers keep the festival alive.

Poster Contest

Let’s start with the annual poster contest used to promote the event. Typically, around 50 budding and professional artists submit designs. Many people collect the winning piece year after year.

Chalk on the Walk

Chalk on the Walk takes place on Tuesday, kicking off the week. Kids and “kids at heart” gather to decorate the sidewalks of Main Street. Be sure to check out the work of professional chalk artists who also participate. Speaking of artists, a juried art show is in on display at the Bozeman Public Library during the month of August.

Bite of Bozeman

Originally, "A Taste of Bozeman" showcased one of the fine restaurants. A 1,000-foot-long table was set up down the middle of town where residents and visitors shared a meal. Today, the event has evolved into the Bite of Bozeman, where 40-50 vendors offer tidbits of their favorite menu items. Come hungry; the food is so delicious it’s hard to choose just one nibble.

Music on Main

Thursday night is Music on Main, part of a free concert series with kid’s activities and plenty of food and drink. For more information check out our blog about A Summer Tradition: Music on Main in Downtown Bozeman.

Sweet Pea Run

Be sure to rest up Friday night; the Sweet Pea Run starts bright and early on Saturday morning. Runners can choose from a 5K or 10K, and a children’s run kicks off the parade. After the parade, make your way to Lindley Park where the weekend festivities begin. Over 100 arts and crafts vendors fill the park with paintings, jewelry, pottery, woodwork and fiber arts, to name just a few.


The music lineup starts Friday night and continues through Sunday afternoon. The genres are varied and the Saturday night headliners always fill the park and bring the audience to their feet. Between Shakespeare in the Parks, vaudeville comedy, and dance performances, there is entertainment for all ages. Bring a blanket so you can relax and enjoy the variety of shows.

The kid’s activities are a favorite part of the festival. You’ll hear the sound of hammering in the woodworking section and see little faces painted as superhero characters. Kids enjoy doing mural art, tie-dying and other artistic activities.

For the grown-ups, the beer garden is full of a variety of local craft beers, and everyone loves the food booths. The most notorious dish being the Tater Pigs; a breakfast sausage in the middle of a baked potato, slathered with your favorite toppings and served up with a song by the Chord Rustler, a local barbershop quartet.

The festival is always held the first weekend in August. This year’s event takes place August, 4th, 5th and 6th. For more information go to Sweet Pea Festival.

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