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Add Beautiful Art and Family Fun to You’re Next Montana Adventure

Whether you’re planning an extended excursion or a weekend getaway, Billings has the outdoor adventures, stunning landscapes, and cuisine to make your next Montana vacation unforgettable. The city’s location within the Yellowstone River Basin gives visitors remarkable natural scenery to view in every direction. Folks in search of outdoor fun should see the ancient art in Pictograph Cave, take a drive along the Rimrock Bluffs, and visit the historic Little Bighorn National Monument. The largest city in Montana is also home to a diverse selection of restaurants which serve a spectrum of culinary treats. A few locations to sample the local flavor include Bin 119, Jake’s, and Montana Brewing Company.

Summerfair has been one of the top summer art events in Montana for four decades, and it will take place July 13-15 at Veterans Park. This event is the largest arts and crafts festival in the region, and will feature art activities for all ages, fun family-friendly activities, the best artists and crafters in the region, and a spectrum of live entertainers. Attendees can view and purchase art and crafts from more than 100 vendors representing almost any artistic style you can imagine. The artists and crafters will sell unique and beautiful handcrafted pieces using mediums such as wood, metal, glass, and more. People who are curious about the artistic process can watch a variety of demonstrations that showcase activities such as weaving, painting, and fly tying. Live music will take place on the main stage throughout the event with performances by popular musicians such as Mojo, Parker Brown, and Alex Nauman. Folks looking to fill their stomachs are in the right spot. From snow cones to gourmet chili, Summerfair has something for everyone. The Yellowstone Art Museum is the host of the event, and it serves as one of it's most significant fundraising efforts, benefitting education programs, and yearly operating expenses. interviewed Shane de Leon to learn more about this unique celebration of art and community.

RAL: How long has the event been running?
SL: 2018 marks our 40th straight year.

RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?
SL: Although the attendance number can fluctuate from year to year, we typically count on between 9,500-10,000 attendees annually.

RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
SL: Summerfair is unique as it draws from every demographic in a vast region. We see equal parts children, families and couples. With the addition of our Friday night concert, we see younger patrons, and individuals who want to come to take in a show and stay for the crafts and food. Saturday and Sunday we see individuals who want to shop from our 100+ vendors and possibly take in an art demonstration.

RAL: What makes this event unique?
SL: Summerfair is the first and largest art and craft festival in a vast region. Not only do we offer crafts and wares for purchase, but we also showcase art demonstrations throughout the weekend, child-friendly activities, music/entertainment performances on the hour on Saturday and Sunday, and an inclusive community concert in the park on Friday night.

RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
SL: Friday night we have a four-hour concert in the park. Saturday and Sunday we have art demonstrations all day at our demonstration booth. This year we have weavers, painters, fly tying, and so much more. We also have a dunk tank, various mascots wandering the grounds, and a children’s booth for art activities. Every hour on the hour we have entertainers on our stage. We will showcase everything from top-tier musicians to dance troops and hula hoops.

RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
SL: We have some talented guests this year including musical performances by Mojo, Parker Brown, Alex Nauman. There will also be art demonstrations by well-known local artists James Vincent, Robin Earles, Judd Thompson, Jason Jam, and Nyd Kraushaar.

RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
SL: We are proud to be able to offer food and treats from the following food trucks: Z’s Gyros, Village Kettle Corn, The Rollin Donut, Red Lodge Ales, Last Chance Cider House, The Messy Apron, Raven’s Café d’Art, Snow Drift Snow Cones, and more.

RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
SL: Billings offers dozens of hotels within 10 minutes or less from Veteran’s Park; many of which are unique and boutique options.

RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?  
SL: With 10,000 attendees taking in Summerfair annually, we expect that the city of Billings benefits significantly from this event. 67 artisan vendors come to our event from outside of Billings, most of which come from outside of Montana. These vendors alone drive the local economy by staying in hotels or campsites and eating in our restaurants for four days.

RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
SL: All of the proceeds from Summerfair go directly towards onsite and offsite educations programs and exhibitions at the Yellowstone Art Museum. This funding ensures that the YAM can continue to offer top-tier art programming to the Billings area.

RAL: Why should people come to your event?
SL: This is an opportunity to take home a unique, one of a kind unique decoration for your home, unique gifts for a birthday, Christmas or even a sentimental wedding present.  You will be delighted by the plethora of local entertainers, artists, and food vendors. No other event offered in this region boasts the variety of options to keep you entertained for three days.

For more information about Summerfair, please visit the event website.