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In This Issue:

    An Inside Look at Montana’s Summer Arts & Culture Festivals

    By Kristin E. Hill

    When people hear the phrase “arts and culture,” few automatically associate it with the western heritage and beautiful landscape for which Montana has long been famous. While the Treasure State certainly makes no claim to be the next New York City, it does boast a longstanding history of both public and private support for the arts. Nationally acclaimed art galleries and museums abound, writers and artists of all kinds call Montana home, and professional theater troupes and symphonies entertain residents and visitors year-round. It should come as no surprise then that most Montana communities host at least one annual event celebrating the state’s diverse array of artistry, many of which are scheduled throughout the summer. Garnering regional and even national attention, the following upcoming festivals are a prime example that the arts and culture scene is not only present in Montana, but is also thriving!

    Festival of Nations in Red Lodge * August 1st-3rd, 2009

    Take a trip around the world in a weekend in the ethnically diverse town of Red Lodge. Held since 1950, the festival celebrates the town’s Swedish, Slavic, Scottish, Finnish, German, Irish, and English heritage, all of which were brought to the town during the area’s mining heyday. Although these ethnic groups once naturally divided themselves, World Wars I and II united them, and the Festival of Nations was soon born. The event begins with spectacular dances at the All Nations Program and is rounded out with a wide array of music, arts and crafts, traditional food, and various educational workshops.

    Bigfork Festival of the Arts * August 1st-2nd, 2009

    Celebrating its 31st year and attended from all corners of Montana and the Pacific Northwest, the Bigfork Festival of the Arts fills this picturesque town near Glacier National Park with the sights and sounds of artistry. The city’s main street is lined with a diverse selection of arts, crafts, and food vendors while a full line-up of music and other entertainment takes center stage throughout the weekend event. Don’t forget to catch a show at the town’s Summer Playhouse during your visit!

    Sweet Pea Festival * August 7th-9th, 2009

    Regarded by many as the quintessential Montana arts festival, the Sweet Pea Festival in Bozeman has been held annually since 1978 and now draws more than 16,000 attendees to its vast array of cultural events. The weekend event turns the community’s popular Lindley Park into one of the state’s best entertainment venues, including more than 100 arts and crafts booths; a juried and open art show for all mediums; children’s arts and craft stations; flower show; food concessions for every palate; live music, theatre, family entertainment, and dancing; and “Church in the Park” featuring both contemporary and old style worship. The festival also features a Children’s Fun Run down Main Street on Saturday the 8th, immediately followed by the Sweet Pea Parade. While the actual festival is held Friday through Sunday, the Bozeman community amps up its Sweet Pea spirit with several pre-festival events. Dance the night away to the sounds of the River City Swing Band on Friday July 31st at the Sweet Pea Festival Ball. On Tuesday August 4th, bring yourself and the kiddies downtown for “Chalk on the Walk” to create your own masterpiece on Main Street’s sidewalks with the provided chalk. And of course, Sweet Pea wouldn’t be complete without the “Bite of Bozeman” on Wednesday August 5th. Stroll down Main Street while enjoying live music and a variety of food from the region’s finest restaurants.

    The festival is funded primarily through the sale of admission wristbands ($10 pre-festival; $15 at festival gate), and all profits go to support the arts, art education, and special projects.  

    Crow Fair & Rodeo Celebration * August 13th-17th, 2009

    Ever wonder what it would be like to attend a traditional Native American powwow? Experience it first-hand at the Crow Fair & Rodeo Celebration held annually at the Crow Agency (located just 60 miles south of Billings on I-90). Deemed the largest modern day American Indian encampment in the U.S. and recognized as one of the Apsaalooke Nation’s largest yearly gatherings, the weeklong event draws nearly 50,000 attendees as well as 1,200 to 1,500 teepees. Evening powwows highlight each Tribe’s unique dance style, daily morning parades showcase traditional beadwork, buckskin, and leather work, and the All-Indian Rodeo and Pari-mutuel Horse Racing brings together the west’s finest in Indian horsemanship.

    Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Western Music Rendezvous * August 14th-16th, 2009

    Experience the West’s abundant visual and oral history in Lewiston at the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Western Music Rendezvous. Established in an effort to preserve the state’s western heritage for future generations, the three-day festival combines western poetry, music, and art to create one of the region’s most acclaimed “cowboy” events.

    River City Roots Festival * August 29th-30th, 2009

    Recognized as Missoula’s signature summer event, the River City Roots Festival attracts more than 10,000 attendees to the heart of this art-savvy community. The festival is completely free and features a juried art show, a 4-mile fun run/walk, child and family activities, locally and regionally acclaimed food booths, and a live stage with numerous musical acts scheduled throughout the weekend. 

    Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument: A Clash of Cultures

    Excerpted from “The Ultimate Montana Atlas & Travel Encyclopedia”

    Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument memorializes one of the last armed efforts of the Northern Plains Indians to preserve their ancestral way of life. Here in the valley of the Little Bighorn River on two hot June days in 1876, more than 260 soldiers and attached personnel of the U.S. Army met defeat and death at the hands of several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. Among the dead were Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and every member of his immediate command. Although the Indians won the battle, they subsequently lost the war against the white man’s efforts to end their independent, nomadic way of life.

    The Battle of the Little Bighorn was but the latest encounter in a centuries-long conflict that began with the arrival of the first Europeans in North America. That contact between Indian and white cultures had continued relentlessly, sometimes around the campfire, sometimes at treaty grounds, but more often on the battlefield. It reached its peak in the decade following the Civil War, when settlers resumed their vigorous westward movement. These western emigrants, possessing little or no understanding of the Indian way of life, showed slight regard for the sanctity of hunting grounds or the terms of former treaties. The Indians’ resistance to those encroachments on their domain only served to intensify hostilities.

    In 1868, believing it “cheaper to feed than to fight the Indians,” representatives of the U.S. Government signed a treaty at Fort Laramie, WY., with the Lakota, Cheyenne, and other tribes of the Great Plains, by which a large area in eastern Wyoming was designated a permanent Indian reservation. The government promised to protect the Indians “against the commission of all depredations by people of the United States.”

    Peace, however, was not to last. In 1874 gold was discovered in the Black Hills, the heart of the new Indian reservation. News of the strike spread quickly, and soon thousands of eager gold seekers swarmed into the region in violation of the Fort Laramie treaty. The army tried to keep them out, but to no avail. Efforts to buy the Black Hills from the Indians, and thus avoid another confrontation, also proved unsuccessful. In growing defiance, the Lakota and Cheyenne left the reservation and resumed raids on settlements and travelers along the fringes of Indian domain. In December 1875, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs ordered the tribes to return before January 31, 1876, or be treated as hostiles “by the military force.” When the Indians did not comply, the army was called in to enforce the order.

    Maj. Marcus A. Reno was Custer’s second in command. His handling of the retreat from the valley during the Little Bighorn fight was severely criticized. An 1879 court of inquiry exonerated him from any direct responsibility for the defeat, but the stigma of the controversy haunted him for the rest of his life.

    The Campaign of 1876
    The army’s campaign against the Lakota and Cheyenne called for three separate expeditions-one under Gen. George Crook from Fort Fetterman in Wyoming Territory, another under Col. John Gibbon from Fort Ellis in Montana Territory, and the third under Gen. Alfred H. Terry from Fort Abraham Lincoln in Dakota Territory. These columns were to converge on the Indians concentrated in southeastern Montana under the leadership of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and other war chiefs.

    Crook’s troopers were knocked out of the campaign in mid-June when they clashed with a large Lakota-Cheyenne force along the Rosebud River and were forced to withdraw. The Indians, full of confidence at having thrown back one of the army’s columns, moved west toward the Little Bighorn River. Meanwhile, Terry and Gibbon met on the Yellowstone River near the mouth of the Rosebud. Hoping to find the Indians in the Little Bighorn Valley, Terry ordered Custer and the 7th Cavalry up the Rosebud to approach the Little Bighorn from the south. Terry himself would accompany Gibbon’s force back up the Yellowstone and Bighorn Rivers to approach from the north.

    The 7th Cavalry, numbering about 600 men, located the Indian camp at dawn on June 25. Custer, probably underestimating the size and fighting power of the Lakota and Cheyenne forces, divided his regiment into three battalions. He retained five companies under his immediate command and assigned three companies each to Maj. Marcus A. Reno and Capt. Frederick W. Benteen. A twelfth was assigned to guard the slow-moving pack train.

    Benteen was ordered to scout the bluffs to the south, while Custer and Reno headed toward the Indian village in the valley of the Little Bighorn. When near the river, Custer turned north toward the lower end of the encampment.

    Reno, ordered to cross the river and attack, advanced down the valley to strike the upper end of the camp. As he neared the present site of Garryowen Post Office, a large force of Lakota warriors rode out from the southern edge of the Indian village to intercept him. Forming his men into a line of battle, Reno attempted to make a stand, but there were just too many Indians. Outflanked, he was soon forced to retreat in disorder to the river and take up defensive positions on the bluffs beyond. Here he was joined by Benteen, who had hurried forward under orders from Custer to “Come on; Big village, be quick, bring packs.”

    No one knew precisely where Custer and his command had gone, but heavy gunfire to the north indicated that he too had come under attack. As soon as ammunition could be distributed, Reno and Benteen put their troops in motion northward. An advance company under Capt. Thomas B. Weir marched about a mile downstream to a high hill (afterwards named Weir Point), from which the area now known as the Custer battlefield was visible. By now the firing had stopped and nothing could be seen of Custer and his men.

    When the rest of the soldiers arrived on the hill, they were attacked by a large force of Indians, and Reno ordered a withdrawal to the original position on the bluffs overlooking the Little Bighorn. Here these seven companies entrenched and held their defenses throughout that day and most of the next, returning the Indians’ fire and successfully discouraging attempts to storm their position. The siege ended finally when the Indians withdrew upon learning of the approach of the columns under Terry and Gibbon.

    Meantime, Custer had ridden into history and legend. His precise movements after separating from Reno have never been determined, but vivid accounts of the battle by Indians who participated in it tell how his command was surrounded and destroyed in fierce fighting. Northern Cheyenne Chief Two Moon recalled that “the shooting was quick, quick. Poppop-pop very fast. Some of the soldiers were down on their knees, some standing…. The smoke was like a great cloud, and everywhere the Sioux went the dust rose like smoke. We circled all around him, swirling like water around a stone. We shoot, we ride fast, we shoot again. Soldiers drop, and horses fall on them.”

    In the battle, the 7th Cavalry lost the five companies (C, E, F, 1, and Q under Custer, about 210 men Of the other companies of the regiment, under Reno and Benteen, 53 men were killed and 52 wounded. The Indians lost no more than 100 killed. They removed most of their dead from the battlefield when the large village broke up. The tribes and families scattered, some going north, some going south. Most of them returned to the reservations and surrendered in the next few years.

    Battlefield Tour
    The Battle of the Little Bighorn continues to fascinate people around the world. For most, it has come to illustrate a part of what Americans know as their western heritage. Heroism and suffering, brashness and humiliation, victory and defeat, triumph and tragedy these are the things people come here to ponder.

    The battlefield tour begins at the Reno-Benteen site, 4.5 miles from the visitor center. The exhibit panels are best viewed in sequence on the return trip. Stop at the visitor center before starting your tour; park rangers can answer your questions and help you plan your day. Museum exhibits and literature also help to explain these historical events.

    For more information write: Superintendent, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, RO. Box 39, Crow Agency, MT 59022; Call: 406-638-2621; or Internet:

    Reprinted from National Park Service Brochure

    Montana Festival Trivia

    From “Montana Trivia” by Janet Spencer, Riverbend Publishing

    Click here to order Montana Trivia book

    Q. What is the motto of the Testicle Festival held in Clinton every summer?

    A. “I had a BALL at the testicle festival!”

    Q. What town celebrates the Chokecherry Festival each September, which includes a culinary contest, awards for best art made from its leaves and wood, and pit-spitting contests?

    A. Lewistown.

    Q. Where can you participate in the annual Flapjack Race, where rules dictate that you must build a fire and cook an edible pancake, all while keeping your untied mule within fifteen feet of you at all times?

    A. Montana Mule Days in Drummond each June.

    Q. Where can you go to bet on the pig races?

    A. Bearcreek’s fifty residents hold Pig Races each summer weekend as a fundraiser. Pigs are tended by local “sowboys.”

    Q. What town hosts the annual “Punkin’ Chuckin’ Contest” to see who can build a device to throw an eight-pound pumpkin the farthest without using motors or explosives?

    A. Missoula, where the current record is nearly 4,000 feet. Proceeds support a local youth organization.

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    Recipe From
    The Yellowstone National Park Cookbook

    By Durrae Johanek, Riverbend Publishing

    Click here to order "The Yellowstone National Park Cookbook" or view other Gift Corral Books

    While this Yellowstone cookbook contains an interview of a chef and several of his recipes, it also offers dishes from such well-known park personas as the wolf project leader, a park ranger, and many others. Some recipes are pulled from inherited family cookbooks, and some come with special directions for doctoring according to personal taste. Featuring an eclectic mix of represented styles and cultures, this unique cookbook guarantees you'll find something delicious to make and someone interesting to meet on every page.

    Roosevelt Beans

    By Chef Jim Chapman, Roosevelt Lodge

    His name may not be Emeril or Rachel Ray, but Chef Jim Chapman is by all accounts one of the best chefs west of the Mississippi. After completing his training at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Chapman spent the next 25 years cooking everywhere from New England to Switzerland before accepting Yellowstone’s executive chef position. Not only is he in charge of every park restaurant, but he is also responsible for writing menus and creating recipes that keep Yellowstone’s dining fare fresh and interesting. Chef Chapman’s recipes range from the exotic to down-home, but they all emphasize the use of organic and natural local products.

    In this quintessential summer side, Chef Jim Chapman turns ordinary baked beans into a memorable dish sure to leave your dinner guests begging for more (and the recipe)!  Perhaps that’s why it’s a mainstay at Yellowstone’s famous Roosevelt Lodge.


    1 pound hamburger or sausage
    1 / 2 pound bacon, diced into half-inch pieces
    1 onion, diced into half-inch pieces
    1 16-ounce can pork and beans
    1 12-ounce can kidney beans
    1 12-ounce can lima beans
    1 12-ounce can butter beans
    1 / 2 cup brown sugar
    2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
    1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
    1 / 2 cup ketchup
    Salt & pepper to taste


    Fry meats. Drain fat. Saute onions with meat. Stir in remaining ingredients. (For a thicker product, drain liquid from beans.) Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Yields 8 servings.

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    Featured Books

    Canyon Secret
    by Patrick Lee

    Click here for price and order information and to view more Ultimate Press products

    A dying man prepares to confess to a serious crime he committed 55 years earlier. While he waits for the police to arrive at the Montana Veterans’ Home, he flashes back to 1952 to Butte, Montana, and the Canyon towns near Hungry Horse, Montana. The fierce labor strike of 1952 in Butte and the polio complication to Milk Anzich’s granddaughter come back to live.

    Anzich and his son reluctantly leave the picket lines and their home in the McQueen Addition in Butte to work the final months of the construction of the Hungry Horse Dam. Anzich’s son-in-law works at Hungry Horse Dam where he lives a double life as a father/husband/shift boss and a carousing/gambling/alcoholic con man. The son-in-law’s connection with a ruthless criminal endangers his own life, as well as the lives of his family members. As he unwitting races toward the inevitable confrontation with this criminal and the FBI, a cast of unforgettable characters find themselves drawn into the unfolding drama. The construction history of Hungry Horse Dam and the booming Canyon towns emerge as this confrontation builds toward the mystery’s exciting climax.

    The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia - Yellowstone Gateway Edition

    by Michael Dougherty, Heidi Pfeil-Dougherty and Kristin Hill

    Click here for price and order information and to view more Ultimate Press products

    Brand new! Now Shipping! The newest offering from Ultimate Press covers the Yellowstone Gateway Region from Red Lodge to Virginia City. Now in full color, the book exceeds the reputation of Ultimate Press for providing the most comprehensive books available on areas in the Northern Rockies. The book has 184 color pages packed with maps, photos, history, attractions, dining, lodging, camping, fishing, hikes, scenic drives, and more. It also contains a complete guide (50+ pages) to touring Yellowstone National Park. Over 72 maps including highway, town and city, demographic, tours, ski areas, camping and fishing, and more. But rather than waste space telling you about the incredible amount of content in the book, visit the Ultimate Press bookstore and order a copy for yourself today or download the entire book for free!

    Includes complete guide to Yellowstone National Park — Complete information on the Montana gateway area from Virginia City to Red Lodge — 73 maps: highway, city and town, tours, specialty — All restaurants — All Motels — All public campgrounds — All private campgrounds — All Forest Service cabins — Travel and relocation information — Airports — Fishery information — Lewis & Clark points of interest — Public golf courses — Museums and historical sites — Historical information — Hot springs — Hikes — Cross-Country Ski Trails — Downhill ski area information — Scenic drives and sidetrips — Ghost towns — Attractions — Adventure — Hundreds of photographs — Weather information — Information on all cities and towns — Directory of schools, churches, government offices, municipal offices, businesses and more!

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