In all of Butte’s rich history, there’s one thing missing: Believe it or not, no one’s ever held a best-pasty contest.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), through its ATTRA sustainable agriculture program, along with the Butte Chamber of Commerce and the Butte Archives, is changing that on June 8 with the Great Pasty Throwdown and Sosten Fest.
The reason it’s surprising that no one ever claimed pasty bragging rights before in Butte is that pasties were a staple of the mining industry that founded Butte and in many ways defined its character.
Pasties – fist-sized pastries filled with meat and vegetables and crimped at the edges to make them easier to hold and keep clean when there was no hand-washing water around – accompanied untold numbers of miners into the thousands of miles of tunnels beneath the surface of the Richest Hill on Earth.
The Great Pasty Throwdown will have categories both for restaurants and for individuals who think they make the best pasty ever and aren’t afraid to put their pasties where their mouths are.
The pasty contest is part of the first annual Sosten Fest, held from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on the grounds of NCAT’s headquarters in Butte.
NCAT is a 43-year-old nonprofit with regional offices in five states around the country. It focuses on helping people through small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions for reducing poverty, promoting healthy communities, and protecting natural resources. Its nationwide ATTRA program is one of the longest-standing sustainable agriculture information services in the U.S.
Sosten Fest fits into that mission. Sosten is a Cornish word for food or sustenance, reflecting the festival’s focus on all the benefits that local and sustainable agriculture and sustainable energy can bring to a community.
In fact, each pasty in the contest must contain at least one locally grown ingredient.
“This event is all about celebrating Butte’s food heritage and the farmers and ranchers who grow food today across southwestern Montana,” said Steve Thompson, NCAT Executive Director.
The fest will also feature the Butte Bloom Plant & Seeds Sale with locally grown plant starts and seeds, as well as tours and demonstrations on NCAT’s SIFT Farm. There will be plenty for the kids to do in the children’s area with a petting zoo, solar car races, bounce house, pet adoption, jewelry making, and more.
The Sosten Fest and Great Pasty Throwdown also offers local beer and spirits, food trucks, live music, booths and demonstrations in sustainable farming, energy solutions, and building resilient communities.
For more information or to register for the Great Pasty Throwdown, go to www.SostenFest.com.