Northwest Montana Fair: 116 years of tradition

Catch concert by “Redneck Woman” Gretchen Wilson and PRCA Rodeo action Aug. 14-18

New & Notable

With 116 years of tradition, the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo revs up Aug. 14-18 with three nights of PRCA Rodeo action, concerts, carnival rides, and that fabulous fair food at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Kalispell.

This year’s fair kicks off Wednesday with a concert by rough-edged original Gretchen Wilson.

“All the good and bad in my life … it’s where all the songs come from. I’ve lived them all,” says Wilson, whose first hit was “Redneck Woman” in 2005. She immediately landed an opening slot with Brooks & Dunn, went on to tour with Kenny Chesney and embarked on one of 2012’s hottest tour packages, “The Outlaw Tour with ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down.”

The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter is also a producer with her own record label, Redneck Records. The latest addition to the label, Oregon native Jessie G, also performs; Rhianna – winner of Flathead’s Got Talent contest – kicks off the Kalispell show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$48.

PRCA Rodeo action rocks the arena at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, including the Leroy Skunkcap Memorial Indian Relay Race. Tickets are $10-$25. The final arena event is a Demolition Derby at 6 p.m. Sunday ($10-$20).

Fair highlights also showcase local talents, including Leapin’ Louie, Jerry Clemens, Drew Miller, the Great Scots Pipe and Drum and the Valleyaires. Flathead favorite John Dunnigan – the self-proclaimed Very “Godfather of Covers,” entertains each afternoon on the Huckleberry Stage and closes fair festivities each evening, Wednesday-Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

New this year: the Discovery Stage located in the Expo Building features an interactive educational area designed to teach and showcase the many talents, hobbies and learning opportunities available to everyone in the community. Regardless of age or ability, participants are certain to learn something new that may just become a new passion. Featured in short 20- to 30-minute segments, Discovery Stage presentations allow fair visitors to interact with experts on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from weaving and spinning to songwriting and guitar lessons.

Other attractions include a Draft Horse Show, 1-3 p.m. Thursday; Friday’s Fair Parade at 10 a.m. in downtown Kalispell; the Livestock Show and Sale Saturday morning; pie and baking contests; and more than 100 commercial exhibitors.

At the heart of the Northwest Montana Fair are over 8,000 handcrafted exhibits showcasing the interest, talent, and passion of regional residents. From quilts to mini-horses, floriculture to rabbits, blue-ribbon displays abound.

For more info, visit or call 406-758-5810.