August means huckleberry season in Montana – the month when humans and bears alike scour the woods for these tasty purple morsels. For more than 40 years, the second Saturday of August has meant art, food and fun on the shores of Swan Lake, courtesy of the original Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival, held Aug. 13 at the Swan Lake Day Park near mile marker 72 on Montana Highway 83.
The event will open with a huckleberry pancake breakfast served from 8-11 a.m. The rest of the day’s activities begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The Arts and Crafts Fair features more than 50 booths offering handicrafts, gifts, Montana-made products, food, and country-made delicacies. Food trucks and vendors also provide a wide variety of tasty food and drink.
The Huckleberry Baking contest begins at 11 a.m. (entries are accepted Saturday morning beginning at 10:30 a.m.). Contest entries must be huckleberry-based with a minimum of three servings provided. A Huckleberry Baked Goods Sale follows. “Come early,” advise organizers. “The pies sell out quickly!”
In addition to traditional huckleberry pies and pastries, huckleberry candy and ice cream tempt visitors all day long. The band Silverado entertains from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Other scheduled events include a baking contest at 11 a.m., a silent auction, raffles, kids’ games and an afternoon beer and wine garden. The Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival is sponsored by the Swan Lake Chamber of Commerce and Community Club, and proceeds help support maintenance of the Swan Lake Community Center.
Whitefish and Trout Creek also offer honor the humble huck with the following events:
Huckleberry Days, Aug. 12-14 at Depot Park in Whitefish: The annual event boasts more than 100 vendors of fine arts and food, as well as a huckleberry dessert bake-off contest and live entertainment on the Huckleberry Stage. The festival is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m Sunday.
Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival, Aug. 13-14 at the park in Trout Creek: People flock to taste and purchase the berries, sold on the park grounds, while food vendors feature the tasty “purple gold” in ice-cream cones, on cheesecake, in drinks, and in a variety of desserts. The Trout Creek Fire Department offers its Saturday and Sunday morning huckleberry pancake breakfasts and both children and adults compete in the dessert contest. More than 100 arts and crafts vendors, live music and entertainment, a parade, 5K run, auction, children’s activities and a pie-eating contest are also on tap.