Big Sky State Games
The 33rd Annual Big Sky State Games will host over 10,000 athletes from nearly every Montana community July 20-22 in Billings. The Big Sky State Games is an Olympic-style amateur sports festival for people of all ages and abilities.
This annual event has grown to be one of Montana’s biggest – and on a per capita basis it is the largest in the nation. It creates an economic mid-summer boost for the Billings economy as well as bringing lots of fun and excitement for people from all over the state, as well as some from neighboring states.
It features sports from archery and arm wrestling to basketball, billiards, bowling, biathlon, equestrian events, fencing, figure skating, football, golf, hockey, karate, shooting, soccer, swimming, etc. – Big Sky State Games is an opportunity for every athlete to show off their prowess.
Elk River Reunion
The second Annual Elk River Reunion festival will also be this weekend, August 20 & 21 at the Cove Creek Outdoor Pavilion at 56th Street and Central, west of Billings. It’s an opportunity to enjoy favorite 90s rock hits set against the Montana skyline, while sipping on cold brews and enjoying some great food from Billings’ best food vendors.
Following a very successful inaugural event last year, this year is expected to draw several more thousand people, adding a new dimension for the Big Sky State Games.
Besides great music and a good time, some of the proceeds benefit The Shrine.
Friday night it’s Sugar Ray, Toadies, and Steve Fulton Music. Saturday night it’s The Wallflowers, Smash Mouth and Kurth & Taylor Band.
Bring your chairs, blankets and umbrellas for shade! Enjoy food trucks and vendors on site, and of course ice cold beers, drinks, and non-alcoholic beverages. Gates open at 4:30pm. Music begins at 6:30pm.
Tickets are available at the High Horse, The Squire, Reno Club, The Shrine, Poly Food Basket and at bigmontanamusic.com.
Magic City Blues
For sixteen years Tim Goodridge has been presenting Magic City Blues in downtown Billings drawing thousands and thousands of people to the community at the height of the summer season. The draw is, of course, a compelling line-up of big-name entertainers who promise a once- in- a- lifetime musical event.
This year’s event will be held on August 3 & 4, featuring ZZ Top. Other performers are Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, Beny Aro, Lloyd Jones Quartet, Willy G,, Carolyn Wonderland, Dead Presley’s Too Slim and the Taildragger, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, Alder Lights, AJR, and Phillip Phillips.
Preliminary ticket sales for MontanaFair indicate that the event could match its record year in 2016. Set for August 10-18, Montana’s biggest event is pacing 19 days ahead of last year, according to Ray Massie, Marketing director for MetraPark and the fair. As of a week ago, night show ticket sales were 10.8 percent ahead of last year.
MontanaFair annually packs almost a quarter million visitors, filling Billings’ motels and restaurants and shopping malls. Last year fair attendance was 226,333. Massey is aiming for 240,000.
The fair has a $9 million economic impact on the community and that doesn’t include secondary impacts in money spent of support services, equipment and labor. Exactly how much of an impact the fair has on the local economy is the subject of a study being sponsored by Northwestern Energy and Big Sky Economic Development, the results of which are expected to be released before the fair.
Drawing attention to the fair this year is $800,000 in entertainment with Dustin Lynch aand Kelly Clarkson, and
Besides the concerts in Rimrock Auto Arena, other events during the week include supercross and PRCA Pro Rodeo in the Grandstands.
Of course, there’s the Thomas Carnival, and fair food! Everything from corn dogs to “Vikings on a Stick, and the beer gardens. And of course there will be the 4-H exhibits and other commercial booths.
Nearly 10,000 people will earn cash and ribbons for their entries which range from beer, wine, bunnies, crocheting, horticulture, horses, cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, petit-point, pickles, to hobbies, and arts and crafts.
MontanaFair ValuPass offers patrons a bargain of general admission to seven shows plus free gate admission every day of the fair. There will only be 3600 ValuPasses available this year, of which about a third have already been sold.