Gallatin Valley Fair

Woot! Everybody gets excited when the fair is in town! Which is what happened two weekends ago. And what a time it was!

We get to the fair and there are a tons of local businesses on display, as well as information about Bozeman. We stop by our friends at Ascend Wellness and I got a pulse diagnosis.  I have to say, I had no idea how much one can tell from a pulse! Very (and creepily) impressive!

Ascend Wellness

There were also some fabulous stands about the City of Bozeman itself (and I got a great pic of a cowboy looking at it. How cool!)

City of Bozeman

I thought the weed stand was pretty hilarious. And not what you think! Apparently there are some wild weeds that shouldn’t be, so the public is properly notified in order to fight these plants!

Wanted Weeds

There were also some amazing vendors at the fair. My favorite were the jewelry flowers. This guy makes amazing jewelry from real flowers and butterflies!

Flower jewelry

We purchased something for someone special who has a birthday coming up (and luckily does not read this blog).  How cool!

Of course people don’t go to the fair for stands and vendors. They go to the fair for rides!

Ferris Wheel in Bozeman

And there were plenty of rides to choose from! However, our favorite part of the fair? The food! We decided to go for the funnel cake, and it was freakin awesome to watch it being made!

Funnel Cake Live

And it was freakin delicious too! I got mine with cinnamon and honey.  First time ever having a funnel cake and it won’t be the last!

All in all the fair was a blast.  Some good old time fun!

Polecat Blue Grass coming to Bozeman!

Polecat is coming to Bozeman July 26th, both to play at Music on Main and a show at the Zebra the following evening. I got a chance to get to know this awesome band and I can’t wait to hear them play! For those of you who haven’t heard them, check out their video below, as well as their great interview!


Polecat Blue Grass BandWhat is Polecat?

Polecat is five people playing music that you can stomp to! Our instruments are upright bass, electric guitar, 12-string guitar and vocals, drums, and fiddle. We want our audience to feel we are always giving them danceable, hoot hollerin’ good music, but we also want them to also be challenged musically. Plus, with so many genres to explore, why would we pick just one?

What sort of genres do you lean towards?

We started out a little bluegrass and there is still some of that flavor in the tunes. Aaron’s songs are most comfortably classified Americana/Rock. Then Cayley (fiddle) decided it was time to play some Irish music, and then Karl (drums) broke into a reggae beat… Our current set list also includes some disco, a Russian tune in 15/16, and an 80′s cover.

Bellingham is a bit of a drive. What do you do to pass the time?

Cassettes have become our music delivery system of choice. If we can find a Goodwill in a city we are visiting, we’ll usually pick up a couple of new hot tracks. I’d say the most played is Gipsy Kings. We know almost all the vowel sounds on that tape now. Our van has been dubbed Michael Bolton (due to the fact that it is very white), so we pay aural homage to him as well. Sometimes Cayley will force us to answer questions from an early 90′s Trivial Pursuit game.

What does this summer look like for Polecat?

July is a busy month… I think we have five days off in the next three weeks. Before we come to Bozeman we will be playing at Horning’s Hideout for String Cheese’s annual festival. In August we are playing Summer Meltdown Festival and Subdued Stringband Jamboree which becomes one of our favorite weekends of the year. In September we are very excited to be playing Bumbershoot for the first time. We don’t have a ‘summer’ in Bellingham so I’m not sure where to cut this off.

Anything you want to get out there?

We are stoked to play in Bozeman! We’ve never visited your city before so that makes it even more exciting. We’ve seen some pictures of Music on Main crowds, and Bozeman seems like it will be an enthusiastic music community. ALSO, after the show downtown on July 26th, we will be playing a free after-party show at the Zebra lounge. Come party with us, Bozeman!

Montana shows off its Gay Pride

Gay Pride BozemanSaturday was a beautiful day, and a great day for the Montana Pride Parade.

At first when I heard about Montana Pride, I thought it was for people who were proud to be Montanans.

Now, the people at the parade were proud to be Montanan. They were also proud to be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

Thousands gathered from all around Montana to participate.

I was lucky enough to be a part of the parade with AIDS Outreach.  So while we were setting up and waiting for the parade to start (while getting a tan), I got to see some very interesting characters.

From God & Gun lovers…

God, Guns & Gays

To a young generational who just loves his moms…

I love my moms

To an older gentleman who probably couldn’t believe how far we have come…

Old Gay Man

There were also some great organizations represented in the parade, apart from AIDS Outreach, such as Bozeman’s secret gay bar, PLONK (known only as the “gayest bar in Bozeman”.

plonk gay bar bozeman

And completely “mainstream” organizations such as Yellowstone National Park. Yeah baby, Yellowstone represented in the parade!

Yellowstone National Park Gay Pride

Being in the parade, and seeing the towns people cheer was great! Afterwards everyone met on the library lawn for a rally where we heard speakers from various political and non profit organizations about how far the United States has come to improve human rights for our LGBT friends and family members.

Gay Rally Bozeman Montana

We were so lucky it was such great weather and what a great turn out we had from all over Montana!

Katie Goodman Gay Pride BozemanIn the evening at MSU there was a great DIVA show and after party. It was a pity that the cover charge ($20) was so high.  It stopped a couple of my straight friends from coming and enjoying the show and cultural experience!

However, it was a blast!  For the most part we enjoyed it…. But let me get on my soap box for just a moment…

It was  a bit too political. We need to remember that our LGBT friends and family members come in all shapes and sizes… and that means conservatives too! Gay rights is not a political issue, it is a human rights issue.  Sometimes politics are involved, but just because you are gay doesn’t mean you are “liberal” in all other aspects of your beliefs.

Ok, I’m done, back to the fun stuff! The DIVAS were fabulous.  Many came out to perform twice.

Drag Queen Bozeman

Their costumes were amazing, and they were so entertaining! I wish I remembered their names, unfortunately I can’t find it online. My favorite was this lovely lady!

Best Drag Queen Bozeman

She had spunk, the best songs, and the best act in the show by far! The second time she came out, she was dressed like a viking. With my connections to Sweden, how could I not love her?

Viking Drag Queen

My second favorite also had a lot of spunk, and did some great pieces!

Drag Queen Montana

And you can’t have a drag show without Tina Turner, right?

Tina Turner Drag Queen

If anybody knows the names of these lovely ladies, please let me know so I can update my post!

All in the all the GAY Pride Parade in Bozeman was pretty freakin awesome. If you didn’t make it out here this year, please try to join next year. Really, there were only two semi naked people there.

Show your support. If you don’t like gay parades, then please vote for basic human rights like equal marriage and ability to adopt for LGBT couples. Once our LGBT friends and family get the same human rights as everyone else, I promise you, we will stop marching… Can’t say as much about the drag queen shows. But you can just not go to those… you will be missing out though!

Art Walk and Roller Derby, oh my!

Art, Wine & Shopping

This past weekend was a busy one in Bozeman, Montana. Friday night kicked off with the Art Walk. This will happen on the second Friday of each month until September. There are 31 participating stores that show off artists of their choice.

Keith Anderson featured at Jewelry Studio

We started out at the Jewelry Studio downtown which featured Keith Anderson, an artist and architect!  It was great to see our friends and Keith’s work.  And surprisingly Jewelry Studio was serving wine and appetizers. But onward we went, we had a whole town to walk!

I was surprised that some of the stores didn’t seem to be featuring artists (or at least I couldn’t tell), such as the local book store. But it was pretty awesome to be in a bookstore again. Books smell good!

Book store Bozeman

And most of the other stores had wine and appetizers to munch on. So really, if you like art, free wine and free food, the Art Walk is for you!

There was also live music being played on the streets of downtown (not to be confused with Music on Main which is coming up on the 28th!)

Art Walk Music

But I have to say, one of my favorite features of the art walk was the old theater they are rebuilding downtown for plays, music and more. The Rialto was built in 1925 and it is ready to get back on its feet!

Raise the Rialto

They were giving tours of what they have done so far. It is looking fabulous!

The Rialto theatre bozeman

They are currently looking for sponsors and volunteers to help finish up the theater. For more information, check out their website.

The art walk was pretty fab. It was great to see what was going on in Downtown Bozeman, as well as checking out some of the local artists!

Derby Girls Kicking Butt in Bozeman

Saturday night was the Debutantes Brawl with the Bozeman’s Gallatin Roller Girlz vs. Billings’ Magic City Rollers.

Now, I have never been to a derby match before, had no idea how the game was played, what it was about, except that it was women on roller skates. Interesting, right?

It was awesome!

Basically derby is a bunch of girl who end up knocking each other over on skates. What is not fun about that? The stadium was completely packed too! It seemed most of Bozeman was there.

Roller Derby Bozeman

I wish I could have gotten more pictures, but the girls were flying by so fast they are just blurs on my crappy camera. However, I did get some great video!

 

Check out this jam session. Watch the girls with the stars on their helmets. They are the jammers, they have to get by the pack. Bozeman is in black, Billings in blue.

And with our local beer Bozone being served, there was really no way to go wrong with this evening!

Bozone Beer

I had too much fun at Roller Derby. I may have to join the team. Look out for my full article about the event in Bozeman Magazine!

All in all, with the art walk and derby, it was a great great great weekend in Bozeman.

Next up? Pride Parade baby, oh yeah! So proud to be in Montana!

A Day Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National ParkSo one of the best things about living in Bozeman is how close we are to “The Park”.

I love this. When I first moved here, people suggested we “go to The Park”.

Of course when this was spoken, I didn’t realize it was capitalized. So I was like “What park? Some park downtown? Huh?”

No silly. Yellowstone National Park!

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Yellowstone for either the West entrance from Big Sky or the North entrance from Livingston.

Yep, there are two ways we can easily get there, meaning it is super easy to do a beautiful loop into the park from Bozeman. If you don’t mind a lot of time in the car!

yellowstone map day trip from Bozeman

There are so many things to see from the car, it is amazing. The first thing I noticed (and probably most of you will) were…

Bison in Yellowstone

The bison (or buffalo).  They were everywhere!

bison fighting yellowstone

We got to watch the two above fight a bit (whether they were playing or really fighting, I couldn’t tell, but it was cool).

And because it is spring time, that means there were baby buffalo! Can I get a group “awwwwwww”!?

Baby buffalo in Yellowstone

It was funny, because about the first 30 minutes in the park, we were all excited about the buffalo. But really, there were so many of them, afterwards we were like “Oh, another bison? Bleh, move on please!”

many bison in yellowstone

Luckily, there are many animals to see in Yellowstone. And how do you spot the animals? As you are driving, you will see cars pulled over. That means there is an animal siting, you should stop, get out, and ask what is going on!  We were lucky, because we caught a small group of cars tracking… a wolf!

(Edit: Not a wolf! A coyote!  How can you tell? By the bushy tail!)

Lone Wolf in Yellowstone

My camera isn’t the best. Can you spot him? Here is a blown up view.

Lone Wolf in Yellowstone close up

Pretty cool, huh? A lot of animals you see are just spots in the binoculars or in my crappy camera. There were some people with high lens cameras which got amazing pictures!

But hey, my gray dot still counts!

We continued on and this time headed to the painted pots, which is the geysers or basins or what are they called? Evidence that we are driving on a super volcano!

Painted Pots

Doesn’t this look like a place you would want to bathe in? I love the color!

Blue painted pot

It is boiling water though, so not recommended. Remember.  Yellowstone = Super Volcano.  Yep! I didn’t really connect it, but it is the most likely way the world will end. The good part? People in Bozeman will be vaporized with the explosion and won’t have to suffer the dying earth and trying to survive. For some reason, that does not make me feel any better! But it seems to comfort most people of Bozeman, so I should get on that band wagon!

There was more evidence of this volcano we were walking/driving on that could blow any minute (ok, now I’m being extreme!)

Yellowstone geyser

Oh, and we saw the prettiest blue bird!

Mountain blue bird Yellowstone

I thought it was cool at least.  And my mom is getting old and retired, and started bird watching. Apparently that is what you do when you get old and retired, so I had to take a pic, right?

Our next stop? Old Faithful! Now everyone should know Old Faithful, right? This is the famous geyser that goes off every hour and 20 minutes like clockwork. Except it doesn’t go off exactly at the allotted time. I was kinda expecting it NOT to go off :D  But she did!

Old Faithful Yellowstone

We watched Old Faithful on the deck of the Old Faithful Inn, with some very expensive wine and beer. Well worth it though. The Inn itself, was founded by President Roosevelt, is beautiful!  It feels like you are in a tree!

Old Faithful Inn

After Old Faithful went off, we left and headed onward for more animal watching and more volcano evidence.\

As we drive our route, we can check more animals off of our list. Like the pelicans!

pelicans in Yellowstone

And finally, some elk! But they aren’t as cool right now because they have no horns :(

Elk in Yellowstone

We continue on and soon we see another group of cars. Staring this time at some brown spots.  Now most likely it is not bison (at least we hope not), but we have to find out what it is.

One guy says it is wolves. Wrong…

Brown specks in Yellowstone

Can you tell what it is?

How about with a close up?

A mama Grizzly bear and her cubs! Awwww! About as close as I want to come to a bear, but still very very cool!

We headed on, and saw a waterfall. What makes waterfalls so cool?

Waterfall in Yellowstone

Soon we saw a huge group of cars. We knew something amazing was happening. We got the gossip and freaked out to find parking to get pictures. The story? Another bear.  But this was even cooler because it just killed a elk calf. The elk mother was there all sad while the bear munched on the meat.

Sad mother elk

Can you see her sad face?

Bear in Yellowstone

And see how satisfied the bear was? I think my mother almost started crying when the elk kept on looking back and not running away. Alas, the circle of life is cruel!

We headed on, and our last stop was Mammoth.  Just beautiful!

Mammoth Yellowstone

I wish we had more time to get out and walk around, but other family members were antsy to get going.  But I did get some great pictures from the car!

Mammoth Yellowstone

We headed out of the North Entrance. I had no idea President Roosevelt had such an influence in Yellowstone. Apparently he had the arch built in the North Entrance to make some jobs, and to make the North Entrance the official entrance to Yellowstone.

 

Yellowstone North Entrance

It was a fabulous day in Yellowstone. And to end it? A partial solar eclipse!  Bears, bison, elk, pelicans, birds, geysers and a solar eclipse? Who could ask for more?

Solar eclipse

 

 

Ladies Night Out in Bozeman

ladies night outSo last night was Ladies Night Out. Just in time for mother’s day, it was an evening of pampering, shopping, and networking! A red carpet evening all for the ladies of Bozeman!

It was thrown by Gallatin Valley Furniture Carpet One, and they did a fabulous job!  Not only did we get pampered, but they collected shoes to donate to Haven, the Bozeman woman’s shelter.

 

When we arrived at the red carpet, we were afraid to see valet parking. Hmmm, how much will this cost us?  I guess we forgot it was Ladies Night Out and that we were queens!  The valet parking? Completely Free! Can’t complain one bit! We jumped on the red carpet.  Of course there were many ladies waiting in line to eagerly get in!

Ladies Night Line

The entire store was filled with people from different companies that cater to us ladies from Mary Kay (and yes, I got my make up done!)…

Mary Kay Make up

To a cupcake station provided by The Leaf & Bean!

CupCake Station

They had so many toppings to choose from I had trouble picking out which ones I wanted!  In the end, though the cupcake was of course delicious!

CupCake Fun

The whole night we had opportunities to win prizes. All around the store there were red balloons which had a ticket attached to it. If the ladies number matched the ticket number on the balloon, that lucky lady would win the prize!

Lucky Lady

There were a lot of balloons so I’m sure a lot of ladies walked away lucky!

There was of course also a raffle to win even more prizes!

Ladies Night Raffle

Some of my more favorite stations? The cards…

Cards

And not just the gift cards, but the tarot cards too!

Tarot card reading

This is my future!

Future in the cards

All in all it was an amazing night! I look forward to the next Ladies Night Out in Bozeman!

The Last Horse Run in Three Forks

On Saturday was the 11th annual horse run in Three Forks, Montana. Sadly it will be the last!

Horse Run Three Forks MT

The horse run is an event that came out of necessity.  Apparently the horse company simply needed to move all of its horses from the winter pasture to the summer one, but because they owned so many horses, it was too expensive to transport them via truck. So instead, they ran them through town.

Soon it became a huge even in Three Forks.  We headed out there to enjoy some good Montana company and watch the horses.

We arrived at about 10:30.  First rumor? Horses are coming at 11. But then we were delayed, so we walked around town, checked out the sales stands, and then sat ourselves by Sacajawea Hotel to people watch and wait for the horses.

Sacajawea Hotel

There was a live band playing on the deck, and it was fabulous to be so up close and enjoy the music!

Cowboy band

At one point a local girl came on stage and played her fiddle. It was adorable!

Fiddle Girl

And while it was a little cold, everyone was having a good time waiting for the horses. We had heard they were coming at 1, it was 1:15 and everyone was partying!

Montana kids dancing

There were some beautiful characters there too. Such as this cowgirl with her dog…

Cowgirl with dog

And these lovely ladies and their hats! First there were two…

Ladies with cool hats

And then there were more!

Hat ladies

And the adorable little girl on her mother’s back.

little girl on mothers back

1:45 and we hear that the horses are coming soon! 15 more minutes!  Soon, everyone starts to look down the street. Their is a buzz in the air.

horse run buzz

And yep, soon enough you can start to see the horses!

Horses appear

They were beautiful!

Horse Run in Three forks

Everyone was taking pictures and smiling.

Horse Run pictures

And as soon as they came, they were leaving again :(

Last Horse Run Three Forks

I’m sad that this was the last horse run, and I’m so grateful that I was able to experience the last one!

 

 

Bozeman Beerfest 2012

Beerfest in Bozeman fell on Friday the 13th. It was a great time with great people and, of course, great beer!

Beerfest Bozeman 2012

Marshall Catch was fantastic! Check them out on Facebook.

Marshall Catch
30+ breweries came to Bozeman for the occasion including local breweries from the Gallatin Valley, many more from around Montana and even a few from out of state!

Red Lodge

Beer in Bozeman
I was particularly excited to see Quarry Brewing from Butte. Check out some photos from our venture to Butte on St. Patty’s day!

Quarry Brewing

People came out in droves and filled the venue in no time at all.

In line for the beer fest

Many wore strands of pretzels to munch on as the evening wore on.

Pretzels and Beer If you missed Beerfest this year make sure to mark your calendars for next year’s event!

beer

Check out more pictures of the 2012 Beerfest in Bozeman on Ashley Stevick Photography’s Facebook page!

April Smith rocking in Bozeman

April Smith

So the other night I was minding my own business when I get a tweet from a Bozemaniac saying that there is going to be an amazing show at The Filler on Wednesday and I should check it out.

Well now, usually Wednesday shows are not my thing because a) its a school night and b) I assumed good bands play on Friday or Saturday.

I’m apparently completely wrong.

But I clicked on the link anyway.  And I was introduced to the beautiful and talented April Smith!

If you haven’t heard of April Smith I highly recommend you check her out. I knew I had to see more, and this being her last show in Bozeman until 2013, I grabbed my favorite Bozeman photographer and headed to the Filler!

Panther Car at the Filler

Panther Car at the Filler

There were two other bands playing before April Smith and the Great Picture Show.  Panther Car and Blue Voodoo, who are both fabulous local bands.  And of course The Filler provided the great party atmosphere that I love!

I couldn't be happier I'm drunk in Montana

The crowd that came out for April Smith was a great one, and true April Smith fans. And April Smith herself was down to earth and great to talk to!

April Smith and Bozemaniac

While I could have asked for more dancing from the fans, I was fine rocking it on the dance floor anyway while April rocked on stage!

April Smith Rockin

If you haven’t heard April Smith’s music or voice, I highly recommend you go check it out. I was able to snag some video at the concert for a sneak peak. She is amazing live and I’ve been listening to her non stop since Wednesday night!

 

If you enjoy her music, I highly recommend that you buy her album on iTunes now! Songs for a Sinking Ship (Bonus Track Version) – April Smith and the Great Picture Show

An Auction in Montana

So the other weekend I got invited to a very small school fundraiser for a middle school – err, well, it is the elementary school AND middle school for this town about 15 minutes from Bozeman, MT.

The fund raiser was an auction for various donated items so the kids could make their annual trip to Washington, DC.  The place was pretty busy for a school event. It looks like the whole town showed up!

Auction in Montana

There were two types of auctions going on.  The silent auction, where you need to be the highest price, usually the last one to bid.  You simply wrote it on the yellow paper with your special auction number.

Silent Auction

A lot of great items were up for auction, including ski passes as well as Juliann’s precious custom metal work!

Juliann Iron Original Frame

While the silent auction was going on, we received excellent service from the school kids themselves. Yep, they were actually working for their donations!

Working Kids

When the food was served everyone was hungry, so long lines were formed! Luckily we were with some locals and knew when stand up and wait so it wasn’t so long :)

Packed Auction

After dinner, the live auctions started! This was very cool. All the items were laid out in front so potential buyers could check them out. My favorite? The gun. Yep, at a school event, they were selling a gun. Rock on Montana!

Gun for Auction

They also had a smoker and half of a bison! The bison I actually wanted to bid on, but the price was over $300.  I so wish I had that money to spare, and the freezer space!

For the live auctions they had a professional auctioneer.  He looked like a cowboy too!

Auctioneer

I wish I had video of him auctioning.  I actually did, but it looks like I’ve deleted it! It was a very cool experience, and lucky he wasn’t going too quickly so after a few minutes someone new (like me) could grasp it.

I hope the children managed to raise enough money. It was a great night and a great auction!