Explore a new city through its festival, as you exchange smiles and rub elbows with locals who enjoy common interests. Use this guide of more than 50 regional events to help plan your weekend road-trips and summer vacations—choosing destinations and dates that coincide with festivals. Whether you like bluegrass bands and beer gardens or small-town street fairs and parades, there’s a festival waiting for you.

 

MUSIC                                                                                    

Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival (June 15-17, Cashmere, Wash.)

Enjoy contemporary and traditional bluegrass and Americana music. cashmerecoffeehouse.com/wrbfest.htm

KettleHouse Amphitheater Summer Concert Series (May-Sept., Bonner, Montana)

A new outdoor venue along the Blackfoot River near Missoula hosts national headliners, including Bon Iver, Alice Cooper, and Blondie. Logjampresents.com

Weiser Fiddle Festival (June 17-23, Weiser, Idaho)

This National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Festival includes a Battle of the Bluegrass Bands on its outdoor stage, as well as carnival and beer garden. Weiserfestival.com

Outdoor Summer Concerts at Northern Quest Casino & Resort (June-Sept., Airway Heights, Wash.)

Big-name music performers include Brad Paisley, Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss, Train, Alabama, and Rascall Flatts. Northernquest.com

A & W Music Festival and Funtastic Slo-Pitch Tournament (June 29-July 2, Vernon, B.C.)

Celebrate live music and sports with co-ed slo-pitch softball games. Funtasticsports.ca

Wallace Blues Festival (July 13-15, Wallace, Idaho)

Musicians travel here from around North America. Wallaceidahochamber.com

Montana Folk Festival (July 13-15, Butte, Montana)

One of America’s largest folk festivals with themed festival areas, six stages hosting 20+ artist and performance groups, a family stage, and arts & craft marketplace. Montanafolkfestival.com

Rendezvous in the Park (July 19-21, Moscow, Idaho)

Music and arts festival showcasing national performers; includes children’s art activities. Rendezvousinthepark.com

Palouse Music Festival (July 28, Palouse, Wash.)

Palouse Arts Council hosts music performances and family-friendly activities. Facebook.com/PalouseMusicFestival

Red Ants Pants Music Festival (July 26-29, White Sulphur Springs, Montana)

Enjoy music concert performers, such as Dwight Yoakam, along with street dances and a kids’ activity tent. Redantspantsmusicfestival.com

Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival (July 27-29, Hamilton, Montana)

Showcases contemporary bands along with pioneers of Northwest Bluegrass music. Hardtimesbluegrass.com

Celtic Festival (July 28, Missoula, Montana)

Celebrate Celtic culture with music, dance, and food. Celticfestivalmissoula.com

The Festival at Sandpoint (August 2-12, Sandpoint, Idaho)

A renowned concert series along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, this summer’s line-up includes Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Amos Lee, ZZ Top, Sublime, Phillip Phillips, and Gavin DeGraw. Festivalatsandpoint.com

Pickathon (August 2-5, Happy Valley, Oregon)

This indie music festival near Portland is more like a family-friendly summer camp, with tent camping and children’s activities, and includes national headliners, such as Blind Boys of Alabama. Pickathon.com

Watershed Festival (August 3-5, Quincy, Wash.)

Country music and camping festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre, featuring Big & Rich, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, and more. Watershedfest.com

Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival (August 3-5, Kaslo, B.C.)

World-class performances of jazz, blues, folk, and world music atop a floating stage at Kootenay Lake. Kaslojazzfest.com

Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival (August 10-12, Medical Lake, Wash.)

16 concerts by national performers at Waterfront Park. Bluewatersbluegrass.org

Shambala Music Festival (August 10-13, Salmo, B.C.)

Salmo River Ranch hosts six themed stages featuring electronic and live music from artists with unique names like Dirt Monkey and Space Jesus. Free tent camping accommodations. Shambhalamusicfestival.com

Wapiti Music Festival (August 10-11, Fernie, B.C.)

Features indie musicians from a variety of genres, including rock, jazz, and electronic. Wapitimusicfestival.com

Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival (August 16-19, Salmon Arm, B.C.)

Culturally diverse music and related artistic experiences for all ages. Rootsandblues.ca

Tumbleweed Music Festival (August 31-Sept. 2, Richland, Wash.)

Acoustic music and dance performances on five outdoor stages, hosted by Three Rivers Folklife Society. Tumbleweedfest.com

Bumbershoot (August 31-Sept. 1, Seattle)

The Seattle Center has hosted the hottest acts since 1971, along with comedy, theater, film, visual arts, and dance groups. Bumbershoot.com

Juniper Jam Music Festival (September 2, Enterprise, Ore.)

Variety of musical genres showcased on two stages at the Wallowa County Fairgrounds. Juniperjam.com

 

 

ART

ArtFest (June 1-3, Spokane)

At Coeur d’Alene Park, the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture hosts 150+ art vendors, regional music performers, and the Make it Art Kids Fair. Artfestspokane.com

World Village Festival (June 8-10, Boise, Idaho)

A free arts and humanities festival to celebrate music, art, film, food, and the city’s ethnically diverse communities. Worldvillagefestival.com 

Art on the Green (August 3-5, Coeur d’Alene)

Enjoy a marketplace with 190+ artists and live performances on the campus of North Idaho College. Artonthegreencda.com

Bigfork Festival of the Arts (August 4-5, Bigfork, Montana)

Main streets of town fill with art, crafts, food vendors, and live music entertainment. bigfork.org/

Huckleberry Days Arts Festival (August 10-12, Whitefish, Montana)

Enjoy more than 120 artists and a huckleberry dessert bake-off contest. Whitefishchamber.org

Pend Oreille Arts Council’s Annual Arts & Crafts Fair (August 11-12, Sandpoint, Idaho)

City Beach hosts artist booths and live entertainment. Artinsandpoint.org

River City Roots Festival (August 24-25, Missoula, Montana)

Fine Arts Show, music concerts on Main Street, and Family Fun Festival with youth performance stage and activity booths. Missouladowntown.com

 

FOOD & BREW

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival (July 21, Walla Walla, Wash.)

Celebrate this world-famous vegetable with chef demos, food vendors featuring onion recipes, an eating competition, onion bowling, 5k race, and much more. Sweetonions.org/festival

Northwest Wine Fest (July 21-22, Schweitzer Mt., Sandpoint, Idaho)

Enjoy wine tasting, live music, and BBQ. Schweitzer.com

FEAST – The Festival at Walla Walla (June 23, Walla Walla, Wash.)

The city’s traditional “Sips and Bites” event to showcase the region’s wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, and food trucks combines with outdoor music concerts for this new event at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds. Downtownwallawalla.com

The Big Chill Ciderfest (July 28, Cashmere, Wash.)

Hosted by Cascade Farmlands, sample regional craft ciders while enjoying live music and dancing. Cascadefarmlands.com

Bitterroot Brewfest (July 28, Hamilton, Montana)

Sample craft beers from over 70 Montana breweries, as well as ciders. Event coincides with Daly Days community festival. Visitbitterrootvalley.com

Great Bear Festival (August 4, Kalispell, Montana)

Taste samples from among 25+ local and regional breweries, cider makers, and wineries. Greatbearfestival.com

National Lentil Festival – Food & Brew Fest (August 17-18, Pullman, Wash.)

Celebrate that 18% of the world’s lentils are grown on the Palouse with lentil-centric food court and cook-off, lentil pancake breakfast, and the world’s largest bowl of lentil chili—plus music concerts and the Lentil Land Kids’ area. Lentilfest.com

Brewsfest (August 18, Kellogg, Idaho)

This mountaintop craft beer and music festival at Silver Mountain Resort showcases 22 breweries and 44 craft beers, eight cideries, and three bands. Silvermt.com

Pig Out in the Park (August 29-Sept. 3, Spokane, Wash.)

Stuff your face at this 6-day food and music festival at Riverfront Park, featuring 40+ food booths and 200+ menu items, adult beverage gardens, and live music on three stages. Spokanepigout.com

Schweitzer Fall Fest (August 31-Sept. 3, Sandpoint, Idaho)

Choose samples from among 100 regional micro-brews and ciders, and take your children to the kids’ soda tent to create personalized concoctions. Schweitzer.com

Fresh Hop Ale Festival (Sept. 29, Yakima, Wash.)

Considered one of America’s top 10 best beer festivals, celebrate the end of hop harvest with local craft breweries. freshhopalefestival.com/

 

 

COMMUNITY

Post Falls Festival (July 13-15, Post Falls, Idaho)

Q’emiln Park will have inflatables and games for kids, live music, and a one-day craft fair. Postfallsidaho.org

Sam Steele Days (June 14-17, Cranbrook, B.C.)

Named after a legendary NW Mounted Policeman of the Kootenays, festivities include weiner dog races, kids’ “Giant Inflatable Funland,” live entertainment, and sports tournaments, including bocce ball, youth soccer, beach volleyball, and adult mixed-gender slo-pitch. Samsteeledays.org

Lake Chelan Pirate Fest (June 29-July 7, Chelan, Wash.)

This big-lake city celebrates its 1812 Pirate Legend with pirate parties, boat cruises, kids’ carnival, and 4th of July Fun Run. Lakechelanpiratefest.com

 
Seafair (June-August, Seattle)

10 signature events and 30+ community events comprise this epic summer tradition for Seattle and its surrounding cities throughout King County. Highlights include 8k Torchlight Run, Torchlight Parade, and the culminating Seafair Weekend Festival, featuring hydroplane races, the Boeing Seafair Air Show, and Blue Angels. Seafair.com

 

Kimberley Julyfest (July 20-22, Kimberley, B.C.)

Party Canadian-style with music, dancing, kid festival, and sports, including extreme downhill longboard racing, a soccer tournament, and the Canadian Bocce Championship. Kimberleyjulyfest.com 

Daly Days (July 27-28, Hamilton, Montana)

Celebrating Hamilton’s founder, this annual festival includes Art in the Park (hosted by the Bitterroot Arts Guild), a car show, kids’ activities, food and craft street vendors, music and entertainment, and Daly Mansion historic entertainment and activities. Event coincides with Bitterroot Brewfest. Hamiltondowntownassociation.org

Huckleberry Festival (August 17-18, Wallace, Idaho)

Enjoy live music, dancing, pancake breakfast, children’s games at the Northern Pacific Railway Depot grounds, and a 5k Huckleberry Fun Run/Walk. Wallaceidahochamber.com

 

 

NATURE, SPORTS, & RECREATION 

Round the Mountain Festival (June 24, Kimberley, B.C.)

Hiking, running, and mountain biking challenges around North Star Mountain will showcase Kimberley’s trail network. Event also includes kids’ races and live entertainment. Roundthemountain.ca

Spokatopia Outdoor Adventure Festival (July 7, Spokane, Wash.)

A must-attend event for all outdoorsy folks and families with recreation activities and adventure clinics; demos for bikes, paddleboards, and other water sports; 5k and 1.5 mile Up Chuck Challenge Trail Run/Walk; Mountain Bike Jump Demo; plus free morning yoga, mountain bike shuttles, beer garden, food, and live music. Spokatopia.com

Kootenai Highland Gathering Celtic Games (July 20-22, Libby, Mont.)

Join the competition or just watch good ol’ Scottish games played by kilt-wearing men. Facebook.com/kootenai.highlanders

Nelson Fat Tire Festival (August 23-26, Nelson, B.C.)

Bike races for women, men, and children (age 2+) at Rosemont All Wheel Bike Park, along with bike decorating and a parade. facebook.com/nelsonfattire/

Kelowna International Dragon Boat Festival (August 25-26, Kelowna, B.C.)

Consisting of 20 paddlers, a drummer, and steerer, Dragon Boats race each other on Okanagan Lake. Kelownadragonboatclub.com

Wenatchee River Salmon Festival (Sept. 20-22, Leavenworth, Wash.)

This natural resource education event at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery grounds celebrates the return of salmon to northwest rivers. Festival includes hands-on activities, environmental and outdoor recreation organizations, and entertainment. Salmonfest.org

Silverroxx Mountain Bike Festival (Sept. 22-24, Kellogg, Idaho)

Silver Mountain Bike Park hosts races and events for riders of all abilities, including downhill and Super D races, minibike keg slalom, poker run, ladies day, trick contest, and kids’ race. Silvermt.com //

Amy S. McCaffree is Special Section Editor and Out There Kids columnist, and wrote about kids’ summer camps and best campgrounds and hiking trails for families in last issue’s Family Outdoors Guide.

 

[Feature photo by Rachael Becker]

[Originally published in the June 2018 print edition of Out There Outdoors under the title “50+ Outdoor Festivals around the Northwest”]