Each year, Missoula hosts numerous events that bring its residents together to share fun and celebrate community.
Whether annual events like the Western Montana Fair or the Parade of Lights, or periodic events held seasonally, you’ll find Missoulians eager to participate.
Below you’ll find some of Missoula’s most notable and well attended recurring community events.
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival – February
The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival celebrates the art of nonfiction film by giving voice to the powerful ideas presented in documentary form.
Garden City BrewFest – May
Sponsored by the Missoula Downtown Association, this popular annual event features more than 60 beers on tap, a wine bar, food, and live music.
International Wildlife Film Festival – May
Each year the International Wildlife Media Center hosts the world-renowned Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula. The Festival showcases cultural and environmental films from around the world.
Garden City River Rod Run – June
Every June Caras Park hosts 2 days of classic cars, food, music. and fun! It all kicks off with a parade on Higgins Avenue on Friday night.
Independence Day Celebration at Fort Missoula – July
4th of July at the Historical Museum is a family event featuring old time crafts, entertainment, live demonstrations, silent auction, kid’s activities, and more.
Western Montana Fair – August
Each year in August the Western Montana Fair draws huge crowds of Missoulians and Western Montana residents to the Missoula County Fairgrounds to celebrate “Fair Week.” What draws them in? Exhibits of all kinds, the Beer Garden, horseracing, the rodeo, the carnival rides, concerts, and yes. . . the food! The fair serves up local delicacies that can only be found at the fair and people admittedly flock to feed.
River City Roots Festival – August
The River City Roots Festival bills itself as a showcase for some of the region’s most talented artists (fine art and music), emphasizes family fun and fitness, and exposes the region to all the great things about Missoula.
Missoula Symphony in the Park – August
This annual outdoor performance of the Missoula Symphony is held in Caras Park. The orchestra presents a program of pop tunes, movie themes, and light classics that is perfect for the entire family. Food and beverage may be purchased on-site from a number of different vendors. Bring lawn chairs and enjoy this free concert.
GermanFest – September
GermanFest is a celebration of German culture and Missoula’s Sister City relationship with Neckargemünd, Germany. Sponsored by the Missoula Cultural Council with assistance from the German Department at The University of Montana, this free event is held in Caras Park. Fun for the whole family, everyone can enjoy German music, dance, kids’ activities, and more. And yes, for adults, there’s plenty of German beer!
UM Homecoming Parade – September or October
This annual event draws a huge crown that lines Missoula streets to watch the annual Homecoming Parade. Held in conjunction with the University of Montana Homecoming celebration each autumn, the parade serves up roughly 120 entries including floats, marching bands, local leaders, and community groups and organizations who trek the parade route from North Higgins across the bridge through the Hip Strip, south to University Avenue, and east toward the U.
Parade of Lights – December
Downtown Missoula holds an annual Parade of Lights. The parade is preceded by a day filled with free family activities including photos with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides on East Pine Street. and more. The Parade travels north on Higgins Avenue at 6:00 p.m. culminating at the Red XXXXs where the Downtown Christmas tree is officially lit.
First Night Missoula – December
The Missoula Cultural Council hosts First Night as an accessible, affordable, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration for the entire family. The annual event includes performances and art displays at 30 venues from noon to midnight on December 31st with the goal of broadening public appreciation of local and culturally diverse visual and performing arts.
Recurring Seasonal Events
Each Saturday morning from May to October, locals and visitors flock downtown to Missoula’s outdoor markets to sample exquisite local fare. A stop at the Farmers’ Market on Circle Square at far north Higgins boasts a bevy of fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, plants, flowers, and coffee. Saturdays, 8:00 a..m. to noon, mid-May through mid-October.
Missoula Saturday Market
Two blocks south of the Farmer’s Market on East Pine Street, close to 100 artisans and vendors offer local arts, crafts, and handmade items, along with selected imports. Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. mid-May to mid-October.
Clark Fork River Market
Under the Higgins bridge, Missoula’s newest market offers a variety of locally-produced meats, vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants, and baked goods. Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. mid-May to mid-Oct.
Out to Lunch
Every Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. during June, July, and August, Missoulians converge on Caras Park to enjoy a beloved local event. Out to Lunch boasts live music and food from a huge variety of restaurants and vendors.
Held in Caras Park, Downtown ToNight takes place every Thursday night from 5:30-8:30 in June, July, and August. The live music, a beverage garden, food vendors, and children’s activities are a fun, family-friendly way to enjoy the long, warm summer evenings in Missoula.
Monthly mingling at the Missoula Art Museum featuring new art exhibits and the martini of the month.
First Friday Gallery Nights
Held the first Friday of every month, downtown galleries, museums and several businesses showcase new artists and their artwork from 5 to 8 p.m. Share cocktails and appetizers with native and regional artists.
Bonner Park Band Concerts
From late June through mid-August each year, the Missoula City Band performs free concerts on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. in Bonner Park, one block east of Higgins Avenue between Evans and Beverly Avenues.