Kalispell Parades to Continue With New Sponsor

Kruise Kalispell, which organized a series of car cruises last year, will take over parade sponsorship

By Maggie Dresser
The Northwest Montana Fair Parade through downtown Kalispell on Aug. 18, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

After Kalispell Chamber of Commerce officials announced they would discontinue parade sponsorship due to a changing economic environment two weeks ago, a new organization, Kruise Kalispell, has stepped up to sponsor the events.

Kruise Kalispell officials Nichole Steward and Monte Klindt reached out to the chamber after hearing the announcement to learn about the parade planning process, which includes permits, timelines, budgets and more for the St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, Northwest Montana Fair and Christmas parades.

“We cannot thank Kruise Kalispell, Nichole and Monte enough for responding so quickly and energetically to this great opportunity,” Chamber CEO and President Lorraine Clarno said in a press release. “We believe this is the perfect fit and we will continue to make ourselves available as they go through their first year of productions to answer questions and be of support. We are so happy for the community.”

Kruise Kalispell was launched last spring during Montana’s shelter-in-place mandate. Klindt facilitated a Facebook page via his heating and air business to organize a Friday night car cruise through downtown Kalispell to boost community members’ spirits. The unofficial event continued a few more times throughout the summer, and the organization raised funds for Flathead County 4H and local animal shelters in August.

At the end of February, Chamber officials announced they could no longer sponsor the parades, which cost between $2,000 and $4,000, due to a loss of members, volunteers and financial resources amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have over 11,000 members that have joined our group and just love to do exactly this type of work for our amazing community,” Steward said of Kruise Kalispell. “We want to thank the staff at the Chamber for providing us all of the tools to get right to work and we appreciate their ongoing availability … We are really excited.”

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