Fourth of July Weekend Features Flathead Valley Festivities

Events start on Friday with the beginning of the Whitefish Arts Festival, and continue into the next week when the Bigfork Summer Rodeo’s four-night run kicks off on July 5.

By Mike Kordenbrock
Fireworks explode during the annual Fourth of July celebration at Whitefish City Beach. Beacon File Photo

Multiple parades and fireworks shows are planned around the Flathead Valley for Fourth of July weekend, anchoring a slate of festivities that includes a 5k, barbecue, and even an arts festival.

 One of the first events of the weekend is the Whitefish Arts Festival, which kicks off July 1 and is expected to feature more than 100 artist booths, and a food court. An early taste of fireworks can be had on the night of July 2, with the fireworks show at the Polson fairgrounds.

When the Fourth of July rolls around on Monday, choices will have to be made. Parades are planned in Bigfork, Kalispell and Polson, with fireworks shows taking place that night in Whitefish and Lakeside.

For more information check out the following event listings:

Fourth of July Events


11th Annual Grateful Nation Montana Freedom 5k: Check in and walkups begin at 8 a.m. at the green space near Lake Baked. Race begins at 9 a.m. The event is for runners and walkers, and raises funds for the children of Montana military servicemembers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The signup cost is $20. 

Parade: This year’s theme is “Community First.” The parade officially starts at noon on July 4, with members of the military leading the way before pausing at the Bigfork Inn to present colors for a singing of the National Anthem.

Parking will be in a field at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 82. A free shuttle service will be available from the parking area to downtown Bigfork from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Downtown Bigfork will be closed to regular traffic after 8 a.m.

Parade lineup is on a first-come first-serve basis, beginning at 9 a.m. and closing at 11 a.m. Judges evaluating floats will be looking at originality, craftsmanship, entertainment value, and interpretation of theme.

Bigfork VFW BBQ: This event is free to the public and runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bigfork VFW Post 4042 is located across the street from Harvest Foods, at 8098 Montana Highway 35. Donations are accepted. Live music from Craig Barton and The Hwy 93 Band.

Bigfork Summer Rodeo: The rodeo runs from July 5 through July 8. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., with shows starting at 7 p.m. There will be food vendors, free parking, live music and a kids area. Located at 2840 Mt Hwy 82. July 5 is show your colors night, and attendees are encouraged to wear red, white and blue. July 6 is free for veterans and active duty military. July 7 is free for kids age 12 and under. July 8 there will be a live concert immediately after the rodeo. 


 Parade: This Fourth of July parade is hosted by the Flathead Marines. The parade will go from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information or to sign up, Patrick Ward can be contacted at 406-249-2448 or at [email protected]


Fireworks: The Lakeside-Somers Chamber of Commerce expects a 20-minute show beginning at 11 p.m. on July 4. Fireworks are launched from a floating barge off the shore of Lakeside. The fireworks show is officially located at the Lakeside marina. The chamber is continuing to accept donations for the event.


Fireworks: The fireworks show at the Polson Fairgrounds will run from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 2.

Parade: This event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Polson on July 4.


43rd Annual Whitefish Arts Festival: This arts festival sponsored by Whitefish Christian Academy goes from July 1 through July 3. The festival is located at Depot Park, at the corner of Central Avenue and Railway Street. Admission is free and there will be over 100 artist booths and a food court. The festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 1 and July 2, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 3.

Fireworks: The show runs from 9:45 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. The fireworks for this show will be launched from a floating barge in Whitefish Lake about 300 feet off the shore of Whitefish City Beach. Parking is expected to be limited, and people are encouraged to walk, bike, or take a free shuttle service running between downtown Whitefish and City Beach from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Buses load on Central Avenue in front of the O’Shaughnessy Cultural Arts Center.