Sweet Pea Festival winds down, gives boost to Bozeman economy

Posted at 4:23 PM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 18:23:09-04

BOZEMAN – The 41st Annual Sweet Pea Festival wrapped up Sunday with lots of music, food and crafts.

Each year the music and arts festival is held in downtown Bozeman and brings in around 15,000 people over the weekend, and their wallets along with them.

“We had an economic impact study done about 4 years ago, but people go to school here, they move and go back home or they move away and come back. This is a giant weekend for people to come here. Four years ago they estimated that our economic impact over the Sweet Pea Week is $1.7 million. Just our little festival, so it is great for the Bozeman community businesses,” said Festival Director Kris Olenicki.

The festival ended with Shakespeare in the Park from 5 to 7 p.m Sunday evening.

BOZEMAN – The second day of the 41st Annual Sweet Pea Festival started on Saturday with kids rushing down the street for the Sweet Pea Kids Run, followed by the Sweet Pea Parade.

“Well, we always have to go to the Sweet Pea Parade, that’s just a given,” said Jeannie Haight, who has been attending the festival since the early 80s.

Every year the parade is a staple of the festival, bringing thousands to Main Street to celebrate art and creativity. This year’s theme was Valley of the Flowers. Bikers, Drummer, Dancers, and even dogs of all breeds strutted down the street as the crowd cheered and waved.

After the parade finished, the next stop was Lindley Park. A kids station was set up for little ones to make crafts, multiple food vendors to satisfy anyone’s cravings, and music from artists from all over the state and nation. In the span of the weekend, 15,000 people will come together to celebrate the arts.

“I mean it is just, for me it touches your soul, you know. It is obvious with Bozeman, it is a great community to begin with but art always improves your quality of life and I think Bozeman, we just know we have a great place to live and art just adds to it,” said Festival Director Kris Olenicki.

For some it is a family event. Sisters Melanie Trost and Gloria Goodrich traveled from Great Falls and Helena to listen to music and to buy sweet peas.

“Oh we do a lot of stuff together so it is always fun,” said Goodrich.

“We do, we have a great time together, and this is just another special day in our book of memories,” said Trost.

The Sweet Pea Festival is a non-profit organization and all of the money raised from the event is put back into the community through various grants and education projects.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News