Flint Creek Valley Days: Philipsburg, Montana

Flint Creek Valley Days in Philipsburg, Montana is the kind of small town festival where everyone is involved–even the tourists. This was our fourth. The highlight for me is always Saturday’s. People park their trucks and hatchbacks on Broadway (the main street) with hatches up and gates down for the best view. Kids come with empty shopping bags ready for when the candy flies. Every one who is in the parade throws salt water taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Dum Dum lollipops and bubble gum into the crowd while waving and calling out to friends and neighbors. Anyone with a business is in the parade along with various clubs.

The other big draw is Sunday’s car show. I’m not an huge car person, but these are beauties. My favorites are the cars that people add extras to show them off such as an old-fashioned car hop tray, the kind that you used to get at a restaurant with a Drive-in.

This year, a week ago today, while I waited for the parade to start, I sat next to a lovely older woman who shared the back of her open hatchback with me while she told me town news. She grew up in Philipsburg and recalled stories when the mines were in full swing. Over the years she’s seen the town shrink and expand with the economic times.

Besides the main parade there’s a kiddie parade on Friday night where kids dress up and ride or walk through town before ending up at a carnival. We missed it this year, but this was one of my son’s high points when he was three. My Flint Creek Valley Days high point was a few years ago when I ran in the 5K and got ribbon.

A pancake breakfast, a logging competition and live bands on Friday and Saturday night add markers of things to do in between moseying down the street browsing the vendors’ wares and picking up some street food. If you’re thinking of visiting Philipsburg, this is one of the liveliest weekends of the summer. It’s always the last weekend in July. Here is a list of other town events–some past and others still to come.