The annual Chokecherry Festival, held in Lewistown on the first Saturday following Labor Day, celebrates the harvest of the little dark red berry found on a hardy bush growing around Lewistown.
In the summer, groupings of these bitter green berries slowly ripen to the plump, dark red jewel we prize at harvest. The berry was named 'choke'cherry because of the bitter taste of the fruit. Even in its ripe condition, sugar must be added for any chokecherry dish to be palatable.
On the day of the festival, Lewistown closes down its Main Street, and it is lined with 250+ vendor booths full of items ranging from specialty foods, baked goods, retail and art, to wood products, garden fresh produce and other unique items.
Vendors join Lewistown's existing year-round businesses in welcoming the meandering public to enjoy the beautiful Downtown Lewistown. The festival is usually blessed with a beautiful fall, day but always be prepared for any kind of weather--it can change fast in Montana!
Early morning begins with a pancake breakfast, served by the local Kiwanis club, featuring hearty foods and, of course, plenty of chokecherry syrup! The morning's 5k run/walk and 10k run offer opportunities for everyone to work off the tasty breakfast.
The festival continues with the chokecherry culinary contest featuring a variety of chokecherry cuisine made fresh by community members.
Seasoned veterans of the chokecherry spitting contest line up to display the skill with which they make the little seed fly. Each year, the contestants who spit their seeds the farthest are crowned king and queen, earning a royal place in the history of the event..
Lewistown's Chokecherry Festival is a fun time for anyone looking to experience a one-of-a-kind small town celebration.
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