From baubles to birdhouses to backscratchers, the 35th annual Artists and Craftsmen of the Flathead summer show, currently at Kalispell Courthouse Park, has something for everyone.
A brief stroll through the grounds is a feast for the all senses. To your left, vivid stained glass suncatchers contrast with ornately carved rustic furniture. Up ahead, life-like paintings act as portals to vast prairies and jutting peaks. Behind you, dozens of candles emanate a sweet, honeyed aroma that mingles with the scent of handmade soap.
The sheer variety is a lot to take in — but it’s become a point of pride for the festival’s artists. “It’s really got a little bit of everything,” said Kim Rose of Roseworks, Montana, who creates wildlife-inspired copper art and jewelry alongside her husband, John.
The festival’s diversity is one of its greatest draws, she said.
“Some of the regulars come back to see different designs we’ve made,” Rose added.
Jeremy Mays, owner of Simply Amaysing Woodworking, shares this sentiment. “Every show, you see something different,” he said.
Mays, a retired Air Force veteran, values the festival as a creative outlet. “Once I retired, I was looking for something to do,” he said. “Woodworking eventually became my hobby, and then my passion.”
The show is “a great way to display talents,” said Tamra Hughes, a painter whose rich, detailed depictions of the natural world covered every inch of her tent. The festival’s presence is a boon for many of the artists in the valley, providing a rare platform for both exposure and artistic expression.
No two artists at the summer show are alike, and no two products identical. But there’s a common theme embedded within each artist’s booth: an unflinching pride for Montana.
Paintings depict scenes from local vistas. Elaborate carvings showcase the regional flora. Iridescent jewelry shine with the hues of Glacier National Park.
Stained glass artist Sheri M. Burden has attended the summer show for over 30 years, and praises the continued community support for the event “It’s the nicest festival of the whole year.”
The Artists and Craftsmen of the Flathead summer show is open at Kalispell Courthouse Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and food and drinks are available.