Top Ten Helena Events Summer 2023

Rainbow flag with the word PEACE in the foreground, parade crowd in the background.

By Chelsea Paschall

Welcome to Montana’s Hometown, here are Visit Helena’s Top Ten Events for Summer 2023! Whether making a stop between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park via Helena, or planning a Summertime getaway, these recommendations are a small selection of the inspiring variety of music, live theater, arts and outdoor recreation events Helena has to offer. Discover more diverse offerings on our Event Page, and join the community as we make the most of the season.

Local talent adds to the festive atmosphere of the Farmers’ Market downtown on Fuller Avenue.

#10: Helena Farmers’ Market

Saturdays May – October

The Helena Farmers’ Market is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!  The market stretches two full blocks in downtown Helena, drawing over 350 Montana vendors rotating through the season. Local farmers, food vendors and artisans bring their Montana-made products downtown for the community to delight in. Insider tip: Bring your reusable bags & cups to support the sustainability of the market.

Saturdays 9:00AM – 1:00PM

Bonus: The Capital Square Farmers’ Market

Tuesdays June 25 – September 24

The Capitol Square Farmers Market brings together gardening, crafting, and produce vendors on the South Side of the Capitol for all to enjoy!  Take a walk through the square, join one of the exercise classes offered, and enjoy a delicious local meal provided by Helena’s food trucks. A great place for a mid-week refresh. Insider tip: Allow time to share a conversation with the vendors.

Tuesdays 2:30PM – 6:30PM

#9: Blast from the Past Car Show and Drag Races

June 23 – June 25

The 18th Annual Blast from the Past Car Show and Drag Races is a showcase of some of the nicest cars and motorcycles in the Pacific Northwest. Along with the car show and races there’s live music, contests and a barbeque. Insider tip: As many people make a day of the event, prepare for long food lines, pack some snacks.

#8: Dess Fest

Experience a genuine welcome at this grass roots country music festival, just a short drive from Helena. Located at Lone Pine Hollow where you can enjoy outdoor recreation, camping, vendors and dance to 7+ bands. Insider tip: This party is in a field, warm comfortable shoes and layers.

Lewis & Clark Tap Room featuring two days & nights of live music at their annual block party.

#7: Lewis & Clark Block Party

July 22-23

This annual Block Party and Brewery Open House is celebrating its 21st year, and yes it’s still FREE! Two days of multiple bands rocking live music in the new outdoor event space, brewery tours, food trucks and a special brew tapped for the event. Insider tip: Even though the event is free, it’s still ticketed and can sell out, so get your ticket early. Also, the brewery tour is definitely worth it!

#Bonus: Prickly Pear Land Trust Block Party

July 27

What’s better than a Block Party? Another one! The Prickly Pear Land Trust will be having their annual Block Party alongside Ten Mile Creek Brewery, Big Dipper Ice Cream, The Hawthorn, The Hopper and The Rialto. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and your whole crew down to the Gulch to enjoy live music and celebrate our beloved trails and open lands. Insider tip: Since the is a party celebrating the trail system that the Pricky Pear Land Trust dedicates their efforts to, go for a hike before and enjoy the views of Helena.

#6: Beyond the Big Sky

June 23 & 24, July 21 & 22, August 11 &12

This event was such a hit last year, the Montana Learning Center (MLC) has added additional nights this year. The MLC opens its observatories to the public at sunset on their campus along the banks of stunning Canyon Ferry Lake. The evening starts with a presentation from one of MLC’s astronomy experts, after which attendees have the opportunity to use their newfound knowledge to better appreciate the night skies as they gaze through one of MLC’s state-of-the art telescopes. Insider tips: It is recommended to bring red flashlights or headlamps, a camp chair for speaker presentations and a warm blanket, hat and gloves since most nights are cool on the lake.

#5: Wake the Giant Music and Color Festival

August 25 – 26

The third annual Wake the Giant Music and Color Festival is now a two-day event celebrating inclusion in the community. Day 1 will be held at the Lewis & Clark Taproom and day 2 will take place at West Mont’s 34-acre Farm & Gardens venue in the Helena valley. The Montana-based festival will benefit individuals with disabilities, feature local talent, and incorporate farm-themed activities and goods. Enjoy the best of Helena while supporting a noble cause. Insider tip: Day 2 is going to include a color throw, if you plan to participate wear clothing that you don’t mind getting colorful.

Music and beer samples featuring breweries from across Montana at Helena’s Memorial Park.

#4: Montana Brewer’s Summer Rendezvous

August 5

Taste beer from the far reaches of the state and celebrate all things local with the Montana Brewers Summer Rendezvous. Featuring musical guests and only Montana-made craft beer. Live music, a collectible glass and samples of Montana craft beer are all included with the ticket. That’s right, no waiting in line to buy beer tokens at this brewfest! Insider tip: The Summer Rendezvous takes place in Memorial Park where there is plenty of space to set up camp chairs, so gather your friends and make a day of it and remember your refillable water bottle.

Rodeo cowboy competing in front of a sold-out crowd at the Last Chance Stampede & Fair at the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds.

#3: Last Chance Stampede & Fair

July 27 – 30

The 63rd Last Chance Stampede brings a pro rodeo, concerts, carnival, fair exhibits, vendors, and delicious fair food to the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. The Last Chance Stampede and Fair is a great place to make memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime! This year’s concert headliners are Nelly (7/26) and Diamond Rio (7/29). Be sure to catch the Last Chance Stampede Parade at High Noon in Downtown Helena on 7/29. Insider tip: This event brings in large crowds and sells out, get your tickets ahead of time and arrive early.

#2: Montana Pride – 30th Anniversary!

July 30 – August 6

A whole week of events celebrating Pride! Montana Pride is a weeklong rainbow of events throughout town, culminating in the 2023 Montana Pride Parade and Rally on Saturday, August 5 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Insider tip: The parade starts promptly so arrive early.

Maestro Scott leads the Helena Symphony in the Symphony Under the Stars performance at Carroll College.

#1: Symphony Under the Stars

July 15

Listening to the Helena Symphony, watching the sun set in our big Montana sky and enjoying a picnic – sounds like the Symphony Under the Stars.  This event is free and in case you need another reason, it culminates with a fantastic fireworks show! This year’s theme is The Great Ladies of Jazz. Insider tip: This event makes a big splash in Helena, drawing a large crowd, if you’re meeting up with people be sure to have an organized spot & time, or noticeable marker like a flag and make friends with your event neighbors.

Bonus: Alive at Five

Wednesdays June 7 – August 23

Wednesdays in the months of June, July and August visit various parks and locations through Downtown Helena for live music, great food, crafts, family fun. Alive at Five is a vibrant staple in our community and every performance supports a different local nonprofit.  Wednesdays, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM. Insider tip: Hit up the food trucks early.

Click here for a complete list of Helena events.