A longtime Havre tradition takes place this weekend. The community will celebrate the 32nd Festival Days.
The highlight is the parade Saturday morning, but events are planned all weekend. New Festival Days events are added every year.
People plan their vacations around Festival Days. Young people who have moved to other towns return to Havre. snowbirds who migrate to the South make sure they are in town through Festival Days.
Hotels are packed, and restaurants will be full. Convenience stores have extra people working.
But the business bonanza is only a small part of what Festival Days means to Havre.
The festivities are the culmination of the special spirit that is Havre. It is Americana and Montana at its best.
Longtime residents mix with newcomers and people who moved out of town years ago.
Some of the activities outdate Festival Days itself.
Generations of some families have attended the Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast or have purchased tickets for the Shriners’ beef raffle — and have yet to win.
And some of the events are brand new this year. People might want to try out the play “A Night on the Town with Shorty, George, Jim and the Gang,” being put on tonight by the Hill County Community Foundation.
The play presents some interesting moments in the early history of Havre, when it was a wild place.
Festival Days symbolizes another important aspect of Havre life — volunteerism.
The Havre Area Chamber of commerce organizes the parade and the commercial arts program at the Great Northern Fairgrounds. Everything else is put on by community groups and businesses.
Volunteers handle everything else. They flip the pancakes, run the softball tournament and organize the Demolition Derby.
So, if you haven’t volunteered for any of the events, make sure you go out to enjoy yourself. And while you are there, you might see something you would enjoy volunteering for next year.