July 9, 2021

31st Annual Lewis & Clark Festival, July 9-11

Discover the World of Lewis and Clark, 1805

The 31st Annual Lewis & Clark Festival, in Great Falls, Montana, promises a weekend full of fun and adventure as visitors re-live the Expedition, the Native cultures they encountered, and how the Corps of Discovery lived and survived. Professional Native American dancers, a black powder rifle demonstration, live snakes and beaver skinning are just a few of the activities and sights in store for visitors! The Festival takes place July 9-11 at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and is organized by the Lewis & Clark Foundation.

Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with Sacagawea and the Corps of Discovery, spent nearly a month in the Great Falls area in June of 1805, having encountered one of their biggest obstacles – the series of waterfalls known as the Great Falls of the Missouri.

Friday, July 9: Meet and Greet Dinner Reception with Dr. Gary Moulton
Tickets are $50 each, or $45 for Portage Route and Lewis & Clark Foundation members. Tickets can be purchased at the Portage Cache Store at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

The Festival kicks off with a dinner reception featuring this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Gary Moulton.
Moulton is perhaps the foremost Lewis and Clark Scholar of our day, and began editing the Lewis and Clark Journals in 1979. He is editor of the 13-volume edition, Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and author of the recently published book, The Lewis and Clark Expedition Day By Day, a synopsis of the significant events from each day of the expedition. The dinner offers an opportunity to meet Dr. Moulton in a more intimate setting at the Celtic Cowboy Restaurant, with a Q and A session.

Saturday, July 10, 10:00 – 5:00: Lewis & Clark Festival activities at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

Thanks to sponsors such as the Portage Route Chapter, Saturday’s Festival events are all free to the public, with a jam-packed day filled with fun family activities. The recent addition of a large shade structure on the grounds at the Center provides for an additional programming venue.

10:00 a.m. – Black Powder Shoot
The Honor Guard will kick off the day with a black powder shoot over the Missouri River at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Lewis and Clark Honor Guard demonstrations
Fire Starting, Cooking Methods of 1805, Beaver Skinning, and Bullet Making.

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. - Lewis and Clark Adventure Challenge
Families with children are invited to participate in the FREE event entitled “The Lewis and Clark Adventure Challenge.” Participants can sign-up and participate anytime between 10am – 2pm on Saturday by simply presenting at the registration table located at the front entrance of the Interpretive Center. This event targets school-age children K-6th grade, but all who are interested are welcome to join in. The event will encompass six different educational activity stations along a 1.2 mile loop hike between the Interpretive Center and Giant Springs State park. Parents can expect about 40 – 60 minutes to complete the entire route with their children. All participants will receive a course map, adventurer backpack, and a memento for their participation.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - Live Snakes Demonstration by Jeremy Allestad
Come down to the Missouri River Shore, near River Camp, to see the live snakes!

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. - Food concessions and arts and crafts vendors will be present.

11:00 a.m. – Native Plant Walk
Dugan Coburn, native plant expert, will lead an ecological walking tour of the grounds at the Center. He will identify and discuss Native American use of plants.
(Walk occurs again at 3:00 p.m.)

1:00 p.m. – Native American Dancers & Drummers
A colorful highlight of the 2021 Festival is Native American dancers and drummers from the Blackfeet Tribe. In the afternoon, Honor Guard programs continue every hour with demonstrations on Navigation and the Practice of Medicine in 1805.

3:00 p.m. – Native Plant Walk
Dugan Coburn, native plant expert, will lead an ecological walking tour of the grounds at the Center. He will identify and discuss Native American use of plants.

4:00 p.m. – Guns of Thunder Live Demonstration
The nationally renowned Lewis and Clark Honor Guard will fire off all of the reproduction firearms in a spectacular Saturday afternoon program, including detailed explanations of where they were acquired, and their use during the expedition. All of the firearms will be loaded and fired with a blank charge. As a staple of military units and a necessity of survival, firearms were essential for the Corps of Discovery.

Saturday, July 10: Lewis & Clark Festival Presentation at the Great Falls High School Auditorium
7:00 p.m. - A Flaw in the Fabled Friendship? Presentation: keynote speaker Dr. Gary Moulton
Sponsored by the Portage Route Chapter

Lewis and Clark were the best of friends and co-commanders of the Expedition, but were there times that their friendship was tested under such a challenging and daunting task? Dr. Moulton explores this theme in his free talk Saturday evening in the Great Falls High School auditorium. Dr. Moulton is editor of the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Thomas C. Sorensen Professor Emeritus of American History at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Sunday, July 11, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Wolf Creek Canyon Float on the Missouri River
The float trip includes a riverside picnic lunch, and departs from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at 10 am by shuttle bus, returning by approximately 5 p.m.
Cost: $99 per person or
$89 per person for Portage Route Chapter members and Lewis & Clark Foundation members

Advanced registration is required, and limited space is available. For more information call 406-452-5661.

Visitors will have a unique opportunity to explore mile after mile of breathtaking scenery from a front row seat in a Missouri River Raft, seeing the same sights as the Expedition experienced more than 200 years ago. The float trip offers a relaxing and scenic float from Mid Canon to Prewett Creek, where guests will experience the scenic grandeur of the Missouri as it meanders through volcanic rock, lining the canyon walls of the Adel Mountains between Great Falls and Helena. The 3 hour float will likely feature a variety of wildlife, including birds, fish, and mammals. Floaters in the past have seen bald eagles, mink, bear, bobcat, moose, and numerous deer on rafts provided by Montana River Outfitters.

For more information on all Lewis & Clark Festival activities, visit www.lewisandclarkfoundation.org, or call the Lewis and Clark Foundation at (406) 452-5661.

Thank You to the Lewis & Clark Festival Sponsors!

Premier Sponsors

Portage Route Chapter
Vision Net

Major In-Kind Sponsors
Cherry Creek Radio

City Motor Company
First Interstate Bank
Hoven Equipment
Montana Credit Union
Mitchell Development
Northwestern Energy
Stockman Bank
US Bank

Roadhouse Diner
Anderson Zurmuehlen

This event is sponsored by:

Vision Net

Lewis & Clark Festival Premier Sponsor

Portage Route Chapter

Lewis & Clark Festival Major Sponsor

ABC FOX Montana

Lewis & Clark Festival Major in-Kind Sponsor

Cherry Creek Media

Lewis & Clark Festival Major In-Kind Sponsor


Lewis & Clark Festival Major In-Kind Sponsor