Over the last few weeks we have been itching to visit some sort of fair or festival. The problem was we could never quite make the days work. A week too early for the Wyoming State Fair, a week too late for the Western Montana State Fair and so on. In researching our route west from Glacier, we finally found an event that looked promising and would fit our schedule. A ski area called Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint Idaho was having their 20th annual Fall Fest. After a bit more research, we discovered Schweitzer welcomed RV’s to spend the night in one of their parking lots at no charge. Perfect. Of the eight bands, 2 of the interesting ones were playing on Monday, so we decided to make an entire weekend of it and spend 3 nights in their parking lot. The music was free, so the only charge for the weekend would be what ever beer we drank and food we ate.
Our plans had us leaving Glacier NP on Thursday morning, so we broke up the drive to Sandpoint and spent one more night in Montana at an unremarkable town park in Libby. We arrived at the start of the Fest on Saturday morning, gaining an hour from the jump of Mountain to Pacific timezones and grabbed a spot along the edge of the parking lot. About 15 of us RV’s spent the nights on Saturday and Sunday, though this Monday evening looks to be us and one or two others.
The beer portion of the fest was just a single tent with 50 taps and resort employees manning them. While all the beer was northwest micro-brews and we enjoyed what we drank, there was little signage and no real way to quite figure out what type of beer you were getting. We both opted for the pint glasses with a few refill tokens rather than the massive 32+ oz octoberfest style beer stein.
The music stage was set up at the other side of the intimate court yard that was surrounded by rather new lodges and resort housing. Everything was quite laid back with folks drinking beer, fun stuff for kids and lots of dogs in attendance. We caught the middle of the 3 music acts; Adrian Xavier who had a dub, reggae rock and roll sound.
Sunday we decided we needed some exercise before we could drink more beer. What better way than a 5 mile hike to the top of the ski trails and back. After all the hikes in the national parks where Phin was not allowed, we could finally take him along. As he is getting up there in the years, we were a little worried about the distance and elevation gain. He did awesome though and seemed like he was ready to do it again this morning. At the top of the hike, we joined all the lazy drunks who payed $12 a piece to ride the chair lift to the top. Slackers. I can understand it though, the views of all the surrounding mtns and lake down by Sandpoint was most excellent. The lack of any rain left the trails very very dusty. Phin rolled in it and just hiking in it left us all covered from the waist down in dust. Upon our return and rinsing off dust, we felt we deserved a pizza dinner from the Pizza Chariot. Oh and beer.
Monday brought more beer and music. With Amanda’s Airstream made lunch and our folding chairs, we staked out a spot on the lawn and listened to some great music. While drinking beer of course. I felt a little bad for the two acts as the crowd was a third to half the size it was the previous two days. First up was a local band, Not Quite Punk. Their name describes them well. Swing, Ska, Rock n Roll.. They really played well together.
I was most interested in checking out the last act of the weekend. A folk-punk band that goes by the name “Larry & his flask”. They are an extremely high energy group of 6 guys who all play acoustic instruments. Punk sounds coming from a drummer, two guitars, an upright base, a mandolin and a banjo. Two switched over to trumpet and trombone now and then, plus a Tuba made an appearance. It was great. I tried to get a video of this spectacle and the amount of energy these guys put into a show, but apparently I was standing a bit too close to the speaker. This guy got some good footage.
Our next time through we promise to stay and explore more of what Idaho has to offer. Tomorrow we will move on and spend another night of free camping at a casino outside of Spokane Washington.