By Brian Hurlbut

Big Sky has been chosen as one
of four Montana communities to
receive a total of $80,000 in grant
funding from the Montana Office
of Tourism’s Special Events Grant
Program (SEGP), through the Montana
Department of Commerce.
The Montana communities of Big
Sky, Butte, Hardin and Trout Creek
will use the SEGP funds to assist
in the marketing and promotion of
tourism-related events. Commerce
Director Dore Schwinden approved
the SEGP grant funding for the four
Montana events following recommendations
from Department of
Commerce staff and representatives
of Montana’s public and private
businesses.
“Fairs, festivals and special events
emphasize the character and heart
of our Montana communities,” says
Schwinden. “These grants help
ensure that Montana’s communities
have the resources available to draw
travelers near and far to experience
and enjoy our distinctive celebrations.”
The Arts Council of Big Sky applied
for and received a $6,000
award for its upcoming Classical
Music Festival in the summer of
2011. The three-day event will
bring nationally recognized classical
artists to Big Sky for a weekend
of free music.
“We are extremely excited that
Big Sky was selected from a distinguished
group of applicants,” says
Ginna Hermann, President of the
Arts Council of Big Sky. “The Classical
Music Festival will be a great
event for Big Sky, and the grant
will help us effectively market the
festival and get people to spend
time enjoying beautiful music in
Big Sky.”
Other communities receiving
2011 SEGP award funding include
Butte for the Montana Folk Festival
($50,000); Hardin for the Custer’s
Last Stand Reenactment ($13,550);
and Trout Creek for its Huckleberry
Festival ($10,450).
“Hosting special events serves as
an important catalyst to bringing
visitors into our downtowns and
main streets,” says Schwinden. “It
is these 10 million annual visitors
whose $2 billion in spending helps
support our myriad of small Montana
businesses.”
The SEGP was developed in 2002 to
assist communities with economic
development through the creation
and/or enhancement of new annual,
on-going events. Grant funds are
available for event marketing and
promotion outside a 100-mile radius
of the event. To date, the SEGP
program has provided $657,500 in
grant funding to 81 events in numerous
Montana communities.
For more information on the Big
Sky Classical Music Festival, contact
the Arts Council of Big Sky at
(406) 995-2742.