By Bella Butler COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENT EDITOR
BIG SKY—On April 19, the community of Big Sky celebrated the originally scheduled Big Sky Resort closing day in a creative way. The annual staple event, pond skim, did not occur, nor were there spring turns on the sunny south face of Lone Mountain—but a party was had, nonetheless.
A brigade of colorfully decorated cars—a rough count estimated upwards of 200—filled with people clothed in their finest costumes snaked through Town Center and up the mountain in a vibrant show of resilience and community spirit. Aptly dubbed the Big Sky CAREavan, the event was a heartfelt hour of connection.
The parade moved to a playlist, curated by Arts Council of Big Sky Executive Director Brian Hurlbut and broadcasted in each vehicle via The Eagle 104.7 FM radio station. Between jovial songs like the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!),” familiar local voices came across the radio waves to address the community on behalf of businesses and organizations, encouraging people to donate to Big Sky Relief. A Big Sky Relief fundraising goal has been set in accordance with the Big Sky CAREavan of $11,166, symbolic of the elevation of Lone Mountain.
As families and friends followed one another up the winding road, spectators watched from pullouts, waving and blowing kisses. The parade made a detour through the parking lot of the Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center, where an eruption of cheers and honking serenaded health care workers standing in the parking lot.
Up at Big Sky Resort, cars filtered through a makeshift photo booth, where photographer Kirby Grubaugh captured sweet and silly moments. A donation of $25 is suggested to obtain Grubaugh’s photos from the Big Sky Relief website.
“It blew my mind how much energy people put into decorating their cars and getting dressed up,” said Tallie Lancey, the event’s organizer. “I was completely overwhelmed with positivity at the beginning of the parade watching so many smiling families listening to the radio.”
Lancey is now hoping other community members will work on bringing creative community celebrations to fruition. “All it takes is a little bit of vision and a lot of gumption,” she remarked.
To cap off the excitement, participants were encouraged to return to their homes and tune into local musician Brian Stumpf’s weekly live show “Stumpy Sundays.” Despite the economic and cultural disappointment of Big Sky Resort’s early closure, the Big Sky CAREavan unified a community in celebration. It was a display of fight—the fight for the right to party.