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The Sweet Pea Festival will continue - but it's going to look a little different this year

The festival is in its 43rd year
Posted at 1:02 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 16:09:20-04

BOZEMAN — The Sweet Pea Festival in Bozeman brings in thousands every year to celebrate the arts.

This year, the event is scheduled to continue, but it’s to be a little different than the past 42 years.

“This isn’t an easy festival to put on. We do it all year year. We plan all year long,” said Kris Olenicki, Executive Director with the Sweet Pea Festival.

Throw in a global pandemic, and planning becomes even more difficult.

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“The fact of the matter is we can’t as a community even get together in groups of more than 10 people. Sweet Pea definitely does not fit that criteria,” said Olenicki.

The event usually brings around 15,000 people to Lindley Park every year to enjoy art, food, music and crafts for the entire family. And according to the Sweet Pea office,the festival usually brings in around $1.7 million to the Bozeman economy every year.

While the festival isn't until early August, how do you plan a large-scale event when we’re still only in phase one?

“We are not even in the phase of recovery that will even get the permits to do it,” said Olenicki.

“We had to think about when we’re making the decision if people come from out of state they have to stay for 2 weeks currently for quarantine.”

But the good news is, the festival will go on. The art show, flower show and kids chalk on the walk will continue with social distancing measures.

And the board of directors is currently coming up with new events, and is asking for public input if there's a good idea out there.

“We are talking about you know different ways to do everything from music to beer gardens to theatre and dance. I’m sure we’ll do something virtually, but we’ve got some other really great ideas about how to do other events and do things differently,” said Olenicki.

And if you’re wondering about the festival staple food item, known as the tater pig, there’s still hope for fans of the treat:

“Well we might be working on a way to do that!”