Midland, a trio of friends from Dripping Springs, Texas and special guest Michael Ray will perform live at the 2018 Montana State Fair July 30. Midland is the embodiment of 70s California country, all smooth Eagles harmonies and heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics, according to a release. Their hit songs include Drinkin Problem and Make a Little. Midland takes the stage at 7:30pm, and until then, more than 1,000 adventures await in Great Falls; how will you create your perfect day in the basecamp?

8am
Before you begin your day, you’ll need a great breakfast, and as the home of Montana’s best coffee, you can’t go wrong with Crooked Tree Coffee and Cakes. Enjoy a scone, bacon egg and cheese biscuit, or (my favorite), a piece of strawberry pie; yes, pie can be a part of a healthy breakfast!

10am
After your breakfast and energizing coffee, why not have an outdoor adventure on the Missouri? Great Falls is the premiere basecamp for fishing! Get quick access to northern pike, walleye, perch, catfish, trout, and bass through our rivers, streams, and lakes. The Missouri and Smith Rivers are internationally known as blue-ribbon trout streams, featuring a mix of rainbow, cutthroat, brook, brown trout, and whitefish. Take a quick (20-30 minute) drive to any spot between Cascade and Wolf Creek to drop a line. Now, bask in the solitude that you can only experience in Great Falls Montana. Be sure to follow the regulations set by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks!

Dearborn

1pm
Lunch is a priority now, and in downtown Great Falls, enjoy a great lunch at Electric City Coffee & Bistro. Don’t let the name fool you; they are more than just great coffee; they offer a lunch menu that includes hot and cold sandwiches (the pesto caprese is my favorite!), salads, and craft beers Montana is known for. Enjoy lunch on the patio, and be sure to brag about your catches!

2pm
What’s a country-western concert and fair without new boots?! Steps from where you enjoyed your lunch, Hoglunds is your one-stop shop for the western gear, including boots, you’ll need. World-renowned for authentic Montana gear (not the cheesy stuff you’ll find in tourist traps around the west), you’ll find everything you need. And who knows, you might spot a celebrity! Bill Murray (who visits pal David Letterman), has been spotted in Hoglunds more than once; who will you see trying on their newest digs?

3pm
Head over to the fairgrounds and take in the sights and sounds; there’s the fried food, desserts, and drinks you’ve come to expect, along with local favorite the Viking. A much-touted meatball on a stick, battered then deep-fried, it is the stuff of legends. After you’ve had your fill, stroll through the Midway to hear a variety of music and take in the sights and sounds. Once your stomach has settled, try your hand at a game to win a sweet prize, or if you’re like me, make a beeline to the carnival. As much as I love the Ferris wheel, I can’t resist the adrenaline-inducing rides; I hope to see you there!

7:15pm
Head inside and enjoy the show!

10pm
After Midland leaves the stage, there’s still action to be found in Great Falls. There’s always a good time to be had at the world-famous Sip n Dip Lounge, especially during the fair, where’ there’s always an after-party! The #1 bar IN THE WORLD worth flying for, home to Montana’s only live mermaid show, and Montana’s best rum drink, you’re guaranteed a great time! Oh, I forgot to mention that while you’re enjoying all of this, mermaids and mermen swim in the mid-century modern pool behind the bar. You never know who might turn up; the original mermaid, Darryl Hannah, has been seen here!

There are plenty of great options for staying close to the action. Check out a list of lodging properties for staying in Montana’s Basecamp that will make your trip memorable.