Great Falls is your basecamp for adrenaline-pumping adventures this summer. On the weekend of a lifetime, July 22nd and 23rd, the US Air Force Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Team will perform. In celebration of the Montana Air National Guard’s 70th anniversary, the flight over the falls show will feature the elite Thunderbirds, who have the privilege and responsibility to perform for people all around the world, displaying the pride, precision, and professionalism of American Airmen.
In every hour-long demonstration, the team combines years of training and experience with an attitude of excellence to showcase what the Air Force is all about. The sharply choreographed, drill-style ground ceremony kicks off the demonstration by showcasing the attention to detail and esprit de corps that defines our enlisted members. As the jets take to the skies and fly only a few feet from wingtip to wingtip, the crowd gets a glimpse of the awesome skills and capabilities that fighter pilots possess. The solo pilots integrate their own routine, exhibiting the capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon – the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet.
Millions of people have witnessed the Thunderbirds demonstrations, and in turn, they’ve seen the pride, professionalism, and dedication of hundreds of thousands of Airmen serving at home and abroad. Each year brings another opportunity for the team to represent those who deserve the most credit: the everyday, hard-working Airmen voluntarily serving America and defending freedom. This pride will be on full display at the Montana Air National Guard ramp, and you won’t want to miss seeing the Thunderbirds in Montana. Beginning at 10 am, the airshow will feature stunts, races, and tricks not seen in Montana in recent years, and action that gets your blood pumping.
After the airshow, head into scenic downtown Great Falls, less than 15 minutes from the airshow to experience the best in Montana hospitality at Montana’s best Irish Pub. Enjoy a famous bison burger, a pint and authentic Irish music, then walk off your meal with a stroll through downtown to experience the best Urban art in the state. Take your time at Gibson Park, located in the heart of downtown, visit the geese, take in the sculptures and easily access the River’s Edge Trail. Along the 57 miles of trail, you will find 22 innovative works of art, all 5 of Great Falls’ water falls, the scenic views of the Missouri and that vast Big Sky Montana is famous for.
Come in a day ahead of the Thunderbirds show and experience stock car racing at the Electric City Speedway. On Friday, July 21st, the Electric City Speedway will host the Late Model Clash #2 and Street Stock Special. With so much excitement you can’t fence it in, prepare to watch drivers from the region race along a custom track overlooking the Missouri River. It’s the perfect way to begin your action-packed weekend in Great Falls.
Just like the Kentucky Derby, you can bet on the ponies during the horse racing at Montana ExpoPark. For 2 days, July 22nd and July 23rd, horse racing takes center stage beginning at 1 pm each day, the Great Falls Turf Club hosts jockey’s and horses from around the Northwest to bring the thrill of live racing to the fans.
No trip to Great Falls is complete without a trip to the World Famous Sip ‘n Dip Lounge – the bar GQ ranked as #1 bar worth flying for. While at the Sip ‘n Dip, relax with Montana’s Best Tiki Drink while you watch Montana’s ONLY LIVE Mermaid show, and sing along with Piano Pat, a staple in the live music scene in Great Falls.
With all this action, take some time to unwind at Giant Springs State Park. Giant Springs was discovered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 and is one of the largest freshwater springs in the country. The springs flow at a rate of 156 million gallons of water per day and the water stays at a temperature of 54 degrees. This is also the site of the Roe River, once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s shortest river. Dip deeper into the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the Interpretive Center, which houses North America’s most extensive display of the entire expedition.
The breathtaking landscapes surrounding Great Falls will certainly renew your spirit before you head home, and the memories you create will provide stories to share for a lifetime. Plan now! These events will draw people from around the country to Great Falls for an action-packed weekend.