Métis Celebration and Powwow returns for Labor Day weekend

Jenny Gessaman
A man and woman are caught in a whirling moment with grasped hands as a crowd watches the smiling, dancing pair.

Frank Jones, left, and Pam Lashmore compete in the jig contest at the 2014 Métis Celebration and Powwow.

Photo by Charlie Denison

Labor Day weekend provides one last chance for the family campout, but in Lewistown it also offers the chance to go to the Métis Celebration and Powwow.

John LaFountain, one of the event organizers, said that while the celebration is sticking to its mainstays, those events promise to be good entertainment for observers and participants alike. He pointed to the traditional Métis jig contest, as well as the waltz and fiddle contests, as strong draws for the celebration.

And the most popular event?

“It depends on who you talk to,” LaFountain said, laughing. “Me, I like the fiddle and the jig. But then you talk to other people, and they just come for the powwow.”

Alisa Herodes travels from Great Falls Friday night’s festivities.

“Friday night is the more traditional-style music and dance,” she said. “It’s the jigging dance, the waltz and the fiddle.”

Herodes is excited to hear the music, and even more excited to see her friend Pam Piche-Lashmore come down from Canada to dance. She added Métis Nation President Clément Chartier would be coming down across the border, too.

LaFountain said the celebration’s atmosphere brings people from across the U.S., too. All four days feature vendors and concessions, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday have contests. Organizers work hard to make the event drug- and alcohol-free.

LaFountain described the character of the celebration as friendly and open. For an example, he pointed to the fact there is often live music on the grounds all day because people just feel like playing.

“Everybody’s welcome, we don’t charge [admission for] anybody,” he said. “A lot of people come just to watch the powwow and hear the music.”

LaFountain expects a good turnout, and is excited to bring back what has become a Labor Day weekend tradition.

“This is our 23rd year, so we must be doing something right,” he said with a laugh.

Métis Celebration and Powwow schedule
*Located at the Central Montana Fairgrounds

• 12 p.m. – Set up begins

• 3 p.m. – Concessions open

• 7 p.m. – Open mic, music and dancing starts

• 11 a.m. – Concessions open

• 7 p.m. – Events begin with the Métis National Anthem

• 8:30 p.m. – Live auction

• 9:15 p.m. – Fiddle, jig and waltz contests

• 12 p.m. – Open registration

• 1 p.m. – Grand Entry Session 1

• 5:30 p.m. – Free dinner (open to the public)

• 7:30 p.m. – Grand Entry Session 2

• 9 a.m. – Kids Rodeo

• 1 p.m. – Grand Entry Session 3

• 3 p.m. – Live and silent auctions

• 5 p.m. – Winners announced



When do you think the snow will finally be melted in Lewistown?