CHESTER — The second annual Hi-Line Harvest Festival is taking place in Chester this weekend.
The community festival was started by Peyton Cole last year. Cole was born and raised in Chester, and after moving to Missoula for college, moved back due to the COVID pandemic. Once back home, she decided she wanted to put together a festival for the community.
“I want to make it more about our community and agriculture and celebrating that,” Cole said, “Like I said earlier, there's not a lot of opportunity for us to come together as a community here on the Hi Line, there's not a lot going on here. We don't just get live music every day here… But I also want it to be educational, to share what other farmers and producers are doing, talk about key components happening in agriculture, really highlight local food.”
Cole wanted to do something unique for the small town, and it’s highlighted in the events they have.
“Yeah, we just have really unique events going on,” Cole said, “I don't know a lot of other larger scale events happening in Montana where you have events like this.”
Friday includes a meat smoking competition and corn hole tournament, as well as a record release party.
“It's a collaborative record featuring local artists from in and around the Hi Line,” Cole said, “And we gave them an opportunity to do something that they wouldn't otherwise get to do unless they left Chester.”
The record is called “On the Hi-Line, Volume 1”. It can be streamed online, or you can buy a CD or vinyl record at the festival.
Saturday’s events start at one and include tug of war, seed spitting contests, and bed races. The festival is a fun way for the community to come together and support itself in the harvesting season.
“We are about 40 to 100 miles to the next big town, right?” Cole said, “So a lot of the local businesses, it's really important to support those because we'd have to travel a long way to find those services. And also, you'd have to go a long way to spend time with your friends or family. So why don't we do that here?”