Summer time at Flathead Lake brings countless hours of sunshine, sunburn (if you're not carefully applying sunscreen) and, of course, cherries. 

Wait, cherries? Cherries in Montana? It's true. The Flathead Valley's warm days and cool evenings are just the right climate for producing sweet, sweet cherries. 

After the spring blossoms and fruit and labor comes the annual Polson Main Street Flathead Cherry Festival. Polson’s Main Street is closed down and filled up with more than 100 vendors; along with downtown businesses there will be something for everyone.

Mark your calendars for July 15 and 16. On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., trucks of tasty cherries, homemade cherry pies, pastries, lemonade, aprons, quilts, jams, jewelry and everything cherry imaginable will be available. Vendors and businesses will delight with the unusual, and shopping will be a great experience.

Flathead cherries

Rainier cherries ripen on a tree at Glacier Fresh Orchards on Flathead Lake.

To keep up the energy there will be food, food and more food. Check out local hangouts downtown and food vendors. Don’t worry about gaining a pound or two; you can walk it off exploring all the fantastic merchandise.

Don't worry about the kids – or the kids at heart. The North Lake County Public Library will have coloring for both adults and kids. The cherry contests will thrill, and more than $400 in downtown gift certificates will be awarded as prizes. Saturday is the only day you legally can spit downtown at the children's and adults pit spitting contest. Plus, don't forget the cherry pie eating contest. 

Cherry quilts from the cherry quilt contest will be on display in storefront windows throughout the weekend. The Great Scott Bagpipers will stroll the Main Street at 1 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, the Shamrockers will stroll the streets with their music. Bring the family to downtown Polson on Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16, for a fun-filled family event, rated one of the largest festivals in the state. Check out the website for times and details.

While in the area, don’t forget to stop into Polson's Miracle of America Museum’s Annual Live History Days, also July 15 and 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exhibitors include wood carving, leatherworking, pine needle weaving, old time music, free blood pressure tests in the vintage medical building, rides on the trains and military vehicles, sawmilling demonstrations, shingle sawing, blacksmithing, tennis ball cannon, flint napping, food and ice cream treats served from the vintage soda foundation. Go to or 406-270-7895.

Polson cherry fest

Linda Sappington of the Valley Journal took this photo of the 2015 Flathead Cherry Festival in Polson.