Bright skies bless Buck Creek Festival

Sunny skies and relatively mild spring temperatures drew tens of thousands of visitors to Old Town Helena May 7-8 as the city celebrated its annual Buck Creek Festival.

Dozens of vendors packed the city as live music and laughter filled the air during what is usually Helena’s largest event of the year.

“Oh my gosh, we had such a great weekend,” said Place 3 Helena Councilwoman Cris Nelson, who worked to organize the festival.

“The crowds we had Friday night and all day Saturday were just unbelievable,” Nelson added. “We were blessed with good weather both days.”

In the past, the festival has drawn crowds of more than 20,000 to the northern Shelby County city, but the 2010 crowd may turn out to be the biggest turnout in the event’s history, Nelson said.

“I’m still waiting to get some numbers back from the Police Department to get a solid attendance count,” Nelson said May 10. “They kept a count of all the parking lots we used, and of course we had the shuttle running all weekend.

“I can’t remember a single time Friday or Saturday when the crowds were down,” Nelson added.

Throughout the free event, local vendors sold wares of all kinds, and bands like Mustang Sally and Jason D. Williams treated the crowds to a plethora of live music.

Once Nelson and other festival organizers calculate the cost of the festival, they will donate any surplus money generated to local charities and schools, like Safe House, the Kiwanis Club of Helena, the American Cancer Society and Helena Middle School.

“It will take us a few more days to calculate everything up,” Nelson said. “But once we have paid all of our bills, we will work to get any extra money to those organizations.”

Nelson said she was thankful for everyone who was involved with the festival, and is already looking forward to next year’s.

“We are very pleased and very thankful for everyone who came out,” Nelson said. “We are very appreciative to our sponsors, who kept the event free for everyone.

“And of course, I am very thankful for all of our volunteers,” she added. “The weekend wouldn’t have happened without them.”