Butte allows camping in parks for folk festival, volunteers needed
BUTTE, Mont. - Butte-Silver Bow will expand available camping for this year's Montana Folk Festival. In the past, Butte has opened two parks for camping. This year, tent and RV camping will be allowed in four parks during the festival weekend. The parks available are Foreman Park, McGruff Park, Stodden Park and Copper Mountain Park. The festival is a big draw for the Mining City. In the past it's brought in around 150,000 visitors. "What we need to do is try to accommodate the campers and everybody who comes in for the event," said Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation Director Jay Ellington. "So trying to make sure we have enough spaces for everybody." Ellington said by officially opening up two more city parks this year -- Stodden Park and Foreman Park at the Old Mountain Con Mine Yard -- they are doubling campsites available to visitors. "We'll mostly have tent campers, but we'll have some space in the parking lots for RVs as well," said Ellington. Ellington said his weekend staff will be out patrolling the parks and cleaning. "Generally we're picking up trash on a regular basis, cleaning the restrooms on a regular basis, and we may do a little bit more during that time period," said Ellington. Police said they'll increase patrol officers on duty that weekend. "We will have patrols throughout the day and throughout the night," said Butte-Silver Bow Undersheriff George Skuletich. "We've never had any really big issues, maybe some thefts of coolers and stuff." Skuletich said they will have about five officers stationed at the Original Mine Yard and the Park Street dance stage. "They leave the dance hall areas and the Original Mine Yard," said Skuletich. "And then proceed to the downtown area to the bars and hang out until about 2 in the morning but it's a pretty good crowd." Skuletich wants to remind visitors the city's open-container law will be enforced that weekend. That means no alcohol between 2 a.m and 8 a.m. Ellington wants campers to remember to follow park rules, like no glass containers and no fires except in the barbeque pit areas. "They just need to respect the neighborhoods they're living in as well and make sure they abide by all the park rules as well," said Ellington. With the festival less than a month away, organizers are scrambling to sign up 800 volunteers. Volunteers normally work 4-hour shifts and can man information booths, drink stations and set up and break down tents and stages. Anyone is welcome to volunteer. "It's a lot of fun," said Mainstreet Uptown Butte Executive Director George Everett. "We find a lot of people sign up for a 4-hour shift and end up staying the whole weekend or a couple shifts. It's whatever you want, whatever feels good, and we appreciate any time people donate to the festival." Volunteers can sign up online, by mail or a phone call to Mainstreet Uptown Butte.