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Jessi Peterson loves to take custom orders for her wood and glass projects. Jessi and her husband, Bret, use an epilog laser to create custom designs on wood, glass and metal. Helping her display a few of her signs is their daughter, Kaye.

The Cut Bank Lewis and Clark Festival is about fun, entertainment and time spent with neighbors and friends. It is also about eating good food and for those that want to shop for some homemade items, there is good shopping for that too.

Sissy Nygaard, a longtime member of the Lewis and Clark Festival Committee, is in charge of recruiting vendors, those who cook and those who have items for sale, to the park for the weekend and she has a good group showing up this year.

“We have some new vendors and some return vendors for this year’s festival,” Sissy shared. “Right now, we have room for a few more, so if you are interested in being a food or craft vendor, you need to give me a call as soon as possible.” Sissy can be reached at 406-949-2160.

The vendors, both food and craft, are encouraged to set up on Friday afternoon in the Main Street City Park, as well as Saturday. “This year, we have music in the park on Friday afternoon, along with the Chili Cook-off, so we want people to come to the park on Friday and enjoy not only the music, but the vendors too,” Sissy said. “Those vendors will also be in the park on Saturday.”

The food vendors this year include yummy items like Chinese food, tacos in a bag, sloppy joes, Mexican food, ice cream, hot dogs, candy, snow cones, popcorn, lemonade and donuts, just to name a few of the treats festival-goers can enjoy.

The food vendors are in addition to the Burger Barn, which is once again being run by the Close-Up kids and their parents.

The vendors selling items have crafts made of everything from wood to fabric to metal and everything in between. One of those vendors selling wood, metal and glass engravings and cut-outs, is Jessi Peterson.

Jessi and her husband Bret have been Cut Bank residents for the last 10 years. They are fairly new at the custom design business they have established. However, they are on the “cutting edge” of it and they are not only doing very well with it, but they are loving what they are doing.

“About a year ago we got what is called an epilog laser. It engraves into wood and can also engrave bottles and glasses,” Jessi explained. “My husband has a plasma cutter and with that he can do cut-outs in metal. So, we have designs made into wood, glass and metal that we sell.”

The laser works in conjunction with a program on Jessi’s laptop. She tells the program what she wants for a design, it creates it, then transfers that image to the laser and it cuts it into the wood or the glass. She is even making designs into smaller pieces of leather with the laser.

“It has been really fun to experiment with,” she said. “I can customize any order with this program and design whatever the customer wants. That is why I take special orders and frankly, I have taken a lot of them and look forward to doing that at the Lewis and Clark Festival.”

Jessi will have a number of items pre-made for sale at the festival and will be happy to take orders for anything people would like done. “It usually takes a week or a little longer to make the custom orders, depending on how busy I am.”

Along with her wood designs, Bret will have some of his metal work on sale at the festival too. And Jessi’s sister, Tami Thompson, is coming from Glasgow to be part of the festival as well. “She will be selling vinyl and silkscreen shirts and hats that she makes,” Jessi added.

Jessi said they are all really excited to be a part of the Lewis and Clark Festival. “This is our second year of being part of this summer event. We hope lots of people come to the park and participate in everything being offered during the weekend.”

Remember, to have a food or craft booth, you need to purchase a Lewis and Clark button, just like everyone else who wants to be part of any or all of the activities at the festival. 

“Your Lewis and Clark button is a really important part of the weekend,” said Nicole Altenburg, who is a member of the Lewis and Clark Committee. “Not only does it allow everyone to participate in all the fun for the long weekend, but the $5 you spend to get one, ensures that future Lewis and Clark Festivals will take place.”

Think of that button as a fundraiser for the festival. That minimal contribution you make of $5 to buy your button, goes back into the festival and guarantees another wonderful festival next year and the next. 

“We want to sell all 1,500 buttons this year, so please do your part and buy your button for the festival and then enjoy the entire weekend of fun and entertainment. It will be the best $5 you spend all weekend,” Nicole reminded.

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