May 30, 2012 11:18 AM by Russ Thomas (KPAX News)
MISSOULA- The Missoula County Fairgrounds is set for a big celebration beginning this Thursday when it will play host to the Graduation Matters Missoula Carnival as part of graduation weekend.
The planning for this event began several months ago when the Fair Advisory Board met with Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Alex Apostle to come up with a fun way for students to celebrate the end of the school year.
The celebration will include hot air balloon rides, a battle of the bands, educational booths and a picnic on Sunday.
"The whole idea of this celebration is to give everybody, especially all the kids in town, an opportunity to celebrate somewhere and we hope we give it to them here at the fairgrounds and it's all free. The carnival rides of course are a charge, but getting in the gate, there is no gate charge," Western Montana Fairgrounds Director Steve Earle explained.
The carnival begins this Thursday afternoon and runs through Sunday afternoon. Nearly 900 students will graduate from Big Sky High School, Hellgate High School, Seeley-Swan High School and Sentinel High School on Saturday afternoon.