The first Saturday after Labor Day, central Montana ushers in the return of fall with the annual Chokecherry Festival, held in Lewistown, the geographical center of the state. When the then Governor Stan Stephens came to Lewistown to witness the Festival in 1991, he enjoyed it so much he declared Lewistown the Chokecherry Capitol of Montana.
The Chokecherry, a small, maroon-colored fruit with a puckery taste grows wild in Montana. The plants begin to bloom in June and the fruit ripens in August. The reddish fruits are used in making syrups, jams, jellies, wines and many other culinary treats.