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Foresters' Ball of yesteryear

96th Foresters' Ball March 22 & 23

It’s that time of year again, where chainsaws rev, moose disappear, trees fall, and buildings rise.  March is the month for the 96th annual Foresters’ Ball, a nearly century old, University of Montana tradition. Preparation for this year’s Foresters’ Ball, themed Lightning Striking, Crews ‘A’ Hiking, is now full steam ahead with construction slated to begin Monday, March 18. During that week, an 1800s logging town will be built inside the Auxiliary Gyms of the Adams Center, for use on Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23.

Upcoming events for this year's ball linclude:

  • March 9, students will conduct a thinning for resource benefit in the Miller Creek area southeast of Missoula and use the cut trees at the Ball.
  • Thursday, March 14, the foresters will get their chance to put the lawyers in their place, in competition at Boondockers’ Day on the UM oval. A ticket drop is on the agenda, as well as various competitions for students to win tickets. 
  • Tickets go on sale the week of March 18 in the University Center and at the Sunrise Saloon. Single tickets run for $20 and couple tickets are $35.
  • Friday, March 22 from 1 – 5 pm the Foresters’ Ball weekend will kick off with the Careers in Natural Resource Management Fair. The  Fair is an engaging event, new to the Foresters’ Ball, designed to showcase the multitude of career and education options within the broad field of natural resource management. The career fair is geared toward Missoula area high school juniors and seniors, prospective and current University of Montana students, and Missoula community members. This event will provide an opportunity for attendees to meet and interact with potential employers, educators, and current students to explore the possibility and benefits of an education and career in natural resources.  
  • At 7 pm on March 22, the doors will open for the first night of the 96th annual Foresters’ Ball dance. Local band Kung Fu Kountry will play live and attendees will kick up their heels on one of Montana’s largest dance floors. On your way in the doors, you’ll have a chance to ride the Slurry Bomber slide, which is only featured every other year at the Foresters’ Ball. Other attractions abound, including Saint Smokey’s Chapel, where weddings, and divorces, will be conducted for a few dollars; the proceeds from which will go towards Camp Make-A-Dream. Don't pass up the Jail, run by University of Montana’s Wildlife Society, which will arrest poachers, passersby, and just about anyone you pay them to. Refreshments will be available at the Pulaski Pub, where soda and water are available, and the Hard Hat Cafe, which will be serving chili. Remember to check out “Red Card Relics,” the theme-based exhibit, where you’ll learn all there is to know about wildfire management. The doors to the event will close at 9 pm, and the dance will end at 11 pm.
  • Saturday, March 23, is the first ever Foresters’ Ball Community Forestry Day, running from 10 am – 2 pm. This is an interactive event at the Foresters’ Ball, which provides a venue for children and their families to engage in fun, experiential learning about the natural environment. Here, attendees can participate in hands-on demonstrations by a wide variety of presenters with strong ties to the natural world. And, the event is free and open to the public, making this the perfect way to spend a Saturday family day.
  • Saturday night, again at 7 pm, will be the second night of the Foresters’ Ball dance. This year’s Foresters’ Ball is, as always, an alcohol-free event. Additionally this year, patrons will be passively screened at entry, with sobriety required as a condition of entry to the dance. This is a strictly enforced policy and all laws of the state of Montana will apply.


This year’s Foresters’ Ball will be “A Swingin’ Good Time.” The event has a long tradition in Missoula because of the success and drive of the students. All the profits from the dance go directly back to students in the form of scholarships, making this a unique opportunity to benefit students while having a ball. For more information, visit the Foresters' Ball web site.