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Build-Fest features six community leaders talking about making positive change

Hell City Kitty, Nosight also performing at inaugural event at Celtic Cowboy

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Six local community leaders will speak about different aspects of the same central idea on Saturday – ways to step outside of your comfort zone, which can help Great Falls reach greater heights than ever before.

Mayor Bob Kelly
Mayor Bob Kelly

The speakers, chosen by Tyson and Sara Habein, co-owners of Electric City Creative, serve unique roles within our city. They each will engage the audience for 15 minutes at the inaugural Build-Fest.

Build-Fest starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Darkhorse Hall and Wine Snug in the Celtic Cowboy. It will have a feel that’s somewhat similar to TED Talks, but also includes a catered meal provided by the Celtic Cowboy staff. Tickets are $35 per person. They must be purchased in advance.

The food options are a New York Strip Steak, Blackened Chicken Alfredo or a Vegetarian Pasta Primavera.

Speaking are newly-elected mayor Bob Kelly, social media specialist and voice actor John Harris, local attorney, writer and volunteer Allen Lanning, Great Falls Tribune reporter Traci Rosenbaum, community organizer Jules Shindel, and Benjamin Wight, the regional service coordinator for the Armed Forces program for the American Red Cross and Air Transportation Journeyman for the Montana Air National Guard.

John Harris will speak on ways to break free of complacency.

Bob Kelly will speak on the importance of having a strong commitment to the local community.

Allen Lanning will speaks on building better grown-ups by raising happy, healthy, independent and successful children.

Traci Rosenbaum is active in the creative scene, appearing as host for many Electric City Creative events. Her speech covers the important role play has in the lives of adults.

Jules Shindel, a community organizer in Great Falls, will speak on the importance of building community power through togetherness.

Benjamin Wight will talk about service: what it means in a modern context and how we can best serve our fellow human beings in an increasingly complex world.

John Harris
John Harris

Nosight will perform throughout the evening and after the speakers, Hell City Kitty will perform a set to close out the night.

Tyson Habein said selected speakers who he said could entertain the audience, speak well in front of a group of people, and have something interesting/enlightening to say.

He said he’s interested to hear what mayor Kelly will be speaking about in particular due to his approach to engaging young people he’s commented on already since taking office.

“In talking to him, he’s made it clear that his goals in terms of what he wants to accomplish as mayor is getting the younger generation involved in our city which I think is important,” Habein said. “One of the reasons young people leave the city is not simply economic reasons or the lack of opportunities, which definitely play a big factor, but if they don’t feel that connection of what’s going on, that can make a huge difference, too.”

In that regard, Habein said Kelly will likely address his vision for how the political leaders can help engage young people into feeling like they’re just as much a part of Great Falls as other demographics.

Jules Schindel
Jules Shindel

Habein said expanding beyond just mayor Kelly, that while he hasn’t heard the speeches yet, he’s familiar with the general theme for them, which he said people attending will hopefully find beneficial.

“The mentality of Build-Fest is that the only way you can build progress is by breaking free of habits or stagnation,” he said. “Sometimes the discomfort, or the lack of a comfortable space is the key to growth in that regard.”

He added that he and Sara have taken that idea to heart with how they put together this event, also.

“Build-Fest is something we’ve never done before. We’ve never done a show with dinner and we’ve never done a show with a price-point of over $15,” he said. “This is our most expensive show and part of that is because our supporters don’t have a lot of money and we understand that, but we wanted to include dinner and make it as accessible an evening with entertainment and catered food.”

Habein said while it is their most expensive show, he said they feel what they’re providing is still much more affordable than other similar events.

Allen Lanning
Allen Lanning
Benjamin Wight
Benjamin Wight

He also said that since they’ve been here in Great Falls he doesn’t remember another event quite like this one, which they’re looking to eventually establish into an annual happening.

“I can’t think of in the entire five years we’ve been in Great Falls, and I’ve even talked to people who have been here for 20-plus years, and they’ve said in their time here, they can’t think of instance where there was an effort to get different people together and have them speak to a group about growing our community, and putting on something that’s about going from where we are onto something bigger and better. That’s a big reason why I’m excited for the show.”

In the same regard, though, Habein said he’s also concerned that they may not be able to put on the event if they can’t get enough audience members to attend.

“If we don’t get a decent turnout for this sort of show, it’s a little disparaging to feel like this is something that’s a step backwards. Then it becomes a question of ‘What is it people want? What about this isn’t providing that if we don’t get a good turnout?’”

Traci Rosenbaum
Traci Rosenbaum

Habein said they’re not expecting to turn a profit from the show, but a big reason why the show is contingent on a certain number of attendees is that they do want to have more than the speakers’ friends and spouses in the audience.

He also said that if people are still on the fence about going, he said they’re looking at it as a chance to network with new people after the speakers are finished.

“I’m hoping that there are people at this event who I’ve never met, or never seen out at one of our events,” he said. “That would be ideal and that’s that networking opportunity, that inter-connectedness within the community. After our six speakers we’re having an hour of rock and roll music being played and that’s a great opportunity to network as well. After taking in a quality dinner, you can talk to people about ‘hey what did you think about what so-and-so said?’ That’ a spectacular icebreaker in that regard and in an ideal world everyone who comes to this show should leave meeting someone they’ve never talked to before.”

Tickets can be ordered in advance online here, or by calling 406-217-5331.

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