By AUSTIN SMITH
Missoula is set to come alive this weekend with a menu of shows and events to rival even the world-renowned Butte celebration.
Be it your family or your binge-ready drinking crew, Missoula has you covered.
Early birds are welcome to stop by Draught Works for a pint of the newly-released Heart of Darkness IPA while their significant others preemptively burn off all that corned beef at The Women’s Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Ride spin class.
Kids can also burn off some energy at the Kids’ Vibrations Music, Rhythm, and Dance program, a donation-based celebration of Irish tunes and dancing hosted by Downtown Dance Collective.
Shortly thereafter, the 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will commence near the four Xs in downtown Missoula. Presented by The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the parade begins at noon and will stretch to the roundabout intersection at Beckwith and Higgins. Entry forms are available from the Missoula Chamber of Commerce but will not be accepted past today, March 15.
After the parade, A Carousel for Missoula and the UM Irish Studies program are offering free rides for kids from 2 to 4 p.m. in Caras Park.
After grabbing the golden ring, take your family to the Missoula Public Library’s free screening of “Warrior”, a moving PG-13 film about two Irish-American mixed martial-artists from a broken Pittsburgh home competing against each other in the octagon.
If you’ll be dining in with the family on Saturday, be sure to stop by Great Harvest Bread Co. on your way home for the best Irish Soda Bread in town.
For a grand Irish evening, Friends of Irish Studies are also hosting a combination dinner and silent auction at the Holiday Inn Parkside. According to UM News, guests will have a chance to mingle with native Irish visitors and enjoy music and dance performances from Malarkey and the Missoula Irish Dancers.
The Downtown Dance Collective is also hosting a Sober St. Patty’s Day Dance if your kids are still standing after the parade.
For those who are Butte-bound in spirit but looking to stay in town, Sean Kelly’s offers an authentic Irish buffet, lunch, and dinner, along with a beer garden and Irish bagpipers.
The Broadway is offering cash prizes for their St. Patrick’s Day Costume Contest and will be featuring The Tallest DJ in America, Aaron Traylor, at the turntables.