Photo Gallery: Missoula St. Patrick’s Day Parade

By AUSTIN SMITH and ABBY REDFERN

Standing-room only crowds lined the sidewalks of Higgins Avenue in downtown Missoula as the 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade meandered its way through snow, rain, and green bouncy balls Saturday afternoon.

Despite the morning’s unexpectedly heavy snowstorm, President Patrick Toomey of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) couldn’t be more pleased with the event he spearheaded into reality.

“We started putting everything together back in October,” said Toomey. “It takes a lot of work ahead of time, but the day of the parade, it just falls together.”

The AOH is an Irish-Catholic fraternal organization committed to promoting Irish heritage and culture.

The Missoula chapter has worked closely in the past with Project Children, the UM Irish Studies program, and Missoula’s two Catholic schools, Saint Joseph Elementary School and Loyola Sacred Heart High School.

Participants in the parade ranged from newly-formed groups such as the Hellgate Rollergirls to long-time supporters like the Shriner’s Circus Midget Patrol and Missoula’s American Legion Post 27.

Commander Bill Applegate and retired Missoula County Sheriff’s detective Dave Fowlkes drove the Legion’s train engine as the column crossed Higgins Street Bridge and snow became rain. Fowlkes himself maintains the engine, and began mechanical work three months ago to prepare for the parade.

“We do this to get people interested in the American Legion,” said Fowlkes. “Particularly those veterans in the crowd who aren’t members, who aren’t doing anything for the community.”

The Legion’s Hellgate Post 27 hosted an all-ages dance tonight in Missoula in honor of St. Patrick’s Day at their event center and headquarters on Ronan Street.

 

Onlookers try to cover amidst the blizzard that came during Missoula's St.Patty's day parade. Despite the weather a large crowd came out to watch the festivities.
Onlookers try to cov...
Amy Zanzig prepares to walk the St.Patty's Day parade.
Amy Zanzig prepares ...
The Shriners as they prepare to head on their midget patrol carts.
The Shriners as they...
Huddled in the back of the Relay for life float, these girls said " They just wanted to keep warm,"  during the parade.
Huddled in the back ...
Many dogs came out to participate in the parade.
Many dogs came out t...
A spectator keeps her dog warm during the worst of the storm.
A spectator keeps he...
At the beginning of the parade kids peer to catch a glimpse of the first float
At the beginning of ...
Kids race to grab the first batch of candy thrown at Missoula's St. Patty's day parade Saturday morning
Kids race to grab th...
St.Patricks Day - _MG_0298.jpg
St.Patricks Day - _M...
The beginning of Missoula's St. Patricks day parade.
The beginning of Mis...
One onlooker went all out for the St. Patricks parade and dressed in a kilt despite the snowy weather.
One onlooker went al...
A festive patron at the parade
A festive patron at ...
Kids line up all along the street to get as much candy thrown from the floats during the parade.
Kids line up all alo...
Patrons exiting the parade to beat the crowd.
Patrons exiting the ...
Draught Works, Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
Draught Works, Misso...
Draught Works, Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
Draught Works, Misso...
The Springs At Missoula senior living group readies their float for the parade.  Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
The Springs At Misso...
Ancient Order of Hibernians, 32nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers.  Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
Ancient Order of Hib...
Snow piles up on the Ancient Order of Hibernians' float before the parade commences.  Missoula, Mont, March 17th, 2012.
Snow piles up on the...
Members of the Missoula Phoenix football team divide bags of candy before the parade.  Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
Members of the Misso...
Joleen Allison and Emily Costello fo Relay for Life pose before the parade.  Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
Joleen Allison and E...
The Relay for Life canine companion, Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012
The Relay for Life c...
Shriner's Circus midget patrol motor pool, Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012
Shriner's Circu...
Johnny Walker, 20-year veteran stilt walker, says he "just likes to get out and see smiles".  Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
Johnny Walker, 20-ye...
The 32nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade crosses Higgins Street Bridge, Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012
The 32nd Annual St. ...
Abby Hendricks and Emme Harrison, ages 6 and 10, yell for candy during the parade.  Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
Abby Hendricks and E...
32nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, Missoula, Mont., March 17th, 2012.
32nd Annual St. Patr...

 

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Austin Smith is a 21-year resident of the Missoula area, and an ardent fisherman, hunter, and snowboarder. When not working on the University of Montana campus, taking classes in the Journalism program, or contributing to the social media efforts of several local organizations, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his Akita and his family.