By AUSTIN SMITH
St. Patrick’s Day in Missoula starts a wee bit early this year, with a healthy mix of family-friendly and adult-only events running from the afternoon of Friday, March 15, through the night of Sunday, March 17.
Festivities tip-off with the Missoula Senior Center’s annual luncheon; times are yet to be confirmed, but the Center expects the corned beef and cabbage will be ready around 11:30 a.m. just like last year.
Also on Friday is the third of seven performances of “Steel Magnolias”, produced by the Missoula Children’s Theater. “Magnolias” is being touted as “a perfect date night” geared for more mature viewers, and shows will run throughout the holiday weekend so as to accommodate your babysitter’s availability.
Prior to Saturday’s parade, Run Wild Missoula will be hosting the Run for the Luck of It 5k and 7 Mile at 9am downtown on Pine St. in front of Sean Kelly’s. Besides the 5k and 7 mile, Run Wild will hold a Kid’s Dash of 400 meters for all the future marathoners out there.
At high noon on Saturday, March 16th, the Ancient Order of Hibernians presents the 33rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Higgins Avenue. The procession will start on North Higgins at Circle Square and will travel over the Clark Fork to culminate at the intersection of South Higgins and Beckwith near Grizzly Grocery.
Saturday’s post-parade events include the annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Gala & Auction hosted by Friends of Irish Studies at 6 p.m. in the Doubletree Hotel. The evening includes a cocktail hour, traditional Irish meal and dessert, cultural performances, and a live auction to benefit the Irish Studies program at the University of Montana.
The parade may be a day early, but Sean Kelly’s is right on schedule with their Sunday feast that will feature Irish musical performances, a beer garden and traditional spread of corned beef, cabbage and spuds.
For those that ‘just wanna dance’, an array of live music is spread throughout the weekend, starting with bluegrass at The Top Hat, the TomCats at Dark Horse, and the Copper Mountain Band at The Sunrise Saloon on Friday evening.
Draught Works will host an all-ages acoustic set from John Adam Smith on Saturday, after which you can head to The Badlander for ABSOLUTELY with Kris Moon, The Top Hat for Dead Winter Carpenters, or back to both Dark Horse and The Sunrise Saloon for encore performances from their Friday night bookings.
Music on Sunday, March 17, starts with a family-friendly jam and Aran Buzzas show at Draught Works, to be followed by The Montana Fiddlers at The Sunrise Saloon and Miller Creek and The Trees at The Top Hat.
Before you head home to recuperate, be sure to stop by The Badlander for Jazz Martini Night, and remember: shaken, not stirred.