Photo Gallery: Missoula St. Patrick’s Day Parade


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.




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.