We have double the reasons to celebrate this year! Not only is the St. Patrick's Day Parade happening but it's the much-anticipated return for an event that's been canceled the previous two years. Well, those are at least the words I was hoping we would be saying about Missoula's yearly parade. But I guess you'll have to apply the sentiment to Butte's parade since it will actually be making its triumphant return this week while Missoula's celebration will be dark for a third consecutive year. But why is Butte bringing back the party and we aren't?

Technically the 2020 parade wasn't canceled because of COVID

If you remember back to March of 2020 (I know, it seems like forever ago) events were just starting to get canceled because of a new virus that was still in its infancy. And boy, would that virus sure go on to wear out its welcome! But Missoula's St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2020 wasn't officially canceled because of the coronavirus. A few factors came into play including people starting to feel uncomfortable about gathering in large crowds, the uncertainty about if the parade was canceled or not, false whispers that it had indeed been canceled, lower participation and float numbers on the morning of the parade, and the weather for the day. A couple of hours before the parade was scheduled to begin is when it was officially called off.

Why isn't the parade returning this year?

With the way things played out with COVID nobody realistically expected a parade in the early part of 2021. But this year finally felt different. It seemed like there was hope for bringing back the parade this year! We no longer have a mask mandate, vaccinations have been available for quite some time, and the event is outdoors. It might have happened a bit too late to factor into making the case for having a parade but COVID numbers have also recently seen a sharp decline. I was thinking that if we had bodies back in the stadium for Griz games since September then we would surely welcome back the St. Patrick's Day Parade, right? Well, I would have lost that bet.

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It'll be back in 2023, right?

It's pretty crazy to think that this will be year number three without a parade! And while that's a bummer the good news is that most things around Missoula appear to be finally getting back on track. KettleHouse Amphitheater resumed its concerts last year and has a busy lineup for the summer, Big Sky Brewing Company Amphitheater will return to concerts in June for the first time since 2019, the Missoula Marathon returns this year, and the list goes on. We'll just have to be a little jealous of Butte this year and hopefully, we can return to our St. Patrick's Day Parade ways of the past when 2023 rolls around. The countdown is on!

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