By Stephanie Brewster
Butte, with nearly a quarter of its residents of Irish descent and the “Most Irish City in the United States”, according to Afar Magazine, celebrated its Irish heritage loud and proud on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th. Many came together to enjoy Butte’s festivities as St. Patrick’s Day landed on a Friday for the first time in 11 years. It was anticipated by John McKee from Headframe Spirits that the celebration would bring 100,000 spectators and participants on that fine Friday. No one was disappointed as people flooded Butte’s streets to enjoy the festivities.
Live on KXLF and the Montana Television Network during the parade, reporters Missy O’Malley and Bob Healey stated that the parade “capitalized on the sunshine”. The parade, originally conceived in 1882, was passed on to the direction of Matt Boyle, founder of the Original Festival, this year. O’Malley and Healey found that the parade made for a “glorious day” and that, no matter your heritage, “Today, we’re all Irish”.
Other events during the weekend proceeding Montana Tech’s Spring Break included a special Mass at St. Patrick’s Church on Mercury Street; the live music stylings of the Heather Lingle Band, Letter B, and Voodoo Horsehoes on West Park Street; and the Dublin Gulch and the Tiernan Irish Dancers’14th annual “Handing Down the Heritage” show that included music, dancing, and refreshments.
St. Patrick’s Day may have brought the “luck of the Irish” to Butte spectators, but for the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement, the festivities brought a total of 135 calls and 27 arrests. Incidents included seven DUIs, eleven disorderly conduct, and one aggravated assault. The Butte police force and Capt. Mark St. Pierre concluded that St. Patrick’s Day was, altogether, “peaceful”, “uneventful”, and left them “very pleased”.