MISSOULA — With almost all downtown Missoula events canceled for the duration of the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has had to get creative in how it brings people together.
Rising to the challenge is the Missoula Downtown Association with their new summertime series “Downtown Pop-Ups.”
The Pop Ups will host food trucks and vendors under the pavilion at Caras Park on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Thursdays from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. As the summer unfolds, more vendors and activities will be added to the Pop Ups.
Tuesday night kicked off the summertime series and Pattie Wagon co-owner Karin Brier was eager to welcome Missoulians to the event.
“It’s nice, it’s beautiful, and even with a rain threat, we’ve got 50-to-60 people down here so it’s great. We don’t want it packed, we just want it fun and casual.”
According to the Missoula Downtown Association, last year alone, Out to Lunch and Downtown ToNight brought in over $365,000 in direct sales.
Without the usual summer events, vendors and local entrepreneurs will be taking a major financial hit, but with the Downtown Pop Ups, they’ll have the opportunity to bring back some of that lost revenue.
Beyond the financials, vendors said they were ready to get back some sense of normalcy.
“Every event that we do the people are so different,” said Co-Owner of the Pattie Wagon Mindy Bowman, “So we get to interact with different kinds of people and have fun with them and it’s really fun when they come up and tell us they’re happy to see us. It’s really rewarding.”