MISSOULA – Here’s another sure sign that summer’s not far away — two popular traditions are returning to Missoula this week.
The Out to Lunch Summer Series is returning for its 33rd straight year on Wednesday, June 6th in while Downtown ToNight will kick off on Thursday, June 7th. Both of the events will be held weekly through August in Caras Park.
Out to Lunch will be held on Wednesday’s from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and remains the longest-running such event in Montana. Each week will feature live music, children’s activities and food and beverages from 20 food trucks and vendors.
Downtown ToNight, which came to life in 2001, takes place each Thursday from 5:30 o.m. until 8:30 p.m. In addition to live music, playtime for kids, and food trucks, the event also offers adult beverages for anyone over 21.
“Each week throughout the summer, these weekly celebrations bring our community together in the heart of Missoula for lively conversation, connection, food trucks, fun, live music, local beer, wine and spirits, family activities and the experience of Missoula’s culture,” said Missoula Downtown Association Board of Directors President Brooke Redpath.
The MDA says nearly 120 different bands from across the country applied to perform at Out to Lunch and Downtown ToNight this year. Close to 150 distinct Missoula-area businesses and non-profit organizations are supporting the outdoor food and music festivities with their time, talent and treasure. Business sponsorships and vending fees cover the hard costs, so the mid-week events remain admission free for all.
“Our weekly summertime events are a big draw for Missoula, and they are the base of our arts and culture scene,” said Downtown Missoula Partnership Director Linda McCarthy. "Downtown communities across the country model these events, knowing they serve as an economic driver for city-center activities and commerce. Out to Lunch and Downtown ToNight are a great way to experience all Downtown has to offer.”
Folks interested in buying food and beverages for their employees or guests can pre-purchase Caras Cash in $5.00 increments at the Downtown Missoula Partnership Office.
For the first time ever, the Out to Lunch Trolley will offer free rides to Caras Park each Wednesday from Splash Montana The trolley has always run up and down Higgins Avenue during Out to Lunch free of charge and will continue to stop for those on Higgins Avenue. Additionally, Zero-Fare Mountain Line buses all come Downtown, so you can ride any of the routes to the Transit Center, which is just four blocks from Caras Park.
Folks can park on the street or in the Central Park Garage or the Park Place Garage where the first hour of parking is free. Parking is free evenings and weekends, so there’s no charge to park for the Downtown ToNight Summer Series.