MISSOULA – The 33rd year of Out to Lunch kicked off at Caras Park Wednesday.
The Missoula Downtown Association has some new additions this year to make it the best year yet.
"New this year we have the trolley running from Splash Montana on Bancroft and also new this year is U-dash running shuttles from the University of Montana," said Executive Director for the Missoula Downtown Partnership Linda McCarthy. "So faculty staff and students on campus now have a way to get to and from the park through U-dash and ASUM Transportation. So that’s an exciting new activity for the week."
One thing that isn’t new to Out to Lunch is the live entertainment. What is new this year is the amount of live acts that wanted a part in the festival.
"We have lots of great entertainment lined up for this season. We had over 120 applications to perform at the Out to Lunch and Downtown Tonight event," McCarthy said.
The event also has a variety of food offerings and you don’t even have to pay to get into the event.
"We have 22 food vendors every week folks are able to come and enjoy the event free of charge you don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want to you can just listen to the music or you can buy your food, your lunch here at the park," McCarthy commented.
The free admission is made possible by the sponsors who help offset the cost of putting on the event.
"Every week we have three businesses that sponsor the weekly activities. Plus we have larger sponsors that you know kind of pay for some of our season long program expenses," McCarthy said. "This program costs about $40,000 to put on and our sponsors pay for the hard costs the entertainment the marketing the management so we can offer this free of charge to the community."
The event is something that is unique to Missoula and helps make the Garden City stand out from other communities.
“Out to Lunch and Downtown Tonight are those types of events that set us apart from other communities because you don’t have this in every community,” McCarthy said.
There are about a half-dozen new food trucks for this year’s Out to Lunch series. They will be held every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.