MISSOULA — For the first time in history, the start of the Out to Lunch summer series – as well as the commencement of the Downtown ToNight summer series – will be delayed until June 17 and June 18, due to the current coronavirus pandemic and the current phased guidelines for reopening the economy.
Produced by the Missoula Downtown Association, Out to Lunch began in Caras Park in 1986 and this year’s series will be the 35th consecutive season of the weekly food and live music events held every Wednesday in June, July and August.
Modeled after Out to Lunch, Downtown Tonight began in 2001, adding adult beverages to live music and food offered Thursdays after work during the summer months.
Based upon the current COVID-19 reopening guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the state of Montana (MT), and the Missoula City County Health Department (MCCHD), large public gatherings are not recommended during phases one and two.
“We have so much to be thankful for in our community, and both Out to Lunch and Downtown ToNight bring people together in Caras Park every week,” Bob McGowan, President of the Board of the Missoula Downtown Association, said in a news release.
“While our volunteer planning committees are prepared to roll out these programs, we want to be thoughtful and responsible on how we provide these offerings for our community members and neighbors.”
During a normal season, the Downtown Missoula Partnership typically deploys an estimated 35 vendors, nearly 40 entertainment groups, and almost 45 activity providers throughout the summer events season, and close to 100 businesses contribute sponsorship dollars to fund the events.
The programs generate nearly $430,000 in direct food and beverage consumption each year. With commerce, connectivity and confidence in mind, the Missoula Downtown Association will be working with vendors, sponsors and musicians to develop new protocols and expectations for the programs.
More information will be released as it comes available.