BUTTE — With the return of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Butte after a two-year hiatus, local businesses and police are expecting large crowds and they’re preparing for any event.
“I think people are ready to party. I don’t know how many of them are going to come out or how late they’re going to stay, so we’re going to plan to be there from the time the parade starts to late into the evening,” said Sheriff Ed Lester.
The Montana Highway Patrol will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers. They will also assist Butte police with walking patrols through Uptown in groups of seven to eight officers. Police find these walking patrols can quickly defuse a tense situation.
“If there is a disturbance, especially in a big crowd, if we can get to it fairly quickly, take care of the combatants and get them on their way to wherever they need to go, whether it’s jail or the hospital, wherever it is, it makes it a lot easier because more people don’t get involved,” said Lester.
Sheriff Lester said he hopes this St. Patrick’s Day is a big one.
“I’ve been doing this for 32 years now. It’s odd when you drive down the street on St. Patrick’s Day and there's nobody there. It’s a traditional event, we want people to have a good time, have a few beers, so it’s a fun day; we want people to have fun and come back next year,” he said.
Places like Mac’s Tavern in Uptown Butte are hoping the parade draws large, lively crowds after the two past St. Patrick’s Days were underwhelming.
“Insanity but in a good way. Something we looked forward to the last two and a half years, so we’re happy to be open for once for our anniversary. I think it’s going to be good, I think everyone’s going to be pretty excited to finally have a St. Patrick’s Day,” said Mac’s Tavern general manager Emily McLaughlin.
Butte’s parade starts at noon Thursday.