MISSOULA — The music -- and off -- returned after a year of downtown Missoula's Caras Park standing virtually empty and silent. Not only that, but it promises to be the first of many summertime events planned this year.
Megan Zmak said she's "ready for summer to begin, ready to hit the river, floating."
Ready to get out and enjoy summertime -- that's what Missoula's feeling as events return to Caras Park. "I was down here last night and watched the kayakers and the surfers, it was awesome," said Zmak.
Out to Lunch brings food vendors and live music to the area and on Wednesday crowds of people visited the food trucks amid the sunny weather. The grass is green, the drinks are cold, and the music is loud. "It's a great place to be," Zmak told MTN News.
Missoula is truly coming back to life with the return of Out To Lunch and Downtown ToNight. But it wasn't too long ago, that many of the food trucks here were struggling just to stay afloat. Scott Ross with River City Eats said they managed some business during the pandemic.
"We were actually able to set up at a parking lot on South Avenue for a couple of months. And we actually did pretty good while the restaurants were closed for those two months, but then when the restaurants opened back up it slowed down enough so that it just wasn't worth it to do that. So we just did some special events every now and again til the end of the year."
But he says it just wasn't the same, "Last year wasn't a lot of fun." But now Ross says they're back and better than ever -- with a brand new truck. "New to us, exactly, everything's shiny and everything."
The crowd Wednesday was a bit smaller than pre-pandemic times, but many are just ready to be back Out to Lunch.
"I missed the community, just being around other people, going outside, it was just kind of a bummer having to be away from other people, but I'm excited, it seems like it's going to be a great summer. It's a great start," said Zmak.
Downtown ToNight will return to Caras Park on Thursday evening. The two events are planned throughout the summer for every Wednesday and Thursday.
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