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Butte cheers the return of its St. Patrick's Day parade

A band dressed in green marches in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Butte, MT, March 17, 2022.
Kristine de Leon
The St. Patrick's Day parade in Butte, MT, March 17, 2022.

A sea of green descended on Butte’s streets Thursday as the city’s famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade returned in full swing for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down two years ago.

“It’s the first St. Patrick's Day parade we've had in a few years and everybody’s really happy, a lot of smiling faces going on right now.”

That’s Matt Boyle, the Butte America Foundation Parades director. “Kinda got a little butterfly feeling in the stomach going,” he says.

Main sections of uptown Butte were shut down to traffic for the parade as thousands of people were expected to attend.

This year’s grand marshals included Jake and the late Monica Cavanaugh, who ran an Irish store in uptown Butte for 20 years.

“It’s a beautiful day for a parade. It means a lot to the city,” Jake Cavanaugh says.

For Jake, it was a bittersweet day. His wife Monica passed away last April.

“And so now she is the grand marshal and our grand deputy.”

Bagpipers, politicians, labor unions, local kids, Irish dancers, bands and many other groups walked the streets of Butte as crowds of people watched from the sidelines.

Kristine de Leon covers Butte and Southwest Montana for MTPR. Before barging onto the radio, she worked as a newspaper reporter in Butte and eastern Oregon. She’s also had stints working as a digital producer for a TV news station and moonlighting as a coder/web developer.
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