Missoula’s Beloved Out To Lunch & Downtown ToNight Summer Series Return To Caras Park June 2nd & 3rd

May 26, 2021
Local Media



Food Vendors. Live Music. Caras Park – all the makings of an epic summer. Downtown Missoula comes to life with the 35th season of Out to Lunch on Wednesday, June 2 and the 20th season of Downtown ToNight on Thursday, June 3. After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Missoula Downtown Association is ready to welcome the community back to the Heart of Missoula with these signature summer events.

The brainchild of Pat Simmons, MDA’s first employee, the Out to Lunch Summer Series started in 1986 and is held each Wednesday in June, July and August from 11am-2pm. This event is the longest-standing in Montana and features live music and authentic, local food and beverage offerings from 13 food trucks and vendors.

Being mindful of the pandemic, the 2021 season for Out to Lunch will host solo performers or duos for the first month. Local favorite Travis Yost takes the stage and kicks off the season on June 2, followed by Strummingbird Vegabond (June 9), Britt Arnesen (June 16), Wolf and the Moons (June 23), and Good Old Fashioned (June 30).  Lineups for July and August will be announced as they are confirmed at missouladowntown.com/out-to-lunch.

Due to COVID-19, children’s activities will not be held this year during Out to Lunch.

Created in 2001 to meet a rising demand for events in Downtown Missoula, the Downtown ToNight Summer Series takes place Thursdays in June, July and August from 5:30-8:30 pm. In addition to live music and 12 food trucks, Downtown ToNight also offers adult beverages for those ages 21 and older.

Similar to Out to Lunch, Downtown ToNight is hosting solo performers or duos for June. A newcomer to the Caras Park stage, Riley Jacobsen, kicks-off the season on June 3. Local legends Elijah Jalil (June 10), Josh Farmer (June 17), and Tom Catmull (June 24) round out the June schedule. Lineups for July and August will be announced as they are confirmed at missouladowntown.com/downtown-tonight.

Due to COVID-19, children’s activities will not be held this year during Downtown ToNight.

“Out to lunch and Downtown ToNight are the epitome of summer in Missoula,” said Ashley Larkin, President of the MDA Board of Directors and Downtown ToNight committee member. “After watching Caras Park be so quiet last summer, we couldn’t be more excited to bring the community back together in Missoula’s town square. These events mean more to Missoula than we think people realized, and the pandemic certainly made us all more aware of how important these programs are to not only Downtown, but also to the health, vibrancy, and connection for everyone in Missoula.”

Between both programs, over 30 local businesses are sponsoring this year. Out to Lunch is supported by title sponsors First Interstate Bank, DCI Engineers, and Mann Mortgage. Clearwater Credit Union is the Eco-Friendly sponsor while Mountain Broadcasting (Mountain FM 102.5 and The Drive 103.7) is the season-long media partner. Downtown ToNight is supported by title sponsors Jackson Construction and Zip Beverage. Clearwater Credit Union is the Eco-Friendly sponsor as well, while Missoula Broadcasting (Trail 103.3 and U 104.5) is the season-long media partner.

“Our weekly summertime events are a big draw for Missoula, and they are the base of our arts and culture scene,” said Linda McCarthy, Director of the Downtown Missoula Partnership. “Our community is ready to see each other in person and reconnect in Downtown. These events showcase all that is great about Missoula – food, music, and people gathering along the river.”

Each week food vendors provide a wide variety of food and beverage offerings for sale. The lineup includes: AJ’s Gluten Free, Banh Missoula, Big Dipper, El Cazador, Isla’s Lemonade, Kamoon, Lil’ Orbits, Madeline’s Mediterranean, Mountain Berry Bowls, Pattie Wagon, Ragheef, River City Eats, and Sa Wa Dee.

Downtown ToNight will also feature a full bar every Thursday thanks to Badlander Catering. The Missoula Downtown Association will also be selling commemorative drinkware that includes a free drink at the bar.

Folks interested in purchasing food and beverages for their employees or guests can pre-purchase Caras Cash in $5.00 increments at the Downtown Missoula Partnership Office (218 E. Main), which can be used to purchase food and beverage from any of the vendors and food trucks at the events.

The Out to Lunch Trolley will offer zero-fare rides to Caras Park each Wednesday from Splash Montana (3001 Bancroft). The trolley will travel up and down Higgins Avenue during Out to Lunch at no cost to riders and will continue to pick up riders along the route along Higgins Avenue. Additionally, Zero-Fare Mountain Line buses all come Downtown, so anyone can ride any of the routes to the Transit Center, which is a few minutes’ walk down Ryman to Caras Park. The Trolley runs approximately every 20 minutes between 10:45 AM and 1:45 PM. More information on the Mountain Line Trolley and buses can be found at mountainline.com/maps-schedules/. The Out to Lunch trolley is sponsored by Mountain Line, Blackfoot Communications, and the Missoula Parking Commission.

Folks can also catch the UDASH shuttle every fifteen minutes from the University of Montana campus to Caras Park. The shuttle will stop at Miller Hall, University Ave and the Music Building every Wednesday from 11am-2pm. UDASH is free and open to the public as well.

If driving, there are ample public parking spaces throughout Downtown Missoula, and the first hour of parking is free in the Central Park Garage (128 W. Main) and the Park Place Garage (201 E. Front). Both are only a brief walk away from Caras Park. Parking is free in Downtown evenings and weekends, so there is no charge to park in Downtown Missoula during the Downtown ToNight Summer Series. It’s also easy to bike and walk to and throughout Downtown, and there are plenty of bike racks throughout the city center.

The Passport Parking APP is another easy and convenient way to pay for parking from your office, car or while in the park. Just download the Passport APP, load up your credit card, input your license plate, and enjoy the convenience of park, pay, be on your way.

For more information on the Out to Lunch Summer Series, contact McKenna Cramer, DMP’s Membership & Events Director, via phone (406-543-4238) or email ([email protected]).  For more information on the Downtown ToNight Summer Series, contact Kristen Sackett, DMP’s Marketing & Events Director, via phone (406-543-4238) or email ([email protected]).


Downtown Missoula…Connecting our Community

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