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Hundreds brave cold weather to celebrate Butte's St. Patrick's Day

By Jacqueline Gedeon, KTVM Butte Reporter, jgedeon@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 17 2014 06:26:36 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 17 2014 06:38:05 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

In Butte, hundreds braved the cold and snow for one of the city's biggest celebrations, St. Patrick's Day. Despite the snow and predicted cold weather people lined the street to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade.

"It's a little colder this year," said Butte resident Artie James. James marched dressed as a leprechaun with PFLAG, one of 50 groups in the parade.

"My attire, it's taken me years and years to build this up to what I have now," said James.

James isn't the only one who battled the snow and cold for this special parade, people were shoulder to shoulder as the parade marched down 10 blocks in Uptown Butte.

"We heard Butte has the best party ever on Saint Paddy's Day," said Kalispell resident Jennifer Mager.

Butte is known for its Irish heritage -- the Irish came in large numbers, along with their culture and religion to build 'the Richest Hill on Earth.' And if you look at Butte today, you will still find many with last names of Irish descent.

"I don't know the next time I'll be back and it's the one time I get to see it so I'm bearing the weather for it," said Mager.

Mager and Amelia Nelson came from Kalispell to watch the parade.

"I love the pipers," said Mager. "It's kind of cool to see them live and it was fun, I enjoyed it."

But people came from much farther away than Kalispell to see Butte's famous Saint Patrick's Day. "We are exchange students so we are from Europe," said Valentine Mailleu.

Mailleu and Noora Viinikainen tell us they don't celebrate St Patrick's Day where they live in Belgium and Finland, and were surprised by what they've seen.

"So many people have dressed up," they said. "The dogs and the kids!"

Everywhere you looked, you could see green hats, socks and jewelry. Irish people taking pride in their heritage and building this parade up just like they built Butte.

If you were at the parade, you may have seen NBC Montana decked out in green marching up Main and down Montana Street. The NBC Montana team, including Laurel Staples, Kane O'Neil and Lauren Maschmedt took part in Butte's famous parade.

Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester tells NBC Montana, so far it's been a pretty quiet St. Patrick's Day. Lester said as of Monday afternoon no arrests and no DUIs. Lester credits the cold and snowy conditions and the fact that the holiday fell on the first day of the work week, saying he's never seen anything like it.

"We haven't had a single disturbance call yet since the parade, which is unheard of on St. Patrick's Day," said Lester. "Generally streets would be lined with people especially Park and Main all the way north to Broadway street, we're just not seeing a lot of crowds on the outside of the buildings."

Lester added the day is not over, and his officers and deputies will be ready if problems arise Monday night.