BUTTE, Mont. - There are events planned across the state, but in no place is the St. Patrick's day celebration bigger than in Butte. It is not unusual for the streets of uptown to be standing room only. As the town prepares for the crowd, we found one business owner taking time to reflect on their Irish heritage. Monica Cavanaugh is the owner of Cavanaugh's County Celtic in uptown Butte. She has been in business for 13 years but we found out on Sunday her Irish roots span more than a century.
"This is my great uncle, my dad's first cousin and his great aunt," said Cavanaugh.
She showed me a photo dating back to 1919 and tells me part of her Irish family came to Butte in the late 1800's.
"It's not all about the party in uptown, it is a celebration of heritage," said Cavanaugh.
She rolled out the family tree, and showed us generations of Irish blood.
"My dad was half Irish and half Welsh, and my mom was half Irish and half German," said Cavanaugh.
It is a heritage she enjoys sharing with customers, who were packed in the store on Sunday, looking for those last minute items.
"It's really all about the memories of coming to or being in Butte for St. Patrick's day that people want to bring home with them," said Cavanaugh.
In uptown Butte, we found while some businesses have a long standing tradition of participating in St. Patrick's day, others were getting involved for the very first time.
Monte Reason works at Trimbo's Pizza, and says cabbage is new item they added to the menu, a special twist just for St. Patrick's day. This is the first year they have several special items for the holiday. People can try things such as Guinness stew, corn beef and cabbage pizza, and soda bread.
"It's nice to put something out there for the people and be part of the whole scene," said Reason.
He tells us most of the specialty items will be made the day of, as the city comes alive for the holiday.
"I think it's going to pick up as far as tomorrow goes so it's probably going to be a really big deal," said Reason.
While the pizza shop is preparing for those crowds, down the street Cavanaugh says she hopes the shamrocks are not only a sign of the people they will see in Butte, but also of what is to come.
"When those green shamrocks go up on the light poles it is our symbol that Spring is really going to come," said Cavanaugh.
The St. Patrick's day parade in Butte starts at noon, NBC Montana will be walking in that parade. There is also a big St. Patrick's day celebration at the Butte Civic Center Monday night at 6:30p.m. That is open to people of all ages. Tickets for that event are available at the Civic Center.
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