Old Town Live sees successful kickoff for entertainment district

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

HELENA — Just a week after the area around the Helena Amphitheater was heavily damaged, hundreds of locals and visitors came out on April 3 to celebrate the city’s new entertainment district at Old Town Live.

After a cleanup the previous weekend, the area was made suitable for guests, who showed up in force to reinforce the “Helena Strong,” motto that had been in full effect after the storms, which was emblazoned on T-shirts sold at the event.

The free event was designed by the HOTboard, Old Town Helena’s development and promotional board, to connect people with the wide variety of amenities that the many businesses in the new entertainment district can provide.

After being designated an entertainment district in 2020, the area is available for residents to stroll through the many shops and the park around the amphitheater while enjoying alcoholic beverages from Old Town restaurants and bars.

According to Helena City Council member and HOTboard liaison Laura Joseph, the event was very successful. She said that at any time there were around 200 people out and about in the area.

“It was great. We were steady all day, and we were thrilled, because there was so many other events going on that day. So, we were really quite pleased to get their business,” Joseph explained. “For us to be able to pull something off like this a week after the storms was an amazing feat, and we were super thankful for everyone that made it possible.”

As an all-day affair, guests could bring out their families, coolers and lawn chairs to the park at any time and enjoy the music being played at the amphitheater or take a stroll through the many businesses that line the street of the district.

In the heart of the new district is Oversoul Brewing, who created a special drink for the occasion, the Helena Strong Saison, which many of the guests seemed to enjoy.

There were three musical acts that entertained throughout the course of the event including The Pine Hill Haints, Drayton Farley and Deadwood.

Another treat of the event, was the freshly boiled crawfish that could be seen on the plates of many of the guests of the event, which were cooked by Bywater Oyster Bar & Grill.

Other restaurants that participated in the event were Refined To-Go and Beef O’Brady’s.

There were also several local shops with special deals and gifts for the guests including Skull Girl Soaps, the Oh My Soul clothing boutique, Buck Creek Stained Glass, The Petal Cart florist and gifts, and more.

From Joseph’s perspective, the event accomplished the goal that the HOTboard set, which was to get people out and enjoying the weather, the district and other people.

“It was great,” she said. “There were kids dancing around and playing, and families laughing and having a good time. It was really great to see Helena families back out and doing what they should be doing at this time of the year.”

Joseph said that the HOTboard was hard at work deciding on what to do next, and will be doing more events in the near future.