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Best Reason to Procreate 

Staff Pick

There are hundreds of reasons to fret about bringing a little one into the world today: a mounting deficit, global warming, Glenn Beck, and so on. But there's at least one reason why it makes sense to spawn in Missoula: Blackbird Kid Shop Dance Parties.

With apologies to Dead Hipster parties at the Badlander, Metal Militia nights at the Palace Lounge and all those karaoke events across town, Blackbird's shindigs may be the best deal in Missoula. For a nominal cover, parents and their offspring can mosh in a meticulously cleaned Palace Lounge to the funkadelic sounds of DJ Colin Hickey. This isn't Barney played on a boom box in a dingy basement—it's vintage Jackson 5, a professional sound system, concert lights and a bubble machine.

Blackbird co-owner Kia Liszak cribbed the idea from an East Coast phenomenon called Baby Loves Disco, blowout affairs that draw thousands of screaming tykes to huge clubs. The Missoula version maintains a low-key vibe, but sticks to the same general concept—spiff up a popular local nightspot (Liszak and her husband, Volumen's Doug Smith, spend hours cleaning the Palace), play popular dance music that appeals to all ages, and no one's allowed in unless they're accompanied by a kid. The little ones burn off energy and down Shirley Temples while the 'rents hang back and imbibe a beer or two.

Too often parents get left out of the night club scene. We're not saying these parties are the only reason to have a kid in Missoula, but they sure help balance out all the sleepless nights and dirty diapers. Just a little.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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