Booze in McCormick Park, and the last salvo in the battle of the bands 

Ah, those summer nights at McCormick Park—the satisfying timbre of a bat connecting with a well-chucked softball. A nimbus of bugs circling the floodlights. A handful of spits, your best gal on one side, a can of cold gold on the other. With spring approaching, those balmy evenings will be upon us soon enough—only this time minus the beer.

After years of self-policing alcohol policy, McCormick Park is now subject to a new city regulation that will bring it under the same licensing system already in effect in Caras and Kiwanis Parks. Ordinance 3136, passed by a vote of 8 ayes to 3 nays (and one absent) last month in City Council, will prohibit consumption of alcohol in McCormick except as is “pursuant to a city permit authorizing the presence of alcohol in that park for the duration of the time period identified in the permit.”

In other words, a license to swill. According to Donna Gaukler, recreation manager for Missoula Parks and Recreation, legislation regulating alcohol in McCormick was proposed and passed partially in response to an increase in alcohol-related disruptions, many of them in broad daylight, that threatened to compromise the role of the park as an all-comers public place.

“We’ve had a number of incidents in daylight hours of individuals interfering with recreation programs or people’s leisure time in the park,” says Gaukler. “This ordinance is a step toward making sure the park is truly and in the public perception a safe place to be.”

Thus, recreationists looking to hoist a few in McCormick Park will now be required to purchase permits in advance of the proposed event. Permits for one-time occasions cost $10, available from Parks and Recreation. Seasonal permits—for a softball team, say—also cost $10, and cover “all players and guests.” Time to start snuggling up to a softball player.

Battle of the Bands

And finally, this image came to us as an update on the ongoing feud between what at one time were two of Missoula’s most respectable bands. Cash for Junkers and Bob Wire and the Fencemenders continue to duke it out over who deserves the title of Missoula’s Best Band. So far, the barbs they’ve traded have ranged from allegations of closet transvestitism to somewhat more cryptic names being called, such as “corn nibblers.” And now this, the brutal TP’ing of the Fencemender frontman’s house. No group has claimed responsibility for the act, but suspicions are surrounding the honky-tonkers of Cash for Junkers. “I know it’s them,” Bob Wire, pictured here, says, “because I found a can of Green Giant niblets down by the mailbox.” Behold the casualties of war.

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