Dear Missoula,

How have you been feeling lately? Are you tired of this strange winter? Are you still replaying the championship game and longingly imagining a Griz win? It's understandable if during this gray season, with the unusual, Stephen-King--like fog you might need a little pick me up.

If circumstances have made you forget why this town is so great, let me take a moment to remind you. Let me share what I love about Missoula. After all, there is so much to love about this place.

I love the three rivers and the five valleys.

Fishing, floating, swimming, hiking, biking, parasailing--the beautiful geography of Missoula allows for so many outdoor activities. A walk in the trees can do wonders for cabin fever, even if you have to wear your Yaktrax.

I love Missoula's service organizations.

Missoula's nonprofit organizations help us with so many aspects of the human experience. From housing to food security, animal shelters to arts education, and so much more, our community is richer for these service organizations, and for the volunteers who support them.

I love Missoula's love of music.

I think what we're seeing now with the incredible music acts that have been scheduled to perform in Missoula in 2024 (just a sample: Tyler Childers, Jewel, Melissa Ethridge, P!nk, Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam, Foreigner, Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, Dierks Bentley) is a reflection of how much Missoulians love music. You'll hear buskers on the street during the Farmer's Market, the Missoula City Band in Bonner Park, and musicians at Out to Lunch and Downtown Tonight. Not to mention events like Jazzoula, the Buddy DeFrano Jazz Festival, and the River City Roots Festival.

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I love Missoula's small businesses.

If you've ever talked to a small business owner in Missoula, you've seen their passion for their craft and this city. They're like bartenders--they'll know you by name and keep you stocked with your regular and your favorites, whatever trade they may be in. And they step up when the community is in need.

I love Missoula's self-love.

Mine is not the first love letter to Missoula. Missoulians have been expressing love for this town in all kinds of artistic ways, from art to photo books, and appreciation shows up in ways big and small. You see love for Missoula in the volunteers who maintain the M trail, the army of snowmen on Russel Avenue, the stand-up comics at the ZACC, the city workers who fill potholes. There's love for Missoula's people.

There's love everywhere in Missoula.


A Missoulian

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