By Ashlynn Kidder, Heavyn Nation and Gracen Haddenham, 2022 UM Journalism and Media Summer Camp

Missoulians gathered to celebrate the community during the “Out to Lunch” event at Caras Park on Wednesday, July 20. 

“(The Event is) Absolutely fantastic,” said Jim Fisher, co-owner of Lil’ Orbits donut truck. “It’s a great event and we get to meet people from all over the country. Everyone is in a good mood, and we get to have fun.”

For some, the delicious scented food wafted towards them, peaking an interest. For others it was the commotion, kids running around and music being performed, the overall general happiness of the crowd. For us, it was a chance to see what “Out to Lunch” had to offer. We immediately went on to explore, trying to find the food that appealed to us the most. 

We found ourselves in the line for Isla’s Lemonade. The line was long, which resulted in us getting to know the participants around us. We were surprised by the friendliness of the others, one in particular who enthusiastically engaged in getting to know us as we got to know her. She even mistook us as sisters, which amused us.

We ordered Red Bull lemonades, which triggered feelings of nostalgia – memories of summer break and home’s routine.

After finishing up at the lemonade stand, we went on a hunt for food. This is when we came across El Cazador, a Mexican restaurant food truck. The line was lengthy, which is always a good sign, and it was sweet relief when we were finally able to order.

The workers were extremely friendly and though swamped, they kept the wait time to a minimum. We decided to order the nachos as it was a safe choice. They were jam-packed full of amazing spices and fresh ingredients that really hit the spot.

After eating this amazing food, we decided to ask people for suggestions. We wanted to get a taste of everything “Out to Lunch” had to offer.

We ran into our friend Evelyn Vigil, who pointed us to the direction of Madeline’s Mediterranean Grille and Street Food. The grill was also recommended by Abigail Moore, who ordered the baklava – pastry with nuts sweetened with syrup. She said the baklava was good, and reminiscent of pomegranate. Moore also informed us the workers were very nice.

We chose the Mediterranean platter, and found the dolmas – grape leaves stuffed with rice, lamb and beef – to be an acquired taste. 

Once the eating portion of the afternoon was finished, we decided to shift our focus toward the live music performance. 

The performer, Travis Yost, was very interactive with the crowd. Not only were his songs calming and mellow, which really tied together the event, but he also made a point to joke around with the audience to keep them engaged. He performed a mixture of original and cover songs, and made the “Out to Lunch” experience extremely enjoyable. 

Even those of us with little money were able to enjoy the event. Coming from the wise words of a homeless man who would prefer to remain anonymous, “Music ties people together, you don’t need money to enjoy it.” 

Overall the experience was incredible and many of our fellow journalists agreed with us. Events like these are about more than just food and music. They are  about reconnecting with the people you are normally separate from in everyday life. We are constantly working and striving to build and events like “Out to Lunch,” that enable us to take a minute to enjoy the people around us. 

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