Pat Simmons Honored at Out to Lunch in Caras Park - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Pat Simmons Honored at Out to Lunch in Caras Park

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MISSOULA - The Missoula community celebrated the life of the woman who founded Out to Lunch in Caras Park at the event Wednesday afternoon.

Pat Simmons started Out to Lunch 29 years ago. She passed away in February, and left quite a legacy behind.

Simmons' three children, David, Elizabeth and actor J.K. were in attendance during today's special Out to Lunch.

J.K. said when his mom started Out to Lunch 29 years ago, it was a much smaller event.

"I think she had four or five vendors and, you know, a couple dozen people showed up," he said.

And Pat continued to help the event grow over the next three decades.

"You know, turned it into what almost everybody in Missoula as Out to Lunch today," J.K. said.

J.K. said the past few years, he's been able to return to Missoula and enjoy his mom's proudest achievement.

"If you missed three years of it, it was like, wow, it just expanded exponentially."

Pat was the first paid employee of the Missoula Downtown Association. Current members of the MDA said Simmons' vision and dedication helped turn Caras Park into a vibrant town square for hosting cultural events.

J.K. said, "It's beautiful, it's a great tribute to her."

"Coming home is always like seeing family, even thought there's no family here anymore, and it's a very special time," added Pat's youngest son, David.

He said his mom experienced a similar event in another city and decided to bring it to Missoula.

"Community has always been a very important part of my parents' life and they instilled that in all three of us, and we're trying to do that with our kids."

The Out to Lunch summer series draws hundreds of people to Caras Park every Wednesday afternoon for local food and music.

"I'm just grateful for the city of Missoula to continuously welcome us back," David said.

Out to Lunch runs all summer long in Caras Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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