HELENA — The Vigilante Day Parade returns this year to its traditional format running through downtown Helena.
Friday, May 6, will mark the 98th holding of the event with more than 50 floats in the works. World War II and the COVID-19 pandemic are the only events known to have interrupted the parade, causing cancelations from 1942-1945 and in 2020 respectively. In 2021 a “Reverse Parade” was held where people drove by floats that were set up at the fairgrounds.
The parade will begin at noon at the intersection of 11th Avenue and Last Chance Gulch. Floats will proceed through downtown along Last Chance Gulch to Broadway; northeast on Broadway to Park Avenue; and north on Park Avenue to the parade’s end point at Gilbert and Benton Avenue.
The first parade was held in 1924 to celebrate Montana history. Helena High Principal Albert J. Roberts wanted a safe alternative to class rivalry, including a bloody “junior-senior fight” that were raising safety concerns. The parade quickly became a beloved community tradition, creating memories cherished by generations of Helenans.