BUTTE, Mont. -- If there are two things Butte, America is known for, it's having a rich history and putting on a good parade. Those two things will collide on Saturday, Jan. 28, as the Mining City celebrates Chinese New Year.
While Butte's Irish and mining history is well documented, the city's Chinese ties are just as important, as the Chinese immigrant populations were instrumental in turning Butte into one of the biggest-booming American cities of the late 19th and early 20th century.
"They were merchants, they had laundry businesses, they had restaurants and noodle parlors like we had here," said Mai Wah Society historian and board member Mary McCormick. "They could come here and enjoy a healthy meal of noodles."
"It's just great history," McCormick continued. "We need to remember our history."
And the Mining City way to remember history is a celebration.
With Chinese New Year kicking off this week, Butte's chapter of the Mai Wah Society is preparing for its annual parade, complete with lanterns, traditional decorations, and, of course, the dragon.
"The dragon will burst out of the courthouse, and people will follow the dragon as it winds its way through the streets of Butte," McCormick said. "It stops at businesses that have made a donation. The dragon then blesses their business for good luck and happiness through the rest of the year."
And while the dragon may get all the attention, 2023 is the year of the rabbit, a symbol of peace, prosperity, and longevity.
The parade line starts at 3 p.m. at Butte-Silver Bow Courthouse on Saturday and finishes outside the Mai Wah Museum on Mercury Street, with refreshments and tours to follow.
Participants are encouraged to attend and keep warm like a dragon, make as much noise as a rooster, and have as much as fun as a monkey while celebrating the year of the rabbit.