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City Desk

A look back at 2017 with the Shop.Dine.Play


2017 was another good year for us at Shop.Dine.Play,, and We could tick off all of the negative things that happened or the mistakes we made, but that would be to keep those alive and best we just learn from them and move on.

Besides, T.S. Eliot advised, “Last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end it to make a beginning.”

We soon will leave last year’s word in the capable hands of 2017, but first, a quick look back at the stories and fun we had in Butte, America.

In January of 2017, we took a quick look at 2016. We also explored the food traditions for New Year’s Day around the world. For example, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for luck and greens for financial prosperity. One could have read about Hooked on Fishing, not on Drugs, a program being taught in Montana schools, and other fishing fun.

Celebrity Extra told us that Matthew McConaughey was putting the brakes on making ‘inane’ commercials to make the Stephen King movie, Dark Tower with British actor Idris Elba. Which according to experienced $111,662,091 in box office sales.

February, because it is where St. Valentines lives, we looked at the concept of romantic love and discovered that this romantic holiday is only the second most popular holiday for wedding proposals. Christmas Eve, being number one.

Celebrity Extra held a Q & A with Kyle MacLahan about the revival of Twin Peaks. There was a short visit with Punxsutawney Phil about Ground Hog’s Day and a little article about comfort foods, and a nice recipe for Bacon Beer Bread, nummy. Of course, we had to look at “Game Day Fun: and Football Party Tips” so the best Super Bowl Party can be planned.

March introduced us to Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan. Hazel, who was from Billings, MT, lived from 1890 to 1982 and spent most of that life in pursuit of Women’s rights, from the Suffragette marches in the 1840s to Women’s Equality Day, a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. She was standing next to him as he signed the proclamation.

Prince Valiant turned 80 in 2017, and we learned a little about the Ides of March. All of the St Patrick Day celebrations covered two pages of the issue that month.

April taught us about a local female heroine. A woman who was known to beautify Butte ‘one flower box at a time.’ Alma Higgins, after reading an article in Time magazine, that called Butte, “the ugliest town in the world,” decided she was going to change that.

In April of each year, public libraries all around the world celebrate library week. During that week many libraries celebrate by holding an Edible BookContest. For the last couple years, Butte-Silver Bow Public Library did just that. was there, participating and covering the fun event.

We also learned that 1970s teen idol, David Cassidy, was diagnosed with dementia. Then sadly, later that year we lost him. Celebrity Extra told us that Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt are to star in “Mary Poppins Returns.”

May brought us Mother’s Day, so explored the origins of the holiday. How and when it began as a yearly celebration. During the month of May, we generally celebrate home improvement. We combined Mother’s Day and our Home Improvement section and spoke with Shari Curtis, who is single-handedly (almost) remodeling one of the historic houses in the Butte Uptown area, turning it into a home for her and her son.

June found us exploring Father’s Day, Flag Day and looking at the proper way of handling the American Flag. We also looked at George M. Cohan’s “Grand Old Flag” song and just where he got that title. Marc Vasto, who writes the column A Sporting View, shared The Greatest Moments in Baseball History.

July is always a time to celebrate the beginning season for Butte’s festivals. To start off the season, early in the month, is the Montana Folk Festival and then Evel Knievel Days later in the month. also visited with author Beth Judy of Missoula as she spoke about her YA book Bold Women in Montana History. A book that explores the lives of more than a dozen brave, intelligent and artistic women that helped form Montana.

August brought us another festival, the worldwide celebrated An Ri Ra Montana Irish Festival. A large part of this festival is the Tiernan Dancers and of course, most importantly, the music. explored the bands that would perform during the festival. We also visited with the Springs at Butte as they told us about the photography classes that were being offered to the residents. visited with a couple more local authors. Renata Birkenbuel talked about her upcoming book that will explore the historic ballrooms of Butte. Next, we talked to David Abrams about his most recent book Brave Deeds.

In August, Butte also Dress A Child for school and held the Jeremy Golf Tournament.

September brought Butte’s own balladeer, Tom Susanj into our office. He shared with us how music plays an important part in his life and how he got started, and as always, we, in turn, shared that with you.

September brings another festival to Butte. In 2017 the second Covellite International Film Festival was held. Don Andrews of Covellite explained the changes to the 2017 festival program. He also talked to us about how the film festival has spawned the Covellite film institute. Lastly, we explored the radical history behind Labor Day, it’s not all ice cream and picnics.

In October we listed all the fun events that surround the Halloween season in Butte. Halloween is quickly becoming another fun festival holiday. Butte is full of haunted house tours throughout town, and haunted mine tours up at the Mining Museum. There was a Mining City Maze and pumpkin patches. Fun fall festivities.  

November found us looking at the turkey, why do we serve turkey on Thanksgiving, where did the bird get its name, is there a connection to the country and finally did Benjamin Franklin really recommend that the turkey be the national bird. found answers to all those questions.

We sat down with author and Butte resident Susan Adrian about her book, Nutcracked. Susan told us about her love for ballet, her time as a ballerina, and why she loves the Nutcracker.

In the cold and dark month of December, we wondered about ghosts. Where did the tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve come from and where did that tradition go. The tale of the Christmas truce that took place during WWI was retold and we remembered the attack on Pearl Harbor.

One of the best things in the Shop.Dine.Play is our columnist Tyler Morrison. Tyler lives in Billings and each month explores the foodie world and brings us new reasons to love old favorites or introduces us to new things. The following is a quick rundown of what we experienced in 2017.

Tyler began the year by raising a glass to champagne, that favorite beverage of many New Year’s Eve celebrations. He posed the question, ‘When did American people decide as a culture to stop toasting things?” Good question Tyler, when indeed.

February found him reminiscing about American cheese, which may not have its origins in America. For March it was all about the beer and he provided a lovely recipe for Guinness chocolate cake, num!

Tyler explored the world of eggs in April. Quail, Ostrich, and Emu are among the fowl eggs on which he schooled us. May was the delicious burger and in June he taught us how to make Homemade Limoncello.

He grilled with us in July and said, “Holiday grilling is hobby grilling.” In August Tyler went to the Farmer’s Market and guided us through the goods one might find at their own farmer’s market.

Squash September had him telling us all about the “squash conspiracy,” and in October we drank cider with Tyler.

In November Tyler explored the world of wine and talked about Beaujolais. He ended the year with some fun information on the looks, tastes, and smells of gingerbread.

These fun columns from 2017 leave us all in anticipation of what 2018 will bring. Thank you, Tyler we look forward to spending more time with you in 2018.

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