An annual event that people all over western Montana look forward to attending has been snuffed out for the Fourth of July.

Not only for its outstanding fireworks show just after dark, but all the other events that went into making it a fun family day. There's the Missoula City Band concert, food trucks and more. Lawn chairs, tailgates and blankets will need to find another place to roost Independence Day evening.

We received the disappointing news today (Wednesday) that the parking lot of Missoula's Southgate Mall could be a rather quiet place the evening of July 4. The mall's general manager, Tim Winger, sent out a press release, regrettably announcing that Southgate Mall's Fourth of July Celebration has been "temporarily" cancelled. We hope that means 2022 only.

An excerpt from Mr. Winger's press release says in part, “We’d like to thank our past partners...for their proud commitment to this event. We look forward to working with them in the future as we work toward ensuring the community celebration in the years to come.

Our plan will be to revisit the events of the past with the Missoula City Band, food trucks, family activations [sic] followed by the exhilarating fireworks display that brought the Missoula community together.”

Many of us who just show up, stake our ground and wait for the fireworks to start probably don't realize how much goes into putting on that show for the community leading up to 20 minutes of awesome pyrotechnics. And we're not talking about just the financial component.

It's no secret that so many businesses are dealing with staffing shortages. That could perhaps include Southgate Mall, who is on the hook for security and other personnel leading up to this event.

Here's hoping it is just a one-year hiatus, and a thank you to Southgate Mall for so many great shows over the years.

14 Destinations to Visit With Direct Flights From Missoula

Here’s a list of places to visit (and things to do while you're there) with nonstop flights out of the Missoula Montana Airport.