This year’s Vigilante Day Parade was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, not even a pandemic could prevent dozens of Helena teens from honoring the yearly tradition.
Helena High and Capital High students worked through a downpour Friday morning to get their vehicles ready for the 2020 Vigilante Cruise.
The citizen organized event allowed students to participate and honor the canceled parade while still social distancing.
Even through the rain, participating students had nothing but positive attitudes.
“I think it’s really cool, like I remember last year really wanting to do an actual vigilante float this year and we couldn’t because of the whole corona thing,” said Capitol High Junior Wes Bruski. “I heard about the cruise and though, ‘That’s a great idea!’ So I called up some friends of mine and we got this set up. It isn’t much but it’s a lot of fun.”
The cruise ran through Last Chance Gulch to 6th Ave., then past the Capitol Building to St. Peter’s Health. It ended with a drive by the Touchmark and Hunter’s Point retirement communities.
Most vehicles had signs celebrating the schools and students, with many decorations having a humorous theme.
Helena High students Greer MacDonald, Cassie Smith and Haliy Schmitt made a float called “Gold Rush 2020” that had them mining for toilet paper.
“I think we would have done a float if for the actual parade so being able to do something for the cruise is cool,” said MacDonald.
Many students participating said more than anything, it was just nice to do something to honor the tradition and celebrate the community and their schools.
“My Family has always gone to watch the parade,” said Carmen Porter, a Helena High Senior who will be joining the ARMY this summer. “We were pretty disappointed when we weren’t going to have it this year but it’s exciting we’re doing this.”
Jeff Meyer and Shaun O’Brien made a float celebrating the Helena High BBQ club.
“This is so fun. I’m so glad we could come out here and represent the BBQ club because it’s been a while,” said Meyer. “We want to dedicate this float to Mr. Thomas since he won’t be back at Helena High next year.”
“We’ve got a little bit of teacher appreciation stuff because we do miss our teachers a lot, even if people say they don’t,” added Bruski.
Organizers of the event say it was a whole community effort to pull off the Vigilante Cruise, and wanted to thank all the individuals and businesses that donated gift cards for the participating students.
People can watch the full Vigilante Cruise here: