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Area artists plan fundraisers to pay for Fairground improvements

In this area, fundraising is a way of life. From small-scale car washes and bake sales to the more pricey dinners and silent auctions, there’s always an event on tap to attend and raise money for a good cause.

But how many silent auctions can one person attend? And how often can our local businesses donate “to the cause?”

These are issues avoided by a small group of artists who were looking for ways to fund improvements at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, and came up with some unique fundraisers that are sure to do the job.

It starts in this month—the weekend of June 22-23—when the first ever “Plein Air Paint Out” will take place on the pedestrian portion of Sandpoint’s Long Bridge. The artists will be setting up their easels from sunrise to sunset not just on the Long Bridge, but also in various “pull-outs” on Highway 200 in the Hope area, capturing some of the gorgeous, watery scenery that has made this area a nationally-known destination. The paint out offers a unique opportunity for travelers to see local artists at work, and to draw attention to the needs at our local fairgrounds.

The big event, however, is a 30-30-30 that will take place this year during the Bonner County Fair (August 20-24 with the theme, “Dr. Seuss is on the Loose.”).

Thirty artists will each paint or submit 30 original or giclee pieces of art, which will be sold for just $30 each, proceeds split 50/50 with the artist and the fairgrounds. That’s over 900 pieces of art that will be available to purchase, and will potentially raise almost $14,000 for fairground improvements. There will also be several “showcase” pieces of art for sale, with prices determined by the artist.

First chance at the art will be given to fairground sponsors during a reception on August 18. It’s not too late to become a fairground sponsor, and get early dibs at an original piece of artwork by these famed local artists for such an incredibly low price—simply call the fairgrounds at 208-263-8414 or write out your check and mail it to Bonner County Fairgrounds, PO Box 47, Ponderay, ID 83852.

This unique fundraiser came about when local artist Elaine Linscott joined the board of directors for the fairgrounds, and saw the need. With support from fellow artists and fairground supporters Elise Creed, Connie Spurgeon, Janene Grende and Bonnie Shields, a “Call to all Artists” was sent out explaining, “The Bonner County Fairgrounds needs our help.”

An important point to note is that the fairgrounds is not fully funded by taxes in the county budget. Fairgrounds manager Rhonda Livingstone and her small crew, therefore, work all year long to help raise the dollars for operating revenue by renting out the fairgrounds to various events, operating a camping/RV site rental area, and writing grants.

The Fairgrounds is home to some pretty important events throughout the year. It hosts major fundraising events for Lost in the 50s, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Festival at Sandpoint; is the site for Sandpoint City Rec volleyball and a practice area for Sandpoint soccer; hosts the Veterans Stand Down and Sandpoint High School’s Grad Nite; features rodeos, demolition derbies and horse shows throughout the year; and, of course, is the home site for one of the finest fairs around, a traditional, country county fair that features the best of our local farms and ranches, along with the efforts of area children through the highly successful 4-H program.

“You can see our fairgrounds are multifaceted in what is offered in our beautiful community, and this is why we are looking for ways to help support it,” Elaine writes. “Thirty dollars for an original piece of art is not a lot of money,” she adds. “This is about raising money for our fairgrounds.” 

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Landon Otis

Tagged as:

Bonner County Fair, art, Bonner County Fairgrounds, Janene Grende, Bonnie Shields, Elise Creed, Connie Spurgeon

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