BONNERS FERRY— Small town. There are things that happen in a small town that can happen nowhere else. At least not in the same way. Every year, as springs rolls into summer, a week stands out that means “community” to so many people.
The 2018 Kootenai River Days celebration kicked off with the beginning of the Window Display contest in downtown Bonners Ferry on July 16, allowing community members and customers to vote for the best window display. On July 18, the Pearl Theater hosted a free family movie night, where attendees watched the movie ‘Wonder.’ On the evening of July 19, the Rotary and community members participated in the Wine Walk beginning at the museum park.
Friday, July 20, kicked off the weekend with the Crazy Dayz. Businesses around town had sales, the Rod Benders hosted a car cruise, followed by the Bull Bash, and a comedy show at the Kootenai River Inn to wrap up the night.
Despite a low crowd turnout at the Bull Bash, the crowd that was there was not disappointed. The bulls were in fine form, with some great battles of man versus beast.
The Crazy Dayz didn’t end there, however. Saturday, July 21, Main Street downtown was closed off for the first annual Wild Game/Rib cookoff.
Dave and Lori Allen, accompanied by their children Cole and Constance, and addition Ezekiel Cornett, made unique spicy pork ribs. Chef of Generations Restaurant at the Hemlocks, Tyler Morrison, created elk steak tacos.
C.J. Tuma and Jo-Jo Baker were the judges of the Wild Game/Rib Cookoff, and after enjoying both dishes, they needed a private moment to discuss the outcome.
The judges came to the tough decision of the winner, who was Chef Morrison from the Generations Restaurant winning the first prize of a trophy, a $55 gift certificate to Far North, and a $25 gift certificate to Woody’s Gun and Pawn. The children proudly sported the runner up trophy and their $50 gift certificate to Larson’s Department Store.
Lori Allen worked hard for months planning the cook off event as one of the organizers for the Kootenai River Days event, and has high hopes for its continued success in the future.
“I am looking forward to next year,” said Lori Allen. “We had a great time and many people came up and expressed that they will be entering in next year’s competition.”
Following the cookoff, the Generations Restaurant kicked off their booth with a variety of foods for attendees to try.
There was a softball tournament on Saturday, July 21 at the Riverside Ball Field from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the Farmers Market filled the City Parking lot once again as local vendors displayed their wares for those attending the downtown activities.
There were several vendors that attended the street fair. One was Dee Ann Rice and her company Young Living Essential Oils, where she handed out oil scented wooden roses and an entry to win a gift basket during the event. Another was the local Fashion Consultant for Stella Lane Boutique, Alaina Banks, who brought her wares for the first time to a booth, as she mainly has online sales.
Steve Jamsa Photography, a local photographer, well known for bird and raptor images, had a booth decorated with various photographs.
Ladaisys Soap & Such had a booth set up by Melissa LaDuca, featuring handmade jewelry, soaps, body butters, scrubs, and more. Janelle Warner had her Paparazzi accessory booth set up as well during the event.
The Badgers Dance Team hosted a fundraiser hot dog cook off competition, where people could purchase a voting ticket to try the various hot dog recipes and vote on the winner. The proceeds went to the dance team and their upcoming years expenses.
There was also a booth for Beta Sigma Phi chapter, who was selling calendars to support the scholarships they give out in activities such as Junior Miss, among various other scholarships, with Barbara Kovacs at the booth answering any inquiries to passersby.
During the downtown events, there was live entertainment, including bands and dancers, the cookoffs, the street fair, face painting, and bounce houses. Some people left after the days activities wrapped up, while other waited for the night entertainment.
As music poured from the speakers, people slowly gathered for the street dance. The first to hit the street stage were the young children, whirling and twirling, pouring their hearts into the carefree dance steps of youth. Then, emboldened by the dimming sun and encroaching darkness, parents joined their children, followed by couples, then friends, until the street was packed with dancers of all ages.
“One year old to 80 years old — they are out there dancing,” said C.J. Tuma.
The night opened with a young girl duo, The Family Seed, who quickly earned the hearts and cheers from the audience, then Devon Wade took to the stage.
Devon Wade and his band kept the party rocking along until after 11 p.m., playing favorites that kept drawing the people out into the street to dance, over and over. The spirit of Bonners Ferry was displayed in dance steps, as the community came together for the joy of it.
“I was admiring the carefree attitude of everybody. It was just awesome,” said Shallan Duke.”I had never been down here to this and it was just so amazing to see. Everybody was having so much fun.”
With permission to keep the party rolling until midnight, people got in their last dance or two, before gathering themselves and their family and heading home, smiles on faces.
One of the organizers, Diane Rogers, said at the end of the day, “The support given by many, made Kootenai Rivers Days 2018 a great success!”