Festival to host first-ever virtual fundraiser auction

By Zach Hagadone
Reader Staff

The Festival at Sandpoint is swinging into the 2021 season with a virtual wine auction, slated to run Monday, April 12 until Saturday, April 17.

Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Festival is hosting its first-ever virtual fundraiser, geared toward supporting the Sandpoint signature music concert series as it secures the participation of renowned performers to grace its iconic stage and tent. However, the nonprofit is more than a series of summertime concerts — The Festival provides year-round community entertainment and education, particularly for local youngsters. 

Artwork by Year Round Co.

The organization partners with local schools and arts institutions, as well as businesses and community groups, to support its mission: offering “a rich music experience presenting a wide range of concerts in an intimate outdoor setting accessible to local and regional audiences, cultivate culture and ethnic diversity, foster a love of music through ongoing youth education programs and stimulate economic growth for our community.”

That means making free music education available to upwards of 1,000 local young people every year via The Festival’s Music Outreach Programs, Youth Strings Orchestra, Instrument Assistance Program, scholarships and more.

That said, it’s been a tough couple of years for FAS. As organizers stated in a news release, “The Festival at Sandpoint was hit hard by the pandemic, causing us to reschedule our 2020 concert series.”

Rising to the challenge, the community stepped up to support the longtime local cultural institution with generous donations — keeping The Festival able to continue its work in the community.

“We greatly appreciate your attendance and support,” FAS officials wrote. “This year more than ever, your donations will help secure The Festival’s future. We hope you enjoy what we have in store for you.”

Speaking of this year’s artists, FAS Board President Bob Witte told the Reader that, “We are actively working on booking,” but will not be making the lineup announcement for at least a couple of weeks — so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Executive Director Ali Baranski said, “My focus has been consumed by our April 17 virtual auction,” which will open for silent bids Monday, April 12 at 9 a.m. and close that Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Items on offer will be packaged as baskets, which will “account for a wide variety of interests, preferences, and goodies,” organizers stated. 

The live auction runs Saturday, April 17 until 7 p.m. Once the baskets are closed, they will be available for pickup starting Monday, April 19 at the FAS office, located at 525 Pine St., in Sandpoint.

“Our virtual event and live auction will be an occasion you won’t want to miss,” organizers said. “Not only will we have live auction items and chances to bid, we will also have musical performances, Festival updates and more. Participants who stay until the end will be entered to win our raffle basket.”

Go to festivalatsandpoint.com for more information.

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