Pride Days celebration a rousing success
BLACKFOOT — No hard numbers are available but Blackfoot Pride Days appears to have been a rousing success.
People packed Jensen Grove from the first activity on Friday to the final one on Saturday. Close-in parking was at a premium all day on Saturday.
"I think we had a real good turnout," said Shirley Robinson, the vendor coordinator and event co-chair with Mayor Mike Virtue. "Friday we had more people than we've ever had."
Robinson, who has lived in the community 12 years, said she's unsure how long Pride Days has been going on, but knows that it pre-dates her. It began as a way to wrap up the community cleanup activities in the late spring. But Idaho's typically unpredictable weather forced organizers to steady move the event deeper into the year.
Last year's mid-June snowstorm prompted organizers to move things into July. The move proved to be a good one. Saturday's high of 90 degrees made things pleasant from everyone involved. "I think moving from June to July was definitely a positive," Robinson said.
"Our vendors were all very happy," Robinson continued. People had the opportunity to buy plenty of different types of food, merchandise and services. They also were able to support such things as the Blackfoot High School senior class efforts to raise money for their year-end trip next spring.
The Blackfoot Lions Club conducted a safety fair which featured a bicycle helmet giveaway.
"The Lions Club fair turned out great, especially with the skate safety thing that the Boy Scout did," Robinson said.
Eagle Scout candidate Jesse Smith and some of his Troop 257 mates joined other volunteers in distributing the helmets.
"We also taught (participants) how to fall, showed them a safety video and had pledges for them to sign," Smith said.
Money for the bicycle helmets gave from the Lions and Rotary clubs and the Blackfoot Community Center.
There seemed to something for everyone. Children could play in a bounce horse, get up close and personal with a mini-horse and other farm animals and ride on Union Pacific's Operation Lifesaver train. Teens could play in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament or join the adults in the triathlon. There was free food and food in support of community fundraisers. Seventy-five classic cars and motorcycles were on display.
And there were the always-popular snowmobile races and sprint boat races on the waters of Jensen Grove Lake.
"Everyone always wants to watch the snowmobile races because, when one sinks, it's oohs and awws," Robinson said.
In the next couple of weeks, those in charge of Pride Days will conduct an after-action meeting.
"We have lots and lots of ideas for making things better, but we need to start fundraising," she said.