A Fair success VFW raises $18K from 1st Beagle event


BIGFORK -- The VFW and The Bigfork Beagle christened the new hall Saturday, May 20, with

the First-Ever Community Fair.

VFW Commander Ed Byrne said the VFW and VFW Auxiliary raised $1,760 in cash and $11,000 in donations of goods and services.

“All steaming from the Fair,” Byrne said. “The fair was greatly successful for us people were approaching me all day.”

Almost all of it is going toward the VFW’s new hall.

“We have a $350,000 job and we’ve done about $100,000 thanks to all the donations,” he said.

The VFW will host a “soft” opening July 1 for locals and a public opening July 4 when the VFW will sell fireworks and band donation birthday selling fireworks and collect more donations.

Grand opening July 20 formal grand opening. Exact time will be announced.

Below is a list of all (or most) of the entities who took part and helped make this first one worthy of having another one on the same weekend next year. So, we expect to host the Second Annual VFW-Bigfork Beagle Community Fair on May 19, 2018.

Seems like a long ways off - it is not.

While we will be cleaning up and recovering for the near future, we want to share a few videos, pictures and a list of those who made this first one a success:

Harvest Foods - Marcus and crew donated hamburgers, buns, condiments and sodas to the

VFW Auxiliary. Marcus never hesitated. With VFW volunteers cooking up the burgers, they raised a good chunk of cash for the building fund and also received some very nice donations of goods and services.

Glacier Bank - Mark Armstrong and Cara Ballard were gracious and generous and made it easy for us.

Sliters Lumber and Building Supply - Dan and the crew lent ice buckets, trash cans and

delivered and delivered picnic tables.

Bigfork Volunteer Firefighters - They went above and beyond the call. Helped with crowd control, parking and lent some muscle when we needed it. Volunteers who are some of the true heroes left. Thanks, guys!

The resurgent VFW Auxiliary helped the VFW and, being the first make to join the auxiliary, I am excited on working with both Vet-support groups as the new Hall becomes a key facility for the community.

Bigfork Dance Studio - In no uncertain terms, Leigh Ann O’Neill, her crew and dancers

saved my Beagle Butt and the fair. The kids were courageous, talented and lured in a lot of friends and family. The ladies tap group charmed the crowd.

Snyder Law donated parking. Miller Seed was drafted.

Vessel - The new owners are converting the former video store north

of Harvest Foods into an eatery, convenience store with videos still available. They sold out of their locally famous breakfast burritos.

A personal thanks to Joni Vandiver Isaman and Ann (whose last name I don’t even know). These ladies did not shy away from labor, visitor info and anything else I desperately needed. Thanks!

Yellow Bridge Road Learning Center - Vicki Pauley and her crew were platinum, as usual. Their irrepressible enthusiasm and shear love for so many is inspiring and uplifting.

Crossroads Church - These ladies took the anchor position and really set the tone for the rest of our sponsors and booths.

First Baptist Church - Nathan and crew lent some personality and injected lots of energy.

All Dogs Aboard - Lisa Batten is one of the Beagle’s first advertisers. Her dog-boarding business is renown in these parts as is her love for critters and especially dogs. Most dogs love me but I need to get to know Driller a little better.

Riverbend Physical Therapy - Kaci Monroe, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, showed up with her baby strapped to her chest, earning credit for being courageous, patient and in great condition. Her balance exercises helped bring up the energy level.

Larry’s Kioti Tractors - Our colleague Sue Hale drove a tractor with a

trailer under it, drove the big, orange Kioti tractor out near the street, parked the trailer for use as a talent stage, then sold a few tractors. All in a day’s work for Sue. That’s Michelle giving directions, as usual.

Grateful Bread - Gabriele and Mike knew they wouldn’t make a killing but lent their expertise and fine sweets to help us get this event kicked off. Bless them. Their baked goods and other foods are tasty and fresh.

Frank - I just met Frank, a Native American who creates beautiful and authentic dreamcatchers and other items, helped me out by bringing some diversity and an established commercial experience. He did well and his suggestions were right on and will be used for future Fairs.

Imagine If Library - Deidre McMullin probably brought my personal favorite thingy - a tube that made colorful scarves float. I was jealous when kiddies got to chase them. Steve Mitchell’s pictures are priceless.

Bigfork Senior Citizens Club - It cannot be understated how much the these folks do for seniors and the rest of us.

Bigfork Ladies Service Club - Again, such a great asset for our community and I look forward to working for and with them.

Hearing Aid Institute - Tracy Paliga looks like

she could be a snobby beauty queen. But she took it on herself to show visitors where things were, recruit visitors to take free hearing exams, and help my wifey out with just about anything. Special thanks from Michelle, Tracy.

Healing Grace Acupuncture - Tammy Ellison, the actual acupuncturist, couldn’t come. So she sent her daughter, Olivia, 14, who worked the crowd like an marketing pro. Her little sister, whose names escapes me now, put on a pretty good impromptu tumbling exhibition.

Aireserv Heating and Cooling - Marc, who

wasn’t sure the Fair was on or if his wife/bookkeeper paid the fee, showed up with some cool demo stuff minutes before the end of setup.

Toastmasters - President Dixon did the most courageous thing at the Fair: Without a mic or PA, he jumped on a picnic table and delivered a six-minute humor speech from memory.

Physical Therapy Associates - Marnie is the new therapist

for the Bigfork and Polson locations and my new Bigfork Business Professionals HomeGirl.

Ian Mehus of SasqWATCH Securities is working hard to get his business up and running with an interestingly spelled company name.

Thanks also to:

Lake View Healthcare Community

The Flathead Job Corps -

The Bigfork Food Pantry

Sparrow’s Nest

(Provides unaccompanied homeless high school students a safe place to sleep)

MountainSong Church

Gideon’s Bibles

and

Connie the Dog sitter.

Last but not least - My Wifey, Michelle, is easily put out. Spoiled is the word that comes to my mind. But she is a gamer, especially when it is important to me. She was nothing short of miraculous Saturday. Thanks, Babe.

I sure hope I didn’t leave anyone out. I’m sure I will hear about it before we go to press so let me have it!

Our photographer, Steve Mitchell, took dozens of great pictures and you will get to see all of them in the June issue and on the website and Facebook page.

Already looking forward to 2018!


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