It’s no secret that folks in North Idaho never shy away from a good party. It could be Labor Day on the lake or camping up the St. Joe or Coeur d’Alene River, black dress and tie events benefitting our local nonprofits, or watch parties with other Idaho, Boise State, WSU, Montana or Eastern Washington fans. There are countless opportunities to attend events throughout the year, but those who recently attended the Masquerade Ball benefitting Children’s Village probably caught the party of the year. More than 525 people showed up at the Post Falls Greyhound Event Center which was completely transformed and almost unrecognizable.

 

 Organizer Keith Boe was inspired to organize such an event when he was meandering around Sandpoint and came across a castle and beautiful setting on top of Schweitzer Mountain.

 

“What if we had a classic, epic, old-school, once-in-a-lifetime costume party/masquerade ball in the castle,” said Boe. “Not a themed party, but let us recreate something in real life that we’ve only ever dreamed about seeing! I floated it out and the response was absolutely tremendous.” 

 

With the overwhelming response to the idea, Boe knew that the number of guests would far exceed what the home could provide. For weeks he searched for the perfect setting, but as popularity continued to grow so did the need for more space. Boe finally landed on the Greyhound Events Center in Post Falls. It would be a tough task transforming the space, but Boe was determined to transport those in attendance to a completely new world. 

 

Upon arriving at the center, the building glittered. Paparazzi lined the entrance with photographers behind velvet ropes and popping flashes. Attendants in powdered wigs greeted attendees with champagne and announced their arrival to the whole facility. Once inside, guests were in awe of the transformation. Two bars on each end, a band stage featuring baroque music, dance floor, dining areas open all night and lounging couch areas. The buildings were completely dark inside and out, but with help from a Hollywood lighting company, they illuminated it and made it a mansion through and through.

 

This was not just a dress-up party as guests headed to town in fancy ball gowns, jewelry and men’s period formal wear. Guests arrived by the droves in limos, and one even rode in on a horse! Being a masquerade ball, the masks were of great detail and were one of the highlights of the party. A Great Gatsby-like dinner was provided by Sylvia Fountaine of Feast Catering in Spokane and handmade desserts from Bruce Wing of Culinary Express. Soul Proprietor provided live music until a DJ took over the night at 10pm. Ticket prices were steep ($175/person), but the memories from the night will last with those in attendance. The reason people were willing to spend serious cash on a one-night event was partly because of the party itself, but also the fact that funds from the party are going to support local nonprofit Children’s Village. 

 

“I had one thing in mind when choosing a beneficiary for our event: it had to be for children and it had to be purely local. We met with Children’s Village in Coeur d’Alene, and we all had tears in our eyes after our initial visit. They are only located here in Coeur d’Alene and receive less than five percent of funding by the state,” said Boe. 

The mission of Children’s Village is to provide a safe haven and restore hope for children who have been abused, neglected or are in a severe family crisis. Since its inception, Children’s Village has helped more than 2,000 children in our community. Volunteers operate the Moyer and the Miller Homes as well as a crisis nursery for very young children. Here, infants up to 18 years of age are provided nutritional meals and snacks, health assessment and support, transportation to school or medical appointments, clothing and personal hygiene items, activities and outings to help them bond with other children and regain confidence. Each resident is also assigned a mentor to help guide him or her through emotional issues and be an anchor of support in troubling times. 

 

“We met two, a brother and sister. The 1-year-old boy was celebrating his first birthday that day. His sister was about 2 ½ ; they were so affectionate and just wanted to be held and were just hugging our legs, wanting to be picked up and loved,” recalled Boe. “These are local kids and the need is very real. It is our pleasure to partner up with them and give everything that we can for them.”

 

With such little funding coming from the State of Idaho, organizations like Children’s Village rely heavily on the generosity of the community through monetary donations and volunteer hours. Just last year they provided 550 trips to therapy and medical appointments and 13,246 meals to local children. 

 

It is a testament to our community when more than 525 people are willing to fork out $175 each to support a local organization that helps the most vulnerable and most fragile in our community. We seek out parties big and small and not surprisingly those benefitting our local nonprofits garner the most support from locals. Final figures on the amount being raised are still being calculated and will be shared with the community. Boe spent months planning and organizing the event and isn’t sure about doing the party again next year. However, knowing this community and how much we enjoy a good time, there’s a good chance he will be pushed into making this an annual event. Just seeing a building took Keith Boe from a quick idea to one of the biggest and most original charity-driven events in recent memory.

 

So what’s your idea and what’s holding you back? Even if your idea doesn’t result in a grandioso ball, every dollar adds up when supporting our local nonprofits. There are so many wonderful organizations in our community where your contributions and fundraising efforts stay local and directly impact local community members and families. It’s the time of giving and even giving a few hours of your time to a worthy local group can make a huge difference in people’s lives as well as your own. There are organizations helping children, veterans, addicts, special needs, cancer and so much more. Find one that hits close to you and make this the year you make a difference in your community.

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