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For the week of September 20 through 26, 2000

Photos by Willy Cook

Best food turns into best party

Five years ago the Blaine County Recreation District began a small and little known event—Best of the Valley. It was formed to help fund the drive for a Blaine County Recreation District bond, which was defeated in September 1999.

But that glitch didn’t stop Bob Bolton, event organizer, or the loyal Blaine County Recreation District staff.

On this fifth year of the event, the largest crowd yet turned out for a delightfully warm afternoon and evening in the Elkhorn plaza.

Bolton said the event attracted approximately 1,100 people, who spent nearly $19,000. Last year’s gross, he said, was $15,000.

That money (after expenses) will be used to help fund a teen recreation center in the current high school in Hailey, after a new high school is built. Expected completion date of the new school is 2002.

As always, the vendors were local restaurants. Omlay’s served Oriental salads; Wild Radish offered buffalo flank steak; and Evergreen boasted butterflied lime shrimp.

Other vendors were Red Elephant, Coyote Grill, China Pepper, Sun Sushi, River Rock Steak House, Starbucks, Ketchum Grill, Chocolate Moose, Esta’s and Smokey Mountain Pizza. Many of those purveyors sold out of the delicious looking and sounding food.

"Apparently, everyone was not as prepared for as large a crowd as we had," said Bolton. He said they all plan on overstocking next year.

Music was provided by local country western group R&R Music. Many folks took advantage and danced between bites. People either reserved a table under the tent, which was the only shady spot available, or perched on the walls and hills around the plaza. Many families attended, and children dancing and eating pizza and brownies was a common sight.

This year, Bolton said, more was spent on promotion and ads in Twin Falls. In addition, ads were placed on television, which had not been done in the past.

"It was a fun, festive night for all—everyone had a really good time," said Susie Wrentmore, the Blaine County Recreation District projects and programs assistant.

"I throw the party, but Susie does 90 percent of the work," Bolton said.

After five years the event has developed a reputation and following as a "great event, with great food," Bolton said. "We didn’t want it to turn into a snob event. People can try food they may not otherwise have a chance to try. We’ve developed our niche, I hope."

—Dana DuGan


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