The Wood River Jewish Community is holding its 20th annual summer picnic at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, at River Run Lodge near Ketchum.
The event will be notable for several reasons. It will be a public welcoming of the Rabbi Barney Brickner and his family to the valley, and it will have authentic klezmer music as entertainment.
There will be games for children, and a catered picnic from the Sun Valley Co.
The organization has held this picnic seemingly everywhere in the past two decades.
"It has a long history. We used to have it at Trail Creek, but one time it rained and they moved us to the Limelight Room and everybody danced," said Sue Mendelsohn. "It's been at private homes since then and at Boundary Creek, but we had to hold the tables all day. It's grown so. We'll have over 200 people. Two years ago we were at River Run, and last year at the Valley Club for brunch. We're glad to be back at River Run."
"Sue Mendelsohn heard us 10 years ago. So it's kind of a reunion for us to be back in Sun Valley," said Epic Klezmer violinist Wendy Marcus. "Klezmer music has its roots in the vanished Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. Influenced by Gypsy music and by the Slavic and Russian communities in which Jews once lived, klezmer music is a bittersweet repository of love and longing, of being uprooted and of renewal."
The four musicians who make up Epic Klezmer, from Seattle, have played klezmer music apart and together for decades. These Northwest klezmer pioneers are Shawn Weaver on clarinet, Murl Allen Sanders on accordion and piano, Andy Zadrozny on bass and Marcus on violin and vocals.
Their performances include wailing clarinet, toe-tapping horas and bottle dancing.
"You may be cajoled into learning how to dance with a bottle on your head," Marcus said. "Hint: wear a hat."
The group's vocal repertoire ranges from humorous Yiddish folk songs and lush Sephardic ballads, passionate Israeli anthems to Jewish-American standards from the 1940s and 1950s.
The cost for the picnic is $40 for Wood River Jewish Community members and $50 for non-members. Children 5 through 12 can attend for $15, and those under 5 get in for free.