It was a helluva August. Hot and dry. By the third week the Wood River Valley was focused on one thing: the Castle Rock Fire that ultimately burned 48,520 acres of our precious backcountry.
Approximately 1,600 firefighters succeeded in bringing Mother Nature's fiery rampage to full containment without the loss of lives or structures. Even Bald Mountain managed to get in the act, and out, without harm to structures, lifts or terrain.
What did fall, however, was what is annually the second biggest money making nut of the year next to the December holidays. Wagon Days was canceled, as were all the associated events. Businesses have taken a huge hit, with many looking for loans to help them survive.
To express the community's gratitude for the efforts of the firefighters and to bring vitality to the downtown business core of Ketchum, the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau and the city of Ketchum will host a Kick Ash Bash this weekend. The event's centerpiece will be the Castle Rock Firefighters Benefit Concert featuring the Bruce Willis Blues Band, Carole King and the Steve Miller Band. All firefighters who worked on the Castle Rock fire will be invited as special guests of honor, with arrangements being handled by the Ketchum Fire Department.
Proceeds from the concert will go to non-profit Sun Valley/Ketchum Volunteer Firefighters Association, which covers all the Wood River Valley departments, as well as the non-profit national Wildland Firefighters Foundation, based in Boise.
Friday, Sept. 28:
· Fixed-wing tours of the Castle Rock Fire area, Sun Valley Aviation, $135 per person, two-person max for one-hour tour, 10 a.m.--5 p.m., call 788-0199.
· Sidewalk sales: Great deals at various stores and shops in Ketchum, Sun Valley Village and River Run. 10 a.m.-6 p. m. Launch of Ketchum Community Wi-Fi.
· Fire photo display: View amazing photos of Castle Rock Fire by amateur and professional photographers, noon-8 p.m. at Sun Valley Center for the Arts.
· Ketchum is Alive! Live music with Paul Cox and Friends, Jeremiah James, and street dance in Ketchum Town Plaza. 6-10 p.m.
· Food and drink vendors provide eats and libations, 6-10 p.m.
· Take a firefighter to dinner.
Saturday, Sept. 29
· Fixed-wing tours of Castle Rock Fire area, Sun Valley Aviation, $135 per person, two-person max for one-hour tour, 10 a.m.--5 p.m. Call 788-0911.
· Sturtevant's Baldy Hill Climb: Annual race to the top of Baldy starts from Warm Springs at 9 a.m. Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, 726-4129.
· Sidewalk Sales: Get great deals at various stores and shops in Ketchum, Sun Valley Village and River Run, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
· Sturtevant's will host Bruce Innes and Friends in the parking lot in Ketchum.
· MS Walk: 3.8-mile walk from Forest Service Park in Ketchum to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center to benefit Multiple Sclerosis Society. Registration at 9 a.m., walk at 10 a.m.
· Fire Photo Display: View amazing photos of the Castle Rock Fire from amateur and professional photographers at Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Noon-8 p.m.
· Local restaurants offer early Kick Ash Bash dining specials, 5-7 p.m.
· Book reading and signing with Anthony Doerr: Iconoclast Books in Ketchum, 5:30 p.m.
Kick Ash Bash activities in the Ketchum Town Plaza
· Activities for kids: noon-4 p.m. as coordinated by the Papoose Club.
· Ketchum/Sun Valley Rotary Club's Roasted Duck Race: Adopt-a-Duck $5. Great prizes, including $5,000 in Chamber Choice Gift Certificates for more than 100 valley businesses, 1-5 p.m. Ducks race at 4 p.m. Proceeds to Blaine County Search & Rescue and local student scholarships.
· Free live music with Four-Stroke Bus will play from 1-3 p.m. The Heaters will play from 3-5 p.m.
· Castle Rock Firefighters Benefit Concert featuring Carole King, the Steve Miller Band and the Bruce Willis Blues Band, 7-10 p.m., East Avenue in downtown Ketchum. Tickets are $25 general admission, $200 VIP, which includes private meet and greet with Steve Miller. All proceeds go to all Blaine County fire departments and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Doors open at 6 p.m., re-entry allowed, no carry-in food, drink or chairs. Food and drink from local restaurants will be available at the venue. Tickets: visitsunvalley.com or Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum, 726-9491. After Party will be at Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum with Cosmic Beans.
Sunday, Sept. 30
· Fixed-wing tours of Castle Rock Fire area, Sun Valley Aviation, $135 per person, two-person max for one-hour tour, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., call 788-0199.
· Sidewalk Sales: Great deals at various stores and shops in Ketchum, Sun Valley Village and River Run, 10 a.m.--6 p.m.
· Fire Photo Display: View amazing photos of Castle Rock Fire by local amateur and professional photographers at Sun Valley Center for the Arts, 1--5 p.m.
· First Bank of Idaho 10th Anniversary Carnival, Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., call 725-0330.
· Film Premiere of "The Hollywood Librarian: A Look At Librarians Through Film," 6 p.m., Community Library in Ketchum, 726-3493.
For more information, go to visitsunvalley.com.