Family fun fills Ponderay Neighbor Day

PONDERAY — Ponderay Neighbor Day is back by popular demand, bringing people together around ponies, snow-cones, crafts, live music, local food and fun activities for the whole family.

Be prepared for a little magic this year – courtesy of magician Starr Alexander who will be performing mini-magic shows throughout the afternoon. Another novel addition to the day will be an axe-throwing booth sponsored by the city.

All the fun starts at 1 p.m. and continues until 6 p.m., Sept. 19 at the Harbison Field behind the Hoot Owl Restaurant off Highway 200 in Ponderay.

Returning to the stage is the Miah Kohal Band, while Sweet Lou’s will be hosting a beer garden and serving up favorite pub food. Food vendors also include gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from Selle Valley Creamery, ice cream from Sun Bear, 7B Barbecue and more.

Family friendly activities include a climbing wall, petting zoo, inflatables, pony rides, a North 40 fly-fishing booth, and a craft activity courtesy of Home Depot. A dunk tank sponsored by Ponderay Police, heavy equipment displayed by Pape Machinery and Independent Highway District, and retail and craft vendors will help fill in the mini-main street laid out in Harbison Field.

Parking again will be off Emerald Industrial Park Drive, with limited parking behind the Hoot Owl. Admission is free, but participants will be asked to practice social distancing and take advantage of the multiple handwashing and sanitization stations donated by Ace Septic Tank Services to prevent the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Ponderay Neighbor Day is an opportunity to come together as a community in the location of a future underpass to provide safe access to the lakeshore. Public outreach about recreation and connection projects, including the lakeshore connection and the Field of Dreams regional sports and recreation complex, have been among the objectives of the event.

This past summer, the city applied for a federal BUILD planning grant to fund the design and engineering of an underpass at the Harbison Field location, which would allow pedestrian and bicycle access to the lakeshore. This is not the first time the city has applied, but city officials point out that large federal grants often take multiple applications for success.

This year, the city also launched the Front Yard Project, the planning and cleanup of the Black Rock area, which is contaminated with heavy metals due to historic mining operations. In 2019, the City applied for and received a Brownfields Multipurpose grant for $800,000 in hazardous substances funding to address much needed planning, assessment, and cleanup activities within the historic smelter area.

With the Front Yard Project and an undercrossing, (partially funded by the city’s 1 percent local option tax passed last year by city residents) the city could potentially create park amenities along the shoreline. Ponderay is inviting public input on how that area could be designed to serve the public. Much like a front yard is a place to gather and recreate, Ponderay’s waterfront is a place where the community one day will safely gather to enjoy the lake and each other’s company.

Residents who stop by the Mini City Hall at Ponderay Neighbor Day to learn about the Front Yard Project will be entered into a free raffle. Drawings will be made at the tail end of the event for a Stihl Chainsaw donated by Pape Machinery, an Ozark Trail high performance cooler donated by Walmart and a night’s stay at the Outdoors Inn, donated by Ponderay’s newly remodeled motel on Highway 200.

Ponderay Neighbor Day is funded through generous sponsorships from local businesses and organizations. For instance, Avista donated power to the site, which is needed by some of the event’s vendors.

Other “Skyline” sponsors include Ting, Mountain Metals, The Retreat at Bay Trail, Selle Valley Construction, HMH Engineering, In & Out Painting, Mountain West Bank, P1FCU, Ace Septic Tank Service, Pony Go Round, KPND Radio, Kootenai Ponderay Sewer District, Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and the City of Ponderay.

Additional sponsors include Litehouse Foods, DSS Backyard Events, Pape Machinery, Sandpoint Furniture Carpet One, Taco Bell, Idaho Forest Group, Sandpoint Building Supply, Construction Northwest, Lake Pre-mix, Safeway and Waste Management. Additional sponsors and vendors are still welcome.

For more information, visit the city’s website at www.cityofponderay.org/ponderay-neighbor-day/ or call Ponderay City Hall at (208) 265-5468.

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