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Celebrating Community

Celebrating Community

It’s a summer party that everyone looks forward to in our area—Kootenai River Days. Taking place this year from July 16 through July 21, it promises to be fun for the whole family!

While there was a short period of time the event was not held, The Bonners Ferry Chamber of Commerce took over the event when it made its return in 2014, and each year since it has grown significantly as more and more events are added and an increasing number of people flock to the festivities.

According to Jennifer Van Etten, chairperson for this year’s event, when Kootenai River Days returned four years ago, the main events were a street dance, rodeo, family movie night at the United Methodist Church and the Rotary Wine Walk.

“The Rotary Wine Walk is now known as the Grapes and Barley Walk,” she said. Tickets are $25 a piece if purchased before June 30. After June 30, they will be $30. “This is dependent on space and availability, so do not wait too long.” The event will begin on July 19 at 5:30pm, with the participation and starting point still to be determined. Tickets can be purchased from Glenda Poston at or by contacting Kristie Campbell at

“The family movie night is now hosted at the Pearl Theatre in Downtown Bonners Ferry,” said Jennifer of the popular event that attracts many families and is sponsored by Baby Go Round and More. “We have also added free bouncy houses for the kids from Northwest Inflatables as well as free professional face painters Koda Tillberg and Missy Saunders.”

Other events taking place include the Bull Bash, which is now all local participants, and a Jack and Jill Softball Tournament that will be held at Riverside Ball Field. “Free camping will be available there for players,” said Jennifer.

For the second year in a row there will be comedians entertaining the crowd at the Kootenai River Inn Casino. “We will have Michael Glatzmaier and Harry J. Riley out of Spokane,” said Jennifer. Also, Devotion Tribal Belly Dancers will be performing for the fourth year.

New to this year’s Kootenai River Days is something that is sure to bring out the chefs in the community—the Wild Game/Rib Cook-Off on Saturday. Held on Main Street downtown, this is a great way to show off your culinary skills. If you would like to enter the contest, you can email the chamber at

General Feed and Grain

Jennifer shares that some of the more popular events of this community celebration include the Street Dance, Bull Bash, Grapes and Barley Walk, Family Movie Night and the performance by the comedians. “We hope to have the softball tournament and Wild Game and Rib Cook-Off continue to be a part of our annual lineup of events. This year we are partnering up with Crazy Dayz, so sales galore will be happening around the whole county,” she said.

An event like this takes not only many volunteers but sponsors as well. This year, there have been many who have stepped forward to help put on this amazing event.

“Our biggest sponsor this year is Idaho Forest Group,” said Jennifer, adding that Bonners Ferry Chamber of Commerce and Auburn Crest Hospice are also main sponsors. Others include Riverside Auto Center, Mountain West Bank, Boundary Abstract, JB Tires Les Schwab, State Farm Diane Blakely, Super 1 Foods, Medicine Man Pharmacy, Larson’s Department Store, The Pizza Factory, Alta, Boundary Tractor Kubota, Thomas Bushnell Law, Diane Rogers, Corey Richards, Beck’s Furniture, Northwest Inflatables, 3-Mile Café and Truck Stop, Levi Falk, Bonners Ferry Veterinarian, Potlatch Federal Credit Union, Kootenai River Brewing Co., Edward Jones, Accurate Collision, Youngwirth, Davis and Associates, Safeway, Mi Pueblo, Mugsy’s Bar and Grill, Under The Sun, The Pearl Theatre and KG&T Septic.

“I would like to add a huge shout out to all our local talent, performers and volunteers donating their time in making Kootenai River Days a fun and fantastic event each and every year,” said Jennifer.

Currently there are 20 volunteers, but they can always use more and are always looking for more ways to improve upon what they already have, add additional events and have people willing to lead those events. “Our biggest need this year is cleanup after the event,” said Jennifer.

Another fun part of Kootenai River Days and one that brings out the creativity in business owners is the window display contest. “The theme will be your best version of Kootenai River Days. The judges will be by votes from the community. Each participating business will have a ballot box or jar you can drop your vote into,” said Jennifer, who adds that they hope to have businesses from throughout the county participate as it is not just limited to the downtown area. First place will be a free year enhanced version on the Chamber of Commerce website, second place is a pizza and pop lunch for the winning business’s staff and third place will be coffee and doughnuts for the business’s staff.

The funds raised from Kootenai River Days go to putting on the event itself, including insurance, advertising, rental of the fairgrounds, hiring a band and much more. “If there ever happens to be extra money, that goes into the pot for next year’s event,” said Jennifer.

Be sure to mark your calendars and make it a time to remember. Kootenai River Days is a Bonners Ferry tradition that gets better each year. Thank you to all who have stepped forward donating time, money and talent for what is sure to be another successful year!


Wednesday, July 18: Family movie night at the Pearl Theatre, 3pm. WONDER. Admission is FREE.

Thursday, July 19: Grapes and Barley walk, 5:30pm.

Friday, July 20: Crazy Dayz will be all day • Bull Bash Gates open at 6pm. Tickets are $12. • Beer garden and food vendors will be present • Comedy Show at the Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa, 8pm. Tickets are $5.

Saturday, July 21: Live music starts at 11am with the Farmers Market • The Street Fair • Crazy Dayz • Wild Game/Rib Cook-Off will be in full swing by then. • Mark Kitchen plays from 1 to 3pm • Nancy Meadows from 3 to 4pm • Shiloh Rising from 4 to 5pm • Devotional Tribal Belly Dancers from 5 to 6pm.

(Earlier spots are still available. If interested, you can contact Diane Rogers at 208.818.3755 if you would like to perform.) • DJ with Levi Falk 6 to 8pm • The Devon Wade Street Dance 8:30 to 11:30pm • Free Bouncy houses 5 to 10pm • Free face painting from 5 to 8pm • Free family photo booth will be available throughout the day.

Jack and Jill Softball Tournament starts at 8am and goes until 7pm at the Riverside Ball Field. The cost to enter is $225 per team. There is a three-game guarantee, free camping and concessions on site. And it’s within walking distance to the street dance! If you would like to enter, send checks to Bonners Ferry Chamber of Commerce at P.O Box X, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805 and for more information, contact Casey Solt at 208.610.7837.

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