By CAROLINE LOBSINGER
SANDPOINT — Fireworks, parades and plenty of Fourth of July fun — all thanks to the Sandpoint Lions.
The festivities are funded through an annual raffle — this year, the grand prize is 2017 Polaris Ranger 500 side-by-side, followed by a $2,000 Bonner County shopping spree and a third-place prize of $1,000 cash.
Ticket sales for the raffle are what fund the annual Fourth of July fireworks show and festivities. Lions recently launchved this year’s sales drive at the Lost in the ’50s celebration and will be setting up booths at local stores, including North 40, the Co-op, Walmart and Yoke’s.
The Lions have been sponsoring the Independence Day festivities for more than 50 years. It pays for all permits, fees, stipulated costs, insurance, supplies, prizes, and most important of all — the professional fireworks show, according to the club.
Most of the club’s funding comes from raffle ticket sales prior to the event. Tickets are $5 apiece or $20 for a book of five tickets. Volunteers sell them throughout the area in May and June at retail locations, including Walmart, Yokes, Super 1, and the Co-op. Those who purchase books have the chance to spin a prize wheel for free tickets, club members said.
The holiday festivities begin Monday, July 4, at 9 a.m. with a children’s parade. Up to 200 children ride decorated bikes or wagons through downtown. Entry is free, and each participant receives a goodie bag with treats and prizes.
The Grand Parade ensues at 10 a.m. and ends around noon. This year’s theme is “All About Service — 100 Years of Lions” as Lions Club International celebrates its 100th year of service. Pre-registration for entries is $25 or $30 on the morning of the parade is $30. Veterans groups can enter free, according to the club.
Parade registration forms are available at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., or on the Lions Club website at sandpointlions.com, which accepts credit cards.
While the Fourth of July gala is arguably their most popular event, the club is active year round, raising funds for various causes. These include Toys for Tots, food for the needy during the holidays and the Easter Egg Hunt at War Memorial Park. The local Lions also sponsor eye and hearing screening checks for nearly every elementary school student in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, as well as purchasing eyeglasses and hearing aids for local children and adults who cannot afford them. The Sandpoint Lions Club awards scholarships to local high school graduates, too, according to club officials.
The public can contribute to the Fourth of July fund by purchasing raffle tickets from the Sandpoint Lions Club or making cash donations.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Sandpoint Lions at 208-263-4118.
Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.