Downtown Sandpoint was busy with new construction during the summer of 1927. F.C. Weskil broke ground in June for a fancy new theater and opened just six months later. Excited crowds filled the Panida Theater on Nov. 22, amazed by the beautiful interior. They settled into the comfortable seats to watch Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton in “Now We’re in the Air.”
Ninety years later, the Panida Theater still has the wow effect. Lovingly restored and maintained, the theater looks much as it did in 1927. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was honored with an Orchid Award from the Idaho Historic Preservation Council in 1986.
Our tiny staff of one full-time and two part-time employees manage to keep things hopping at the Panida. This last year the theater hosted movies, live music, comedy, dance, and dramatic productions. In addition, the Panida provides a venue where local musical and dance classes can perform and gain experience on a big stage.
Income from these events covers most of the Panida’s monthly bills. Memberships and donations, along with special fundraisers, help make ends meet. The budget is very tight, however, and old buildings, beautiful as they are, require a lot of upkeep. Heating in the winter and cooling in the summer takes a lot of money — often over $1,000 a month during cold weather.
Right now, as we head into the winter heating season, the Panida’s bank account has dropped to an unhealthy and unexpected low. The staff and the board of directors are working to cut every unnecessary expense to make the most out of every dollar. But there’s only so much we can do.
Thus we are turning once again to the community, to those who love the Panida, to ask for special year-end donations. We appreciate all of you who already have given during the past months and those who have given so much over the past 30 years. A basic membership is just $25, and anything above that will help us get through this hard time. You can donate online at panida.org or send a check to Panida Theater, Box 1981, Sandpoint, ID 83864. The Panida Theater Committee, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
In addition to money, there are other ways to help the Panida Theater. We have many volunteer opportunities, from selling popcorn at movies, to helping with filing in the office, to writing grants. If you are interested, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you all for your support and love of the Panida Theater, the heart and soul of our community! Let’s work together to ensure that the lights (and heat!) stay on for another 90 years!
With gratitude and best wishes for a happy holiday season,
NANCY FOSTER RENK,
Chair, board of directors