By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — A variety of people and Tribal Works Department are assisting in getting the Shoshone-Bannock Festival arbor, racetrack and rodeo grounds ready for the annual event scheduled August 11 to 14.
Shoshone-Bannock Festival Coordinator Leah Pandoah said they’re looking at the safety of everything so currently Greg Osborne is replacing partitions in the arts and crafts booths. He’s also replacing any poles that may have rotted on the east side of the booths and had to replace the roof on one of the booths. He said the booths held up pretty good over the years but some didn’t have treated poles that’s why they needed replacing. Also some needed the wood secured to the roofs.
The veterans area will also get improved. All funds for the improvements are from the Festival budget.
Pandoah said volunteers from the LDS Church came and assisted with painting of the arbor. Work will also be done on the Festival benches that need scraping and painting.
Concerning the Festival parades, the route will start at Eagle Road, come down Agency Road, turn left by the BIA building go down to the arbor through the food alley and out. She said it will be a better flow.
She said at the rodeo grounds the road has been widened for traffic to go both directions.
A tent will be put up for the handgames near the new restroom facility. The feast will probably be next to the old HRDC building on the lawn in the shade but she’s still confirming someone to coordinate it.
New walls installed in the vendor booths.
Public Works Director Richard John Kutch said new sod was placed in the Festival starting June 24. After three bids were received, Idaho Sod was awarded the $14,000 contract. They’ve been watering it and prepping it. It just needed to be rolled so the seams came together.
Kutch said they completed the outside rail on the racetrack at the rodeo grounds and the painting was July 14. The steel cost was around $53,000 – costs increased since Covid, along with cost of living, etc. Whipple Edmo did some of the welding on the rail, along with Gifferd Osborne. About $6,000 went into painting. Public Works staff did the bulk of the labor, he said. They’re also wanting to put up a wooden protection fence around the north side but not sure it will be completed in time for the Festival. The concrete for the steel posts was around $1,500. The funds for all of it came from the Hotel Occupancy and Use Tax.
A new railing installed at the Fort Hall Rodeo Grounds racetrack.
In addition to the outside rail, Public Works crew widened the west side of the track to 70 feet so it coincides with the east side. He noted past council members talked about pari-mutuel racing so it would be ready for it. “It’s more consistent all the way around,” Kutch said.
The delay on completing the rail is because of weather delays. “I know local relay teams were getting antsy and I told them to be patient – once it’s done it’s a lot nicer.”
A new restroom/shower facility is being installed near where the handgame arbor used to be. Construction Services did the water and sewer connection, while Bahm Electric did the electrical line. Kimberly Dixey, Construction Services director, said the facility is a pre caste concrete that includes men’s and women’s bathrooms including handicapped. It will have four showers including a handicapped shower. It will have steel doors and no windows.
New on-site Festival bathroom and shower facilities.
Tribal Revenue Director Wendy Farmer said the building is also paid from Hotel Occupancy and Use Tax. The cost is more than was projected two years ago.
Concerning the handgame structure, they’re hoping tents can be borrowed from the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel for the interim as they’re waiting to see the amount of funds remaining after the bathroom/shower is complete. The building will be painted and natural gas will be connected so there will be hot water for showers.