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Festival at Sandpoint honored by chamber

| December 3, 2021 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce has recognized the Festival at Sandpoint as its business of the month for November.

In announcing the award, the chamber said the Festival had navigated two challenging years, including a global pandemic, en route to a successful 2021 season.

With Ali Baranski, who was named executive director in 2021, and Amy Bistline, Caroline Hawkins and Paul Gunter, chamber officials said The Festival staff is a powerhouse of possibilities. Bob Witte is serving as board chairman and with several new board members, a host of new and fresh perspectives are ahead.

To ensure there was a heightened focus on getting the non-profit through those difficult times, Festival board directors began meeting on a weekly basis rather than monthly. Through the efforts of the board and staff, by February 2020, the upcoming concert season had been booked and The Festival was set to announce their line-up and put tickets on sale.

However, with the threat of COVID-19 beginning to hit hard in larger cities across the country, scheduled artists put their touring schedules on hold and asked the Festival to hold off on selling tickets. In March 2020, the board was forced to postpone the season for a year.

“It was a tough decision as it was one of the first local events to cancel due to COVID, although most events for the summer season soon followed suit,” chamber officials said.

In spite of the overwhelming obstacles, chamber officials said the Festival’s dedicated staff and board were able to put on a successful 2021 season. After undergoing a complete metamorphosis over the past two years, chamber officials said the Festival at Sandpoint is not only surviving, but thriving — and working to present its 39th season in 2022, scheduled to run July 28 to Aug. 7.

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