There was a throwback to the 1970s at The Argyros Performing Arts Center Wednesday as guests of the Housing Hoopla fundraiser danced the night away to disco tunes while raising money for Blaine County housing organizations.
Sun Valley resident Ali Long hosted and Jamie Antolini organized the event. A native New Yorker, Antolini moved to Ketchum just a couple years ago.
“The first time I saw this room, I knew we had to have a party here. And I wanted to throw a Studio 54-style disco, bring some New York to Ketchum.” he said. “This is a fundraiser for a great cause, but it’s also a party.”
Guests paid $150 for a seat, $250 for a VIP seat, or $7,500 for a “sponsors table.” Most were dressed in fun, colorful outfits, some came in more formal attire. Hors d’oeuvres were served before the dancing commenced. The menu comprised all locally sourced fare. Highlights included Idaho russet potatoes topped with caviar, asparagus puree served on a wafer and topped with Parmesan cheese, and prime rib served with horseradish sauce.
Between the food and the dancing, there were various presentations by representatives of the beneficiary foundations. Representatives of the SPUR Foundation, the ARCH Community Housing Trust and the Blaine County Charitable Fund discussed their organizations’ work and how they can impact housing in the Wood River Valley.
“About a year and a half ago, our board recognized that the limitation with federal funding is the income restriction. Federal housing dollars do not allow for residents in rental housing to earn more than 60% of the area median income,” said ARCH Executive Director Michelle Griffith. “A lot of people in this community are earning more than that, but still not enough to live comfortably. For example, it takes more than three times the salary of a police officer or a teacher to afford the average rent.”
As attendees danced the night away to the Bee Gees and Donna Summer, the DJ periodically reminded them to scan QR codes on their tables to continue to donate. The event was a balance of work and play and an effort to inspire more citizens to step up and find creative ways to impact the housing issue.
Community organizer and activist Herbert Romero said the event is a positive step.
“We need public and private partnerships to solve this crisis. This is a great way to promote that,” he said.
Romero also stressed that Blaine County’s housing issues don’t impact everyone to the same degree.
“People have to understand that we have an underserved Hispanic community that is disproportionately affected by these issues,” he said. “We have a responsibility to do what we can to help them.”