The fifth annual Pheasant Fest fundraiser for Farm in the Dell Rocky Mountain Front is set for Oct. 16 at the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau.
Activities start at 5:30 p.m. and cost $30 a person, which includes the meal. Children age 10 and younger will be admitted free. The Log Cabin will cater a taco bar and there will be a cash bar from the Livery Saloon. No pre-tickets will be sold.
Throughout the evening there will be silent auction items to bid on and a live auction. There will also be several interactive games with prizes. Board chairman Steve Lettengarver said the auction items and prizes range from guns to trips, a half of beef to baskets of booze and seasonal items.
“We appreciate the donations from area businesses and individuals,” Lettengarver said. “We are still accepting new items or gift certificates.” Donations will need to be at the Stage Stop by Saturday afternoon or by contacting Lettengarver at 406-590-2744 or fellow board member Cory Copenhaver at 406-781-1688.
There isn’t a live pheasant hunt involved with the event, but those attending can take part in a “hunt” where they pick out a colored bird and take part in a series of fun activities in the hopes of being the lucky winner.
There will be a DJ playing music during the evening and following the live auction, the area will be cleared for dancing.
The Stage Stop Inn is offering discounts to those wishing to spend the night. When making the reservation, note you will be attending the fundraiser.
Several volunteers, including several Dutton FFA members, are assisting the board members in working the event. The board members said they appreciate the help. Lettengarver noted some of the donations have been unique, such as the billboard advertising the event on Interstate 15 near Great Falls sponsored by Opportunity Bank. “The exposure outside of the local area has been great with the billboard,” he said.
Funds raised support the Farm in the Dell Rocky Mountain Front project at Fairfield — building a place where adults with intellectual disabilities can live and work, remaining a part of the area they have grown up in.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Lettengarver said. They did not hold the event last year because of the ongoing concerns for coronavirus. Like many groups, Lettengarver said Farm In the Dell has found it challenging to raise funds over the past year and a half.
“We certainly appreciate those who have given to the farm during that period, but not being as visible and able to hold events has reduced donations,” he said. “We are hoping the Pheasant Fest will jump start fundraising again.”
The Pheasant Fest fundraiser is held on a rotating basis in Choteau, Fairfield and Conrad. The group is also hoping they can host a New Year’s Eve dance once again at the Fairfield Community Hall. The dance is a fundraiser but also fun evening for families to come out together and celebrate.
The group purchased 15-plus undeveloped acres on the edge of Fairfield in 2018. They have since added a fence across one side and storage, pump and irrigation sheds. They are working on an irrigation system and will be erecting a pole barn this fall allowing for animals by next year. The board appreciates the help of Sonny Fellers with L Ventures LLC, who is helping with several projects.
The land has been in hay crop since it was purchased and the profits from the hay sales are also being used to help with building on the farm. The cost of building the pole barn has almost doubled in the past year and a half and the prices of materials to build a house have also skyrocketed. That isn’t preventing the board from continuing to move forward.
“It is taking longer than we anticipated but it hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of those working to make the farm a reality,” Lettengarver said. They will continue to hold fundraisers, accept donations and apply for grants and loans. The farm will not be funded through state or federal programs.
The goal is for the residents of the Farm to give back to the Rocky Mountain Front community in ways that include a local farmers market, opportunities for the residents to interact with the community on the Farm and to support local businesses.
For additional information on the fundraiser or the Farm in the Dell program or to donate, contact Lettengarver or Copenhaver.