Why attend the Gatsby Gala? Event supports Lewistown Downtown Association

Sponsors, attendees and volunteers for the Great Gatsby Gala, Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Civic Center are supporting the Lewistown Downtown Association via its second annual Valentine’s fundraiser.

The Lewistown Downtown Association emerged out of the Volunteer Network in early 2011. The LDA, affiliated with the Montana Main Street Program, sought and obtained a 501-c-3 designation from IRS and began fulfilling its mission to “celebrate, promote and preserve Lewistown’s economic vitality with a specific focus on Main Street.”

The LDA, under the chairmanship of Chris Cooler, is an all-volunteer organization. All funds generated by the LDA go 100 percent into projects and partnerships designed to proactively enhance Lewistown.

The LDA Board of Directors meets monthly: Chris Cooler, Chair, Lana Papp, Secretary and Board Members, Rene Hartford, Jennifer Pfau, Alana Kuehn, Karen Kuhlmann, Tammy Pyrah and Jennifer Saunders.

Near completion is the Way-Finding Signage project, funded by grants and providing the blue and gold informational signage helping visitors to find major destinations within Lewistown.

Most recently, the LDA successfully secured and fabricated two billboards on West Highway 87, encouraging travelers headed east to continue on Highway 87 down Main Street through Lewistown.

In October of 2012, at the request of the existing Montana Winter Fair leadership, the LDA assumed a primary roll in continuing the production of the 70-plus-year-old fair every January. The LDA recognized the positive economic impact of the Montana Winter Fair on Lewistown and enthusiastically dedicated itself to continuing production of the event.

Other projects of the LDA include the Adopt-a-Block clean-up program on Main Street, funding of a University of Montana Visitor Assessment Study, production of free customer service seminars, production of the annual Halloween FunFest and Haunted Vault, collaboration with the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce in producing the Christmas Stroll, the Main Street window advertising program, the Second Avenue/Main Street business directory, support of tourist/visitor marketing co-ops with TBID, ROC Committees, the City of Lewistown and the Central Montana Regional Tourism Board, and creating a light display at “Bright Country Nights.”

The LDA is “action oriented” as challenges and opportunities present themselves. Partnerships and collaborations are sought to get things done and maximize resources within the community.

LDA funds help to underwrite modest projects, create “matching funds” for grants, cover small out-of-pocket expenses and make possible opportunity involvement in community enhancement efforts.

On the horizon is securing funding for the printing of a brand new brochure promoting Gold Mining Ghost Towns of the Judith Mountains and Fort Maginnis, written by Nancy Watts and Jerry Hanley. Research shows that “gold mines” and “ghost town” are two of the most popular search engines on the Internet.

The major fundraiser of the LDA is its annual Valentine's bash. This year, the Great Gatsby Gala, Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Civic Center is being produced. Dinner tickets are available at Don’s Store. Dessert and dance tickets are available at Don’s Store, the Connection, Pourman’s Café and the Art Center or online at LewistownDowntown.com.

Those interested in learning more or serving on the LDA board are invited to contact Chris Cooler at 538-2200, westwind898@gmail.com. The regular monthly meetings of the LDA are held on the second Thursday of the month. Meetings are open to the public.


What is your favorite part of the Fair?