Idaho News

Idaho Capitol lighting was banned. Boise Pride Festival will do it anyway — from afar

Boise Pride Festival organizers had hoped to get state permission to light up the Idaho Capitol in rainbow colors in mid-June for their 30th anniversary — despite a new policy prohibiting groups from lighting the capitol for special events.

But they’ve been unable to get a meeting with Department of Administration officials, the group said in a news release Saturday.

So Boise Pride came up with a new strategy for lighting the Capitol, which the group has done the past three years at its own expense.

“We have put together a plan to light the Capitol from afar at an increased cost to Boise Pride, but one justified by the symbolic nature for this act of passion and inclusivity,” the release said.

The group did not share details on where the lighting equipment will be set up, but spokesman Joseph Kibbe told the Statesman Sunday morning that it won’t be on state grounds.

In the past, the cost of hiring a company do the lights was about $5,000. But this year it will cost a lot more.

Pride organizers are now trying to raise $7,500 for the lights; by Sunday morning, they’d raised $2,900 (Click here to see Boise Pride’s GoFundMe page). So far, 21,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Department of Administration to allow the lights.

Bob Geddes, former director of the Department of Administration, told groups last year that no more outdoor illumination of the Capitol would be permitted due to a “high volume” of requests.

Geddes told the Pride Festival in a May 11 email that “the Capitol would no longer be used as a projection screen for causes.”

“We are becoming overwhelmed with applications, and if some are approved, all must be allowed,” Geddes said in an email last June to representatives of seven organizations, including Boise State University.

The department has received 10 to 12 requests last year, a department spokeswoman told the Statesman.

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