Boise Pride Festival’s plans to celebrate its 30th anniversary with rainbow lights on the Idaho Capitol are moving ahead despite a new state ban on such displays, thanks to $7,500 in donations from the community, including donations from Albertsons and Hotbox Farms, organizers say.
The two-day festival in Downtown Boise is next Friday and Saturday. It attracts about 75,000 people.
The lights show, which has been funded by festival supporters the past three years, appeared to be in jeopardy because the former director of the state Department of Administration announced last year that the agency would no longer accept applications from groups wanting to do special light shows.
But rather than give up the lights show or light a different building, the festival got creative. Organizers plan to use higher-powered lights to light the building from afar — in Cecil D. Andrus Park, formerly Capitol Park — rather than from state grounds.
The light show usually costs about $5,000, but the high-powered lights needed this year will cost an extra $2,500. The group set up a GoFundMe online to raise $7,500.
“We’ve had a really huge community response to the GoFundMe campaign,” said Joseph Kibbe, a spokesman for Boise Pride Festival.
Albertsons Corporation and Hotbox Farms, which runs a marijuana dispensary in Huntington, Oregon, and a CBD shop in Ontario, were among contributors, according to a Facebook post by Boise Pride Festival. Albertsons is a regular sponsor of festival activities, Kibbe said.
“They helped bridge that last little gap of matching funds,” Kibbe said of the corporate donations.
Dennis McCoy, senior director of communications for Albertsons, said the company is a proud sponsor of the 30th annual festival.
“The rainbow colors that light up the Idaho State Capitol building during this event have become an important Treasure Valley tradition,” he said via e-mail. “We were proud to donate an additional $1,910 to keep that tradition alive and ensure that the colors of LGBTQ inclusion continue to shine brightly in our community.”
Steven Meland, co-owner of Hotbox Farms, told the Statesman they matched Albertsons’ donation and gave additional money for the fireworks show.
Kibbe said lighting the Capitol isn’t breaking any laws because there’s no written policy that prohibits groups from lighting the building.
“It’s not specifically forbidden by rules and regulations,” he said.
Department of Administration Director Bryan Mooney was unavailable Friday to talk about Boise Pride’s plans to light the Capitol because he’s in “travel mode,” according to an office spokeswoman. She provided this written statement from the office:
“The State has decided not to light the Capitol in recognition of events or groups. If others light the Capitol, the State has not approved or endorsed the lighting. When lighting the Capitol interferes with the public’s use of the Capitol or with the conduct of government at the Capitol, the State will take action at that time.”