Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002 Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002
Sandpoint Magazine

Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002

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Holly Eve ‘the party the town gives itself’

Marilyn Sabella was having what she calls a “creative year” in 1981. She started her clothing store, Eve’s Leaves; she established Concerts on the Lawn; and she founded Sandpoint’s oldest auction fund-raiser, Holly Eve.

Sabella had helped coordinate a similar event when she lived in Spokane, Wash. – “Champagneve” – a fundraiser for the Spokane Symphony celebrated with champagne, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, silent and live auctions, and a women’s fashion show.

Although Schweitzer Alpine Racing School was the first beneficiary of Holly Eve, the event has gone on to raise more than a quarter-million dollars in its first 20 years for several organizations. Among them are the Panida Theatre, The Sandpoint Centennial, the East Bonner County Library, Sandpoint High School and the Festival at Sandpoint.

“I think the most remarkable aspect of Holly Eve is that everything is donated,” Sabella said.

Although Holly Eve has enjoyed the Panida’s surroundings for many years, it started out at The Wagon Bridge Inn, now the location of The Long Bridge Grill, followed by the Hydra Restaurant and the Cedar Street Bridge. Soon after the Panida reopened, Holly Eve settled there; it is always held the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving.

Partygoers walk in on a red carpet, are greeted by Sandpoint’s mayor, and handed ribbons and champagne. They choose from tempting hors d’oeuvres as they preview original artwork offered in the silent auction. As the show gets under way, regional entertainers alternate taking the stage with professional models.

Area restaurateurs provide the hors d’oeuvres; businesses and individuals donate auction items; and Bill Jones Distributing provides the necessary bottles of bubbly.

“To me, working on it is a reaffirmation of how generous our community is,” Sabella said. “I call Holly Eve the party that the community gives itself.”

The 21st annual Holly Eve will be Nov. 17.

– Billie Jean Plaster

Winter 2002

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