By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

BIG SKY – The third annual Big Sky Community Corp. Parks and Trails Gala returns to the community park on July 19. Proceeds from BSCC’s biggest fundraiser of the year will be earmarked for constructing and maintaining new and existing trails, as well as obtaining easements for future trails and park improvements.

Last year’s Gala raised nearly $100,000 – about 20 percent of BSCC’s overall funding – for Big Sky’s nonprofit parks and trails organization, according to Executive Director Jessie Wiese. Private donations, resort tax, grants, and Camp Big Sky tuition fees provided the balance of last year’s budget.

“The money raised at the Gala we use to match grants and other funding sources so we’re more likely to get funded for projects,” Wiese said.

The first Parks and Trails Gala in 2012 raised about $100,000 as well, and Wiese said they hope to eclipse that figure and bring in $150,000 at this year’s event.

The night begins under a large canvas tent, with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by a seated dinner provided by Bozeman-based private chef and caterer Ryan Lafoley. Napa Valley’s Lamborn Family Vineyards and Santa Rita Hills’ Melville Vineyards will be pairing wine with Lafoley’s gourmet offerings before the silent and live auctions begin at 7 p.m.

Brian Lamborn, president of winery operations at Lamborn Vineyards, first visited Big Sky with his parents 25 years ago, and will be pouring wine at the Gala.

“I’ve always been an avid outdoorsman,” Lamborn said. “And [that trip] was my first introduction to a fly rod. I’ve been a fly fisherman ever since.” As part of a Napa Valley getaway, Lamborn is also donating a six-vintage, 12-bottle Lamborn Cabernet case in a branded wooden box – one of only 100 they produce – for the auction.

The getaway will include a complimentary tour and tasting at Lamborn Family Vineyards with “vineyard fare” food, a two-night stay at the Meadowood Resort including breakfast, and dinner at Goose & Gander in St. Helena.

“It’s a way to payback everything I get from the area,” Lamborn said. “It’s not just locals that benefit from BSCC, but [also] people who visit Big Sky, we’re lucky to be involved.”

Other auction items include a week’s stay anywhere in the world, donated by Barb Rooney and Big Sky Resort, as well as a Seattle football package. The highest bidder on that item – donated by Jon and Kim Hemingway – will see the University of Washington Huskies take on the UCLA Bruins in the Huskies’ new stadium, as well as defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks face the New York Giants the following day.

“The trip comes at a perfect time of year, especially for Big Sky residents who may be looking for a fall getaway,” wrote Ania Bulis in an email. Bulis purchased the package at last summer’s Gala and had never been to an NFL game before.

“The Seahawks games are as loud as they say… [And] the weekend exceeded all expectations.”

After the auctions close, country trio Rocky Mountain Pearls will heat up the dance floor with old and new country tunes from 9 p.m. to midnight.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit bscc.org/events/parks-trails-gala.