The Pals of the Pavilion, a local volunteer group that has been working to raise funds to remodel Choteau's community events center - The Choteau Pavilion - is planning to take a little time off while the remodel is completed. Jane Wolery, Teton County Agent, and a member of the group, gives us a brief history of the organization and its efforts:

"In 1999, a group of women met to discuss what could be done about the deteriorating condition of the kitchen equipment and appliances at the Choteau Pavilion. Cleaning, inventory and needs were discussed. Surely no one in attendance at that first meeting realized where the concern for the condition of the Pavilion would lead.

An example of one themed table. (Photo: Pals of the Pavilion)

Over the course of the next 15 years, the Pals of the Pavilion (as the group became known) consulted and cooperated with the City of Choteau, architects, local contractors, donors and grantors to develop a phased plan for improvements. Ironically, the Pals original intent to improve the kitchen was actually the last phase to be completed. Through consultations, it became clear that ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant entrances needed to be the first priority, followed by ADA-compliant bathrooms. The assembly hall was entirely remodeled, heating and cooling systems addressed, a storage unit added to house the chairs, tables, and stage. Over the years the community worked together to get new, lighter tables, chair racks, sound system and stage for the Pavilion, adding to the momentum of the improvements. In 2014, plans were finally underway for the kitchen remodel, which is nearly complete. Only a few items are left to be installed, including a few more sinks and double swinging doors. The City of Choteau will be replacing the roof, adding over-hangs on the entrances and new siding to the building in the next year. The Pals group has had many different people share their talents over the years to make the complete renovation happen. The project, in all its phases, is nearing completion.

In 2005, the group started an annual fundraising event that featured decorated, theme tables, live and silent auctions, along with luncheon and food sales. The event gained energy through the decade, with many looking forward to the fun annual event. The table themes grew to include some participants even wearing costumes to match their theme. From Uncle Sam to nuns and hikers to bikers, a variety of assorted characters enjoyed the party atmosphere of the fundraiser each year. The proceeds from the fundraiser have varied and in the best years topped $20,000. Between grants, city funds, donations and fundraiser proceeds, to date nearly $275,000 has been spent on improvements. With the additional exterior improvements planned, the total will reach well over $300,000.

These ladies were all decked out Gatsby-style, as their table theme was centered on the Roaring 20's, near the time when the Choteau Pavilion was built. (Photo: Pals of the Pavilion)

Those attending the recent fundraiser heard several announcements that this would be the final push to raise funds for the Pavilion, at least for a while. The Pals of the Pavilion group is extremely grateful for all of the support over the years from the many individuals and businesses. While the group is not disbanding, they will be on hiatus. At this time, no plans are underway for a fundraising event in 2015. At a recent meeting of the Pals of the Pavilion, the goals were to complete the current remodel of the kitchen, to give the community a break from being asked to support the improvements and to reconvene in a year.

The group also talked about recruiting new volunteers to the Pals of the Pavilion who have a heart for service to one of the very important structures in our community. Anyone who has a desire, a year from now, to become a member of the Pals of the Pavilion can contact Jane Wolery at 590-2492.

The Pals of the Pavilion sincerely appreciate the generosity of the community and encourage people to use the Pavilion and enjoy it’s beauty and convenience for their gatherings.