'Horn in the West' cautious on upcoming season
by Anna Oakes
It appears the outdoor drama "Horn in the West" will not receive $10,000 from the town of Boone to help with opening costs this season, as the aid was contingent on there being no change in local sales tax distribution.
The Boone Town Council last month voted to match $10,000 in community donations to support "Horn" if the Watauga County Commissioners did not enact a change in the way local sales tax is distributed. The commissioners approved the change the same day, however, and it's expected to cost Boone an estimated $2 million in revenue next fiscal year.
The Southern Appalachian Historical Association is a nonprofit that leases the town-owned Daniel Boone Park to produce "Horn in the West," which is scheduled to open for its 62nd season in late June. The organization said it needs financial assistance to help pay staff before "Horn" ticket revenues come in this summer.
The drama experienced a high number of rained-out shows last season, as well as reduced grant funding, board members said.
"Community members have expressed interest and concern about the progress of our fundraising, but our answer to them has been a 'wait and see,'" SAHA Chairwoman Michelle Ligon said this week.
Ligon said SAHA now plans to submit a request for emergency funding to the county commissioners in time for the board's May 7 meeting. She acknowledged the monetary and in-kind support that SAHA already receives from the town and county.
"However, our organization hopes to get some emergency funding, which will help us make deposits on housing and make payroll during the rehearsal period before our season opening," she added.
SAHA has raised $11,615 in donations to help open "Horn" this year.
"We also are appealing to the community for support through our continued fundraising efforts," said Ligon. "We have raised more than half of the money we need to open."
SAHA memberships at various levels are available by calling (828) 264-2120 or online at http://saha.bellstrike.com.