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Gimlets in the Garden offers food and entertainment in a beautiful setting.

Sawtooth Botanical Gardens usually holds a gala each year, but its formality has changed over time. This time around, they are offering a “scaled-down version” of their main fundraiser, “Gimlets in the Garden.” With the flowers in full bloom, Executive Director Jen Smith thinks this is the peak time to go to the gardens.

“During the pandemic, we found people were very responsive to the smaller events we were offering that gave people the opportunity to still socialize while maintaining physical distance,” Smith said.

The event is today, Wednesday, Sept. 8, beginning at 5 p.m. There are two tiers of tickets. For picnic seating and self-serve buffet, tickets are $80. Those who choose picnic seating need to bring a blanket and low-back chairs. To be served at a table it is $120 per person or $850 for a group of eight. Space is limited to 140 participants.

Organizers will raffle off a Sun Valley Resort Challenger Season Pass, an all-access pass for the ski season. They will also host an auction for such prizes as Trinity Hot Springs, restaurant and outdoor retail gift certificates.

Local alt-country band the Pisten Bullys will provide live music. Lead singer James Tautkus thinks concerts should be a communal experience.

“I think we can all agree that music is something that provokes an emotion in all of us,” Tautkus said. “That’s why we love it. Whether you play it or not ... It’s important to have that perspective so you’re not just in your own head of just trying to be your own artist. It’s really about sharing.”

The Pisten Bullys have a devoted local following.

“It’s just a very supportive place to be a great musician,” Tautkus said. “There’s a lot of opportunities to play great music. People really value it here.”

The group returns the love, making references to hanging out in Stanley and partying in Trail Creek.

“We’re an Idaho band,” Tautkus said. “We’re here not only to stand out in this valley but represent it as well.”

Above all else, the Pisten Bullys just want people to have a good time at their shows.

“I think we have a good energy and a good momentum that we build that most people can’t help it,” Tautkus said. “You wanna have another beer and keep dancing.”

Contributing to the ambiance, Tess Makena of the newly founded Liberty Theatre Company will perform. She will play solo piano during cocktail hour. Then, during the dinner portion, she will transition into karaoke, playing hits from the Beatles, the Eagles, David Bowie, Queen and much more. She will ask some of the attendees to get up onstage with her.

“It’s just such a beautiful setting,” Makena said. “It’s nice to have the fresh air... It’s nice to know that everyone will be able to enjoy themselves in a safe environment and also has the perk of being beautiful.”

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden asks that those who attend be vaccinated. Those who are not vaccinated will be expected to wear a mask.

For tickets and more information, visit sbgarden.org.

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