Hailey is a very special place and there is quite a bit about this small town in Idaho that you may not know. Here’s a short list:
1. A Pioneer History: From prehistoric times until well into the 20th century the Wood River Valley was visited in the warm weather months by Native Americans. Fur trappers came into the area in 1824, followed by miners and settlers beginning in 1865. Miner John Hailey founded his namesake city in 1879 and laid out the quintessence of a 19th century town. In the residential part, the wide tree-lined streets provide an open inviting avenue for course and discourse. The long narrow lots march back to alleys – an added living space, and homes were set back 25 feet from the street. Today Hailey thrives as a community with a mix of tourism, business, arts and recreation.
2. Small Town Values: This is a community of 8,000 whose residents all share the small town values of caring, respect, family and neighborliness with each other and with the hundreds of thousands of out of town guests who come to visit the Sun Valley area each year. It is a “village” made up a diverse mix of people, from families who have lived here for generations, to transplants from across the country who moved here to enjoy the small town atmosphere and big city amenities like great dining and a vibrant arts scene.
3. Unique Events: Each year Hailey hosts acclaimed events that draw in thousands of visitors such as The Trailing of the Sheep Festival (noted by USA Today as one of the Top Ten Animal Festivals in the world), the Northern Rockies Music Festival, Crosstoberfest Bike Race & Beerfest, the Sun Valley Film Festival, the Wood River Studio Tour and a very special 4th of July Celebration & Rodeo, complete with a parade featuring lots of horses, creative floats, and a spectacular fireworks extravaganza. A variety of other local sporting and cultural events take place throughout the year as well.
4. Tops in Outdoor Recreation: Just minutes from town are miles of scenic mountain trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding in summer, Nordic and alpine skiing, snowshoeing in the winter, and the crystal clear Big Wood River, which flows right through Hailey, provides great fishing, kayaking and floating. Hailey is also home to one of the country’s top skateboard parks, and the Blaine County Recreation Center.
6. Political Campaign Button Collection: The Blaine County Historical Museum holds one of the country’s largest collections of political campaign buttons and memorabilia, reportedly only second in size to the one at the Smithsonian. Joe Fuld, born in Placerville, Idaho, in 1878, was a prominent Hailey businessman and the first president of the American Political Items Collectors Association. The display contains well over 5,000 items, some of which date back to the early 1820s.
7. Birthplace of Poet Ezra Pound: The Blaine County Museum also contains a wall of photos, reproduced newspaper articles, and a collection of pertinent books reminds readers that the important and controversial poet Ezra Pound was born here in 1885 in a house just a few blocks from the museum. The house, extensively restored by the Ezra Pound Association, is now the Hailey headquarters of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.
8. Broadway in the Rockies: Actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore restored the Liberty Theater in downtown Hailey in 2002 to its former art deco glory, and it has since been home to the professional theatre group, Company of Fools, who produce top-notch theatre productions and special events throughout the year as part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.
9. Leader in Green: The City of Hailey has made a strong commitment to sustainability and recently completed a three year Community Climate Challenge with support from the EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities Program. New projects included 5B Bikeshare, construction recycling program, Just Bag It!, renewable energy rebates, LED streetlight retrofit, LEED Silver Certification of Hailey’s new Welcome Center, and building deconstruction and material salvage. Hailey is also home to the Wood River Sustainability Center and the popular summer & fall Wood River Farmer’s Market.
10. Blaine County Seat: Hailey is the seat of Blaine County, which includes the resort cities of Sun Valley, Ketchum to the north and the more rural cities of Bellevue, Gannett and Carey to the south.