Bigfork Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4042 will hold a grand-opening ceremony today, Dec. 9, to celebrate the completion of an expansion project that transformed the Bigfork Masonic Lodge into a restaurant and bar, recreation facility and community center.
The event begins with a flag ceremony at 11:30 a.m., led by members of a new Boy Scout troop the VFW is sponsoring. Among the dignitaries attending will be the state commander and quartermaster, along with several past commanders and representatives from area VFW posts.
A silent auction and raffles for a gun and gun safe will be featured. Appetizers and refreshments will be served, and the restaurant kitchen will be open and serving guests.
The new facility had a soft opening in July, and the conference room has been booked for numerous events, according to Post Commander Ed Byrne.
The Bigfork VFW had operated its veterans center for years in a building that once was a residential home along Montana 35. The post had outgrown the facility and the parking also was inadequate. Last year the post decided to buy the 5,000-square-foot Masonic Lodge facility just down the road and turn it into a new veterans center and community facility.
Byrne said the project has had solid community support and donations that helped cover a portion of the roughly $480,000 remodel of the Masonic Lodge building.
The new facility has a full bar and restaurant, with beer and liquor served until 10 p.m. during the week and until midnight Friday and Saturday nights. A full food menu is served from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and until 8 p.m. Fridays through Mondays. The kitchen is closed Tuesdays.
Other amenities include 10 gaming machines, TV screens, free wireless internet and shuffleboard.