Moonlight dinner supports Kings River cleanup efforts

An annual dinner and fundraiser put on by local nonprofit Kings River Conservancy contributes to preservation and beautification efforts along the Kings River corridor

Kings River bridge on Ave 400 outside of Kingsburg. (Kenny Goodman)
Kings River bridge on Ave 400 outside of Kingsburg. (Kenny Goodman)
Serena Bettis
Published September 8, 2023  • 
3:00 pm

FRESNO COUNTY – As summer wanes into fall, the Kings River Conservancy (KRC) prepares for its annual “Moonlight Over the River” dinner and fundraiser.

The fundraiser, hosted at the home of John Gray and Gail Gray in Parlier, begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30; reservations must be made through the KRC website by Sept. 15. Lynette Ballis, a KRC member, said the event is the conservancy’s main fundraiser for the year and allows KRC the chance to connect with new members and update the community on their latest projects. 

“Basically, this is our yearly sit-down dinner,” Ballis said. “(We’ll be) talking about a lot of fun things that are happening right now.”

A single dinner ticket to the event costs $75 and sponsorship packages are available as well. For $500, Full Moon Sponsors will receive four dinner tickets and recognition online and in the event program; for $750, Harvest Moon Sponsors will receive six dinner tickets and online, program and table recognition; and for $1,000, Blue Moon Sponsors will receive eight dinner tickets, online, program and table recognition and a special KRC keepsake.

All proceeds made from the event will go toward keeping the Kings River clean, Ballis said. In addition to dinner, the event will include a wine and beer bar, live music, a silent auction and a dessert auction. 

“It’s just to have a good time and to welcome new people to the conservancy so they’re aware of what they’re supporting,” Ballis said. 

Ballis said that KRC has recently worked on a membership drive, so they have many new members to introduce and get to know at the event, but anyone in the community is welcome to attend. Conservancy members will also vote for the next year’s board of directors at the dinner.

For Ballis, the best part of the dinner is the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy the scenery. She said the home that the event is hosted at is a great venue for the dinner due to the home’s position along the Kings River. 

“It’s nice to look at the moon — we always have it on a full moon — so we’ll get to watch the moon rise, which is beautiful,” Ballis said.

The conservancy is a nonprofit that focuses on the Kings River corridor from the Pine Flat Dam to Highway 99 and aims to get the public involved in environmental education and conservation. They work to “enhance and control public access for recreation” and preserve agricultural lines along the river, according to the KRC website.

KRC conducts monthly project days that usually consist of clean-up efforts along the river. Anyone who wishes to volunteer can participate beginning at 8 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month. They also contribute to efforts to maintain public parks and access points, including the Kings River Conservancy Raptor Walk and the North Riverside Access Park, and they offer educational programs and field trips for both community and school groups. 

Everything KRC does is for the river, Ballis said. She said that while she does not participate in river recreation activities, she loves the river for its beauty and scenery.

“For me, I’m not a fisherman and I don’t kayak, I just love walking along the river and seeing all the nature,” Ballis said. “It’s very calming; a really pretty place to hang out.”

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter