By Karen Bossick
HAILEY - It's crunch time for organizers of the Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Sun Valley.
They will begin handing out free tickets for the Tibetan religious leaders September visit at 8 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Williams Market in Ketchum and at the football stadium at Wood River High School.
Ticket distribution will continue until 2 p.m. Saturday and will resume Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until all 10,000 tickets have been distributed.
Each person will be limited to four tickets.
The tickets admit holders to the Dalai Lama's address from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 11, at the Wood River High School football stadium.
The Dalai Lama is expected to give a message to families who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also is expected to offer healing to all Americans on the fourth anniversary of the attacks.
He also plans to address children of Idaho on Monday at the high school stadium, bless a prayer wheel on Tuesday and address an invitation-only group of corporate executives.
"It's a significant event - possibly a world-changing event," said Sun Valley resident Bex Wilkinson, a practicing Buddhist.
A spokesman for Williams Market said he has no idea whether traffic in and out of the supermarket parking lot will be disrupted. Organizers expect to distribute all the tickets.
Hotel accommodations are filling fast but there are still some condos left for the weekend.
The Dalai Lama is the Nobel Peace Prize-winning spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists. The author of more than 50 books, he lives in exile in India but travels the world preaching a message of kindness and compassion.
Kiril Sokoloff, the Ketchum investment counselor who invited the Dalai Lama, said he expects his message to resonate all over the globe given Hailey's perch nearly 6,000 feet above sea level. Additionally, Hailey has no tall buildings or pollution to block that energy.
Dalai Lama tickets will be available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Williams Market, 100 N. Main St. in Ketchum, and the Wood River High School football stadium, 950 Fox Acres Road in Hailey.