North Idaho revelers celebrate nation's birthday

Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Jul 04 2013 07:13:55 PM PDT
4th of July American Heroes Parade
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

From the asphalt of Sherman Avenue to the boat launch at Q'emilin Park, people celebrated our nation's birthday with parades, parties and fun on the water.

It was the perfect temperature for the 4th of July in Coeur d'Alene Thursday morning, where even the people marching in the American Heroes parade barely broke a sweat.

While it's America's birthday, the parade is definitely more about patriotism. Every time a color guard came by the lawn chair crowd rose to their feet to pay their respects and the men and woman who've fought to keep America free couldn't help but notice.

"I'm from lower California and I appreciate the support they show up here. I'm a Vietnam vet and he's a Marine and it's a big difference in attitude," Walt Gosting said.

"I love that. I'm originally from LA. Go figure. And seeing this is amazing. You would never see this in LA. You come to North Idaho and the respect we show it's awesome," Coeur d'Alene resident Vance Mitchell said.

Some people passed on the parade in lieu of putting in their boat as near perfect weather conditions are driving people to the water in droves to get some respite from the heat.

The beach down at Red Lion Templin's Resort in Post Falls is full of people sunning and swimming, while the boat launch downstream at Q'emiln Park packed with empty trailers.

Eight miles of Spokane River connect Post Falls to Lake Coeur d'Alene. Per square foot it's the most expensive real estate in the region. If you don't have your own boat one of the best ways to see it is on the River Queen berthed down at Templin's.

"Like most of the people who launched their boat today the Queen will stay on the lake for a point blank view of the fireworks just off of City Beach," Colin Emsley of Templin's said.

Boat ramps in North Idaho were jam-packed Thursday. In fact, the Blackwell Island launch ran out of room for trailers just before noon. Faye Taylor's family got one of the last spots.

"We usually go to the resort to launch but this the only place to come now," she said.

Most skippers plan on taking in the fireworks from the water and a long day on the lake can become a dangerous one especially in crowded conditions. Kootenai County marine deputies are hoping everyone slows down and tries to keep their distance.

"If someone falls off the inner tube and they don't see there's another boat in the area and they turn around real quickly to pick up their tuber and you're not prepared for that action and you're following too closely it could be disastrous for both," Sergeant Matt Street with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said.

One of the most precarious things you'll ever see is when the fireworks are over and all those boaters come back down the river in the dark. That's why marine deputies get out in front and escort the fleet as a way of controlling the speeds.