Coeur d’Alene residents disappointed over cancelation of holiday light show

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — Every year, thousands of people comes to the holiday lighting celebration in downtown Coeur d’Alene to kickoff the holiday season. Sadly this will not be one of those years.

As the Coeur d’Alene Resort cancelled the event due to COVID-19. Many in the area compare this event to that of Fourth of July celebrations and some say it is one of the biggest events of the year.

On Friday afternoon you couldn’t guess anything was different in the downtown area, outside of the masks being worn by a majority of the people. Make no mistake though, the holiday light show is a staple in the Coeur d’Alene community.

“It usually culminates in a couple thousand people, quite frankly, starting to gather around 3:30-4:00 as it’s getting darker, generally filling most of the restaurants,” said Art Spirit Gallery owner Blair Williams.

Although the event was canceled, as well as the Travolta Christmas Show and fireworks show, the resort still turned on the lights Friday evening. The Journey to the North Pole cruises will also continue this year, but with several precautions in place. However, not having the celebration is a disappoint to some lifelong residents.

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“We have, like, lines of people — honestly [it’s] like a Fourth of July parade, but like, in December when it’s cold out. It’s been great, honestly, there’s no reason to cancel it; people are out and about anyway, and it’s Black Friday and it’s busy,” said Phillip Beggs.

While a vaccine for COVID-19 could soon arrive for some, and bring about it some semblance of normalcy, some people believe if they can just hunker down for the short term it will be good for everyone.

“We’re seeing close to a 70-percent drop in our foot traffic and that’s sad, but understandable,” said Williams.

There were a few store owners who said not having the event won’t impact them too much. The day after is Small Business Saturday, which is the biggest day of the year for many local shops. It is the restaurants that will hurt the most as many people will typically go out and eat after the celebration is over every year.

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