It was Daniel Caetano’s first parade ever and the fourth-grader was a tad nervous.
“It’s a bunch of people waving at me and taking pictures,” he said, clad in an elf’s pointed hat. “What if they go boo?”
But Josh Smith, a wiser sixth-grader, had some advice for the parade novice.
“Picture everybody in their underwear, it works best,” he said, explaining, “I’m used to parades. I’ve been in tons of them.”
The advice seemed to work. With a carefree grin, Caetano waved and yelled “Merry Christmas,” to the crowds of people lined up along Sherman Avenue and Lakeside to watch the Sixth Annual Festival of Lights Christmas Parade.
He and his fourth-grade class at Bryan Elementary School re-created Santa’s workshop for the event - complete with 19 elves, toys and Santa’s sleigh. Teacher JoNell Barber filled in as Mrs. Claus.
Carrying a 30-pound drum or 25-pound tuba is no easy job - especially for 16 blocks. Just ask Donnie Frohboese and Anna Taft with the Lakeland High School and Junior High marching band.
“It gets tiring on the back,” drummer Frohboese said. “You just got to bear with it.”
“I think about the end of the parade when I can put this thing down,” Taft said of her tuba.
But both said they enjoy their music and especially like playing “Angel Chase” - a jazzy version of “Angels We Have Heard on High.” “I like watching the people,” Frohboese said. “They seem to have fun.”
As the parade wound around the downtown streets, business owners flicked on the delicate white lights strung in the trees. And as the lights glittered to life, so did Coeur d’Alene’s Christmas season.
The parade kicked off a weekend full of holiday activities, all part of the Festival of Trees.
The seventh annual fund-raising event is organized by the Kootenai Medical Center Foundation.
All of the events will be at The Coeur d’Alene Resort. Money raised by each activity will go to the KMC Foundation to buy vans to take patients without transportation to the hospital and doctors offices.
“It is a way to kick off the holiday season and benefit a worthy cause,” said Bonnie Delyea, who works with the KMC Foundation.
Here is a list of festival events.
Today: The Senior Social will offer a morning of entertainment by the Coeur d’Alene Youth Symphony, Lake City Harmonizers and the Boot Skooten’ Senior Line Dancers & Bell Choir. 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $3.
Sunday: Family Day is a chance to see 40 Christmas trees that have been decorated to the hilt. The event will also feature entertainment from area youth groups. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cost is $1.
The Children’s Workshop in the plaza shops will be held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features holiday crafts and face painting.
The Festival Shoppe will also be open. The store is filled with holiday gifts, miniature trees and wreaths.
Saturday, Dec. 2: Breakfast with Santa offers children ages 3 to 8 an opportunity to visit with St. Nick. It will also include a continental breakfast and prizes. Starts at 9 a.m. Tickets cost $5 and are available at the Festival of Trees this weekend.
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