COEUR d'ALENE - The 2011 Coeur d'Alene Resort Holiday Light Show is poised to explode.
This Friday, following a downtown parade, the 25th edition of the show will kick off with fireworks over The Coeur d'Alene Resort. More than 1.5 million lights will shine through Jan. 2, and "Journey to the North Pole" cruises depart nightly.
With this year's newest attractions, the show blazes brighter than ever. New items include a new home for Santa, the addition of yet another giant Christmas tree, and the Three Wise Men display at The North Pole. "G.I. Holiday Jukebox" is a new musical act based on the USO tours of World War II.
What began as a few lights decorating the front entrance of The Coeur d'Alene Resort in 1986 has grown to more than 250 displays and international recognition.
In 2007, it was featured as one of America's top holiday destinations by ABC's Good Morning America. This season, both Discovery/TLC and The Travel Channel have segments featuring the show.
The Holiday Light Show lighting ceremony this Friday begins at 5 p.m. with a downtown parade along Sherman Avenue. By 6 p.m., crowds gather on The Resort's front lawn to sing Christmas carols and light candles. Some 30,000 spectators are expected.
This year's master of ceremonies is Jerry Jaeger, president and co-owner of Hagadone Hospitality.
"Families love this tradition - and we love to help create it," he said.
The guests of honor are Bob Nuttleman, director of golf at The Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course, with his wife Mary and son Mark. They will help the crowd count down from 10 to ignite a massive fireworks display above Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Immediately after the 1,200-shell fireworks show, all 1.5 million lights will go on.
Every night through Jan. 2, "Journey to the North Pole" cruises depart across Lake Coeur d'Alene to view the lights. Children 12 and under ride for free. The cruise includes a visit with a live Santa and his helper elf, who call out all the child passengers by name. Santa also illuminates the World's Tallest Animated Living Christmas Tree.
This year's brand-new attraction is "G.I. Holiday Jukebox," a stage tribute to the USO tours of World War II. Talented performers sing and dance to pop tunes of the 1940s and sentimental yuletide favorites, performed by the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater.
The Coeur d'Alene Resort offers stay-and-cruise packages for the Holiday Light Show, as well as buy-one, get-one-free cruise tickets with meal purchases at Beverly's, The Cedars Floating Restaurant, Tito's Italian Grill, Dockside, Bonsai Bistro, Beachouse or Mulligan's.
Packages/reservations: (208) 765-4000. "Journey to the North Pole" tickets: (208) 664-7268 or cdaresort.com