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'Exactly what we needed'

by MADISON HARDY
Staff Writer | December 8, 2020 1:00 AM

Forty-eight vehicles participated in Rathdrum's Lighted Vehicle Parade Saturday night, making the event bigger and brighter than the city has ever seen.

At the beginning of last week, about 20 people had signed up for the event, Rathdrum's Parks and Recreation Director Eric Singer said. Compared to past years, Singer said that was on par for already being one of the biggest in city history, let alone 48.

"It was by far the most we've ever had," Singer said. "In the span of just a couple of days, we were at 48 vehicles. We got a huge wave of participation from the community and businesses that we never dreamed of."

Not only was the number of vehicles phenomenal, but also the thousands of residents that sat on the sidewalks to watch the show.

"One of the staff members that drove a vehicle estimated that there were probably 2,000 to 3,000 people that came out to watch from their vehicles or on the street corner," Singer said. "There were tons and tons of kids with smiles on their faces and people waving, yelling Merry Christmas."

Instead of Rathdrum's regular December Delight's Holiday Festivities, the Lighted Vehicle Parade caravanned almost five miles around the city's parks and neighborhoods for an hour and a half Saturday night. Due to the event's resounding success Singer said the city is already making plans to expand the parade next year.

Singer believes the parade's success stems from Rathdrum's never-ending community support. 2020 has strained families and businesses across the county, Singer reflected, but this event was the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Whether it is an individual or a business, everybody knew we had a down year, and they wanted to get out and spread some Christmas cheer," he said. "Even if it was for one night, it was amazing what all those people were able to do for the kids and uplift the community. It was exactly what we needed."

Rathdrum's next Christmas event, the "Deck the Homes" Lighting contest has about 30 participants, Singer said. Interested residents should be on the lookout for a map of the homes sometime this week for the public to find and vote for their favorite.

"We really can't say enough about the community. Whether it is an individual or a business, the support we continue to get is unmatched," he said. "As far as people getting involved, helping out their neighbors, friends, or family, we have a close community. I know we're growing, but we still have that small-town feeling."

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Photo by AMBER CORNELL

One of nearly 50 entries in Rathdrum's Christmas parade drives on the route around town Saturday.