Sunday, November 28, 2021

A bright and light Cd'A Christmas

Staff Writer | November 25, 2021 1:09 AM

Lori Lougheed's office window has a perfect, almost unfair, view of The Coeur d'Alene Resort's annual Holiday Light Show that has dazzled the community for 34 years.

However, Friday's celebration will be particularly special for Lougheed, the 2021 guest of honor. 

The Holiday Light Show attracts thousands of residents, families and visitors every year. In 2018 and 2019, USA Today lauded the events as one of the "10 Best Public Holiday Light Displays."

"The 2021 celebration will be, by far, the biggest light show we have ever produced," said Brad Hagadone, Hagadone Corporation CEO and chairman. "This year's show will have a little extra magic to celebrate the life of our company's founder and our father, Duane B. Hagadone."

At approximately 6 p.m., Lougheed will have the honor of leading the crowd in a countdown to a firework show choreographed to Mannheim Steamroller's "Carol of the Bells" over Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Immediately after the display, more than 1.5 million Christmas lights will illuminate the sky, featuring holiday icons such as Santa Claus and Rudolph.

"I've heard it's quite awe-inspiring when you see the size of the crowd, hear them participate in the countdown, and finally hear the oohs and aahs as the fireworks display begins," Lougheed told the Press in a Monday interview.

Lougheed said Mr. Hagadone had asked her to be the guest of honor in years past. Despite being a "Christmas person," Lougheed generally shies away from the spotlight and had turned down the offer until this year.

"It's an incredible honor. I feel very blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to do this," she said. "My favorite part is when all the lights flip on, but I'm partial to our huge wreath."

The Holiday Light Show had captivated onlookers since 1986 when The Coeur d'Alene Resort opened its doors. Lougheed has loved all 34 years of the holiday magic, visible from her office window in the next door Hagadone Corporation building. Her favorite decoration, and the one most visible from her desk, is The Coeur d'Alene Resort's trademark wreath.

"I've been very spoiled with my view," she said.

But Lougheed's connection to the company runs much deeper than the Holiday Light Show.

At only 16-years-old, Lougheed took a job digitizing records in the Coeur d'Alene Press circulation department.

"It has been interesting to watch the changes over time," she said. "When I started, we still had those huge mainframe computers, and there were no PCs."

Soon after, Lougheed accepted a position working for Brad Hagadone at Quicksilver Studios. She continued to work her way up the ladder, eventually joining the company's accounting team. From her unique vantage point, Lori has seen the corporation's evolution and growth, including the Resort and The Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course development.

In 2016, Lougheed took another big step when she was asked to fill the shoes of former Hagadone executive assistant Berni Dami.

After transitioning into the role, Lougheed became a vital part of the daily executive office operations. Coming full circle by once again working with her former boss, Brad Hagadone.

Today, she balances the executive assistant role and accounting duties essential to the administrative functions of the Hagadone Corporation. Lougheed celebrated her 39th anniversary with the company in August.

"I can't believe it's been that long, honestly," she laughed. "It doesn't seem like it's been 39 years."

Lougheed doesn't just owe the Hagadone family her career, but her husband too. Before launching Quicksilver Studio Brad Hagadone went to the Brooks Institute of Photography. There he met Chris Lougheed, Lori's future husband.

"Right around the time Quicksilver opened, my husband, Chris, came to Coeur d'Alene to visit Brad," she said. "We went to lunch together, and the rest is history."

The two celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary last Sunday, Nov. 21. The Lougheed family, joined later by their son Scott and daughter Hannah, were routine attendees of the Holiday Light Show. Which, like the corporation, has grown and amazed for decades.

"When the show first started, it was a little bit smaller. We have tried to add items to it as we go, and it's gorgeous now," Lougheed said.

Lougheed attributes her nearly 40-year tenure to the "wonderful" working environment and the innovation of the Hagadone family.

"I am proud of our company," she said. "I am even prouder to know that the Hagadone traditions, companies and community involvement will continue to grow and thrive."

Standing next to Lougheed on Friday night will be the host of the ceremony, Brad Hagadone. "I am excited to have the honor of welcoming Lori as the 2021 guest of honor," Hagadone said. "This is a special year, and I can't think of anyone more deserving than Lori to lead the countdown."

Following the Coeur d'Alene Regional Chamber of Commerce's Holiday Parade at 5 p.m. down Sherman Avenue, crowds will gather at the resort to sing classic Christmas carols in anticipation of The Resort's main event. The Holiday Light Show will begin at 6 p.m.