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Cruising to the North Pole

by CAROLYN BOSTICK
Staff Writer | November 22, 2023 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — During her family’s time aboard the Journey to the North Pole, 9-year-old Hadley Johnson imagined she was conducting the fireworks display, timing her gestures to align with the cheerful explosions in the sky.

“I was trying to get it on cue,” Hadley said. Each year, she and her family come from Spokane to take in the sights out on the water of Lake Coeur d’Alene. They always try to start the holiday season with the annual experience.

“It’s our tradition,” she said.

Aboard the Mish-An-Nock, children and their families turned their eyes to colorful holiday light displays as the cruise transported them across the lake to the North Pole.

The anticipation to see Santa at the end of the journey was in some ways just as sweet as the desserts and hot cocoa that awaited those on board inside the cabin.

“We’re trying to see if we’re on the nice list,” Brenna Waterbury said, pausing from her dancing with her child, Iris. The two rocked their way from one end of the cabin to another as Frosty the Snowman played through a speaker.

Before boarding, kids like Oregon native Thorben Willie interacted with Rudolph, Frosty and the Gingerbread man at The Resort Plaza Shops before making their way over to step onto one of six boats at the Boardwalk Marina.

The cruises have been part of local holiday festivities for more than 25 years, offering a fun way to experience the Holiday Light Show at The Coeur d'Alene Resort. 

There are more than 250 festive displays that make up the experience for families as they see the Grinch, meet the elves and see if Santa Claus is giving them coal or presents this year.

A fire-breathing dragon was seen being tested earlier this month in preparation for the holiday cruises. 

The annual lighting ceremony starts at 5 p.m. in downtown Coeur d'Alene, with a lighted parade on Sherman Avenue. At 6 p.m., Brad Hagadone, chairman and CEO of the Hagadone Corporation, will open the ceremony and introduce this year's guest of honor, Rick Powers, who will lead the countdown to a fireworks show and the lighting of more than 1.5 million colorful lights. 


    Thorben Willie got in close for a hug with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Resort Shops before taking a Journey to the North Pole with his family Tuesday evening.
 
 


    Hadley and Leighton Johnson came with their family from Spokane to complete their annual tradition of travelling to the North Pole to see Santa and watch the light show and fireworks display.
    Families watched the light show at the North Pole during Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruise.
 
 
    The Grinch gesticulates at the Mish-An-Nock during the Journey to North Pole.
 
 
  
    Brenna Waterbury, Iris, and Juno danced to Frosty the Snowman inside the Mish-An-Nock on a Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruise.
 
 
    Five-year-old Runa Hubbard watches a light show at the North Pole with her family.
    Kids huddle together to keep warm in front of the bridge where the captain of the Mish-An-Nock steered the ship.
 
 
  
    Lights from the massive Coeur d’Alene Resort Holiday Light Show could be seen from afar on board the Mish-An-Nock.