Celebration gift-wrapped just for you

The maestro may have left, but the show will not stop.

What’s often considered the region’s biggest holiday bash — yes, even more cherished than the Fourth of July celebration — will unfold in spectacular fashionLate this afternoon, just as it does every year.

But one will remain in darkness until the switch is turned and one-and-a half million lights come to life. Duane Hagadone, the man behind the lighting celebrations, has died. Duane and Jerry Jaeger (his Hagadone Hospitality former partner), created a Christmas season kickoff which is consistently rated among the top in America.

It is a shining light that nearly everyone can point at with one hand and hold a lighted candle the other.

Today marks the joyous arrival of the holiday season. Therefore, we won’t be content to linger over empty seats at the head table. Instead, as Duane would certainly wish, we’ll look ahead to continuing his sensational legacy.

The gift from the Hagadone family now passes from Duane’s hands to those of his sons, Brad and Todd. And yours from theirs.

When The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s massive land illumination is briefly exceeded by an ear-splitting, awe-inspiring aerial assault — one of the most intense fireworks displays you’ll ever experience — it will be thanks to Brad and Todd Hagadone, an early Christmas present to the community they love.

But when Lori Lougheed leads thousands of happy holiday revelers in the countdown this evening, you can bet that Duane’s sons will be thinking of their dad and how much this day meant to him.

So, from Brad and Todd to all of you: Let’s get the party started!

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