It won't be a typical holiday season, but there is still plenty to look forward to

Possessed to skate? You might have to wait. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
Possessed to skate? You might have to wait.

Opening date TBA
SKATE RIBBON AT RIVERFRONT
COVID got you itching for some activity? Stretch out your calves and achilles tendons and get your ice skates ready, because the Numerica Skate Ribbon at Riverfront Park is gearing up for another season of gliding, balancing and — maybe — twirling. No one wants to get sick, so serious safety precautions will be taken on the ice. All guests are required to wear a mask and gloves, household groups will be spaced apart from each other, and capacity is limited. Additionally, guests will be able to purchase their tickets on their phones to avoid contact, and surfaces that do get touched will be regularly sanitized. As of our press deadline, the venue's opening date was still to be determined, dependent on the weather. Riverfront Park, $5.25-$7.25/hour; $29.95-$34.95/unlimited passes, my.spokanecity.org/riverfrontspokane (LAUREN GILMORE)

Through Jan. 1
WINTER GLOW SPECTACULAR
Since 2014, this annual holiday display has been making spirits bright as it's hopped from venue to venue before ending up in its current home in Liberty Lake. Opening a week earlier than usual in 2020 — because we can all use a little extra spark and joy this trying year — Winter Glow has returned to Orchard Park, offering a social distancing-friendly way for families to escape for a little extra holiday magic. Thanks to dozens of dedicated volunteers who've spent the past weeks setting up the massive display of twinkling trees, trains, snowmen, animals and other festive forms, as well as local business sponsors, the display remains free to enjoy. Donations are also gladly accepted online. Open daily, free, winterglowspectacular.com (CHEY SCOTT)

Through Jan. 1
COEUR D'ALENE RESORT HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW
The pandemic means things at one of the Inland Northwest's most festive hubs of holiday cheer won't be quite the same this year, but there's still plenty of holly jolly fun to be had at the Coeur d'Alene Resort this season. While the venue won't be hosting a fireworks show in conjunction with turning on the lights, rest assured the annual million-plus-lights display is on through the season, and available to check out from one of the resort's Journey to the North Pole lake cruises running through New Year's Day. The boats this year are running at reduced capacity and require masks and temperature checks for all on board to keep everyone safe. The resort also offers a variety of special holiday-themed overnight packages, including milk and cookies delivered to your room, and a fireside story time with Santa's elves. Cruises depart daily at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 pm, $8.50-$24.25, cdaresort.com (DAN NAILEN)

Northwest Winterfest aims to start a new Christmas tradition. - COURTESY OF NORTHWEST WINTERFEST
Courtesy of Northwest Winterfest
Northwest Winterfest aims to start a new Christmas tradition.

Through Jan. 2
NORTHWEST WINTERFEST
A spark of light in the darkness is the resounding theme of this year's holiday season, and this new-in-2020 event offers just that. It's also a familiar throwback to a popular event first hosted here five years ago, the Chinese Lantern Festival in Riverfront Park. Northwest Winterfest features a collection of fabric-covered lanterns inside the Mirabeau Park Hotel, arranged in a way to allow for proper social distancing. Visitors encounter a fearsome dragon, playful pandas and a collection of holiday trees hand painted by local multicultural groups, with the latter also up for auction. Families can also partake in a scavenger hunt to find Rudolph and seven of his reindeer friends. This new event intends to become another lasting local tradition, with plans to return in 2021 to Mirabeau Meadows Park, where organizers had originally envisioned hosting the bright and festive display. Mirabeau Park Hotel & Convention Center, free, details at northwestwinterfest.com (CS)

Nov. 27-28; Dec. 5, 12 and 19
FESTIVAL OF FAIR TRADE
Shopping local for gifts this holiday season carries even more economic significance due to the past nine-plus months of pandemic setbacks disproportionately impacting small businesses. Among the many events to encourage shoppers to (safely) check loved ones off their holiday gift lists is the annual Festival of Fair Trade, usually hosted across one single weekend at local shop Kizuri Spokane, which is committed to selling only fair trade items. This year's festival is stretched out across several Saturdays, and kicked off back in October. The additional days on the calendar (subject to change if needed due to public health guidelines) allow for vendors to spread out across Kizuri's floor, and give customers more time to make plans to leave the house, keeping all as safe as possible. Kizuri Spokane, 12-5:30 pm, kizurispokane.com (CS)

Nov. 27-Dec. 13
TREE OF SHARING
For nearly four decades, the Tree of Sharing has served as a community conduit to bring holiday cheer and kindness to local residents in need (currently about 8,000 people each year), and for whom the holidays otherwise might not feel so joyful. While the nonprofit typically sets up volunteer-run information tables at the region's three malls (NorthTown Mall, River Park Square and Spokane Valley Mall) for shoppers to pick up a tag from an individual's wishlist, this year's operations are different. Instead of offering in-person gift tag pickups, community members who want to help out will need to visit the organization's website to claim a tag for any age or gender identity. After purchasing gifts, donors can still bring items for dropoff at mall tables, staffed the day after Thanksgiving through Dec. 13. Details at treeofsharing.org (CS)

Nov. 27-Dec. 24
RUBY RIVER LIGHTS
While initial plans for this event (it was envisioned to be more interactive; organizers hope to relaunch those features next year) have since shifted due to Washington state's recently enacted set of COVID-19 restrictions, families can still enjoy a festive holiday lights walk along the banks of the Spokane River. Swing by any time to take an evening stroll along the river, and perhaps grab dinner to-go from the hotel's Osprey Restaurant to take home afterward. The restaurant's patio remains open for parties of five or less from the same household, with heaters and fire pits to ward off winter's chill. Ruby River Hotel, free, rubyriverlights.com (CS)

Nov. 27-Dec. 24
HORSE & CARRIAGE RIDES
As far as COVID-friendly holiday events go, the horse and carriage rides in downtown Spokane have been one of the easiest to reimagine. After all, you spend the whole experience in a carriage bubble with just your party, floating through 2020 in a time machine that momentarily takes you back to a pre-car wintry adventure. Additional measures have been taken, including plexiglass that separates passengers from the carriage operator, and hand sanitizer on board. Also, all reservations must be made online ahead of time to eliminate time spent in line. As always, these holiday carriage rides are free and an excellent way to celebrate with your loved ones. Riverfront Park; Fri from 1-8 pm, Sat-Sun from 1 pm-5 pm, also Dec. 24 from 1-3 pm; free, downtownspokane.org (LG)

Nov. 27-Jan. 3
HOLIDAYS AT RIVERFRONT PARK
Downtown Spokane has a lot to offer holiday lovers even during this strange year, so bundle up and get ready to get outside. The Numerica Lights Up The Night Holiday Tree Walk dots the park with no fewer than 40 fully decorated Christmas trees, each dressed up by a different local organization. The traditional tree-lighting ceremony is moving online to avoid crowds, streaming on Friday, Nov. 27. The Rotary Fountain is the site of a singing sculpture, the U.S. Pavilion presents a holiday-themed light show nightly, and the Clock Tower showcases the season with lights as well. Details at my.spokanecity.org/riverfrontpark (DN)

Nov. 30-Dec. 22
ELF ON THE SHELF
Do you know a child who's dying to be recruited by Santa Claus? Good news. Santa is looking for a competent team of "Scout Elves" to participate in a downtown Coeur d'Alene scavenger hunt, beginning on Nov. 30 and continuing each weekend until Dec. 22. To participate, stop by one of the many participating businesses in the downtown corridor and pick up a passport. Then, carry this passport with you and any time you find an elf — hiding behind a mug of hot cocoa, sleeping in the soft fabric of a sweater — get your passport stamped. If the joy of finding hidden elves weren't enough, finding them also increases your chances of winning prizes. Find six or more elves, and you'll be entered into a grand prize drawing taking place Dec. 23. Locations vary throughout downtown Coeur d'Alene, free, details at cdadowntown.com (LG)

Jim Brickman, as synonymous with Christmas as Santa.
Jim Brickman, as synonymous with Christmas as Santa.

Dec. 4
JIM BRICKMAN: COMFORT & JOY AT HOME
Acclaimed pianist and radio host Jim Brickman had planned to bring his Christmas-themed concert to the First Interstate Center for the Arts, but the world had other plans. So Brickman made the pivot that so many other artists have and is instead bringing a little yuletide cheer to his fans' living rooms with virtual performances that encourage social distancing and support music venues. The more expensive ticket packages offer more than just the concert — you'll receive a gift package in the mail and access to pre- and post-show Zoom hangouts with Brickman — and a portion of the proceeds benefits the First Interstate Center for the Arts. Online at 7:30 pm, $40-$125, jimbrickman.com/spokane (NATHAN WEINBENDER)

Dec. 4-13
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
It wouldn't be the yuletide without some version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the story of holiday-hating miser Ebenezer Scrooge and the spirits who spark his change of heart. The University of Idaho's theater department is staging its own take on the timeless tale, complete with elaborate sets and professional lighting setups, and featuring a cast of undergraduate and graduate students. It's also presented live via Zoom, so you can bring a little slice of theatrical magic into your own home. Register online to receive a ticket to any of the scheduled showtimes. Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 12-13 at 6 pm; Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 13 at 2 pm, $10-$20, uidaho.edu/theatre (NW)

Dec. 5, 12 and 16
HOLIDAY MURDER MYSTERIES
Although you might normally associate them with the Halloween season, Coeur d'Alene's Crime Scene Entertainment is offering up a series of Christmas-themed escape rooms and solvable murder mysteries throughout December. First up is "Bad Santa Murder Mystery" (Dec. 5 at 6 pm), which has you trying to break out of a killer Saint Nick's creepy estate. In "Homicide at the Tacky Sweater Shindig" (Dec. 12 at 6 pm), a small town's ugly sweater party turns violent. Finally, there's a family-friendly mystery called "Who Kidnapped Santa?" (Dec. 16 at 3 pm), wherein you and your kids can search for an AWOL Kris Kringle. You'll need to buy tickets in advance to register for a spot in each room. Crime Scene Entertainment, $10-$75, crimesceneentertainment.com (NW)

Dec. 11
A CHRISTMAS CAROL RADIO PLAY
University of Idaho isn't the only theatrical outlet producing its own unique take on A Christmas Carol. Spokane Civic Theatre, one of the Inland Northwest's mainstays for great onstage entertainment, is producing a version of the Charles Dickens story and broadcasting it as an old-fashioned radio play, using nothing but transformative vocal performances and evocative sound effects to get you involved in the drama. The program airs on Spokane Public Radio at 91.1 FM on the evening of Dec. 11 (airtime has yet to be announced), and you can curl up next to your living room radio and pretend you're living in a time before television and WiFi were household conveniences. Broadcast on 91.1 FM, spokanecivictheatre.com (NW)

Dec. 18-20
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
For two decades Trans-Siberian Orchestra has taken its prog-rock holiday show on the road in the months leading up to Christmas, and inevitably Spokane would be part of the tour. For a certain cross-section of headbangers and Christmas lovers, the group is a holiday tradition at this point as revered as caroling or screening Christmas Vacation. Obviously the pandemic is keeping band leader Al Pitrelli and his crew off the road this year, but TSO is putting together a livestream performance of their debut album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories, a holiday-themed rock opera they'll deliver with all the flashy lights and pyrotechnics fans have come to expect. This time, though, you'll have the best seat in the house, because it's your house. The live performance happens on Friday, December 18, but ticket buyers will be able to watch the show through Sunday, Dec. 20. Online live at 5 pm Friday, Dec. 18, $30, trans-siberian.com (DN) ♦

50th Odessa Deutschesfest @ Odessa

Sun., Sept. 19, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
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