By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR d’ALENE — Children flocked to the Coeur d’Alene Symphony’s booth on Saturday as second violinist Sarah Zastrow handed over instruments for them to try out.
She gave 5-year-old Olivia Clark of Post Falls positive encouragement as she tucked a violin under her little chin and ran the bow across the strings.
“It’s good, because she wouldn’t be able to interact with these things otherwise,” said Olivia’s mom, Lauren.
“It was really good,” a smiley Olivia echoed.
Her big brother, Jeremiah, 8, also gave the violin a go.
“It’s fun,” he said.
The Clark family was one of many that attended the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural COEURfest in McEuen Park, a day filled with interactive exhibits and demonstrations that highlighted North Idaho’s different industries and offerings.
Exhibits and vendor booths in the seven experience areas created a wide circle in the park, giving attendees the opportunity to discover something different with every step.
The seven experience areas were: All the World’s a Stage, Commerce, Let’s Get Physical, Science and Tech, North Idaho Natural Resources, Epicurean and All-American.
“I love it. I think it’s amazing,” said Nicole Frickle of Post Falls, who was visiting McEuen for a family day. “Supporting our community and all the stuff that goes on, it just makes it a great place to live. It’s awesome.”
“I like all the events that have gone on down here this summer,” added her husband, Eric.
Education, entertainment, military demonstrations, police vehicles, live music, free hot dogs and more rounded out this community day, which closed with a performance by the Rhythm Dawgs.
Representatives of the Idaho Department of Agriculture drew attention with a display of invasive mussels attached to an Idaho license plate. Agriculture program specialist Kim Holzer said fortunately these creatures have not made their way into Idaho.
“We’ve inspected over 100,000 boats,” she said. “We’ve intercepted 46 fouled boats with mussels this year.”
Senior Airman Killian Conkle of the Fairchild Air Force Base Honor Guard and colleague Staff Sgt. Michael Berish gave demonstrations in the All-American Experience showing the ceremonial way to fold the flag for families of fallen soldiers.
“It gives people a mindset of what the grieving widows go through during actual funeral honors that the military produces for the widows,” Conkle said.
Anthony Moore, vice president of retail experience for Numerica Credit Union, the COEURfest title sponsor, said he loved that the event celebrated the region’s different sectors.
“I like how it has different elements all mixed into one event,” he said. “It’s a one-stop shop to learn more about our community.”
Coeur d’Alene Chamber vice president of membership Marilee Wallace said it was a “perfect chamber of commerce day.”
“We’re really pleased at the turnout for our first-year event,” she said. “The weather’s been perfect and we’ve had so many locals come down. It’s just going to be bigger and better next year.”