CALDWELL, Idaho — A million twinkling lights and a sense of normalcy will soon return to the city of Caldwell.
"How could you not be excited," said co-owner of Rediscovered Books Bruce DeLaney. "They light a million lights, they light a fire breathing river dragon, there's ice skating, and I know Destination Caldwell is doing everything they can to enforce social distancing to keep us all safe in these troubling times."
The ice skating rink and the local businesses might not see the same number of people returning to their spaces this year.
At least not all at once.
"We're obviously excited. Anyone who has a business wants people to know they're there, and they want people to see it, but the hard thing for us is we're going to have somebody sitting there are the door limiting the number of people in so we can have social distancing," said DeLaney.
Businesses surrounding Indian Creek Plaza are looking forward to the potential economic boost that comes with the winter wonderland.
"We care so deeply for the businesses downtown and the people, and we want to make sure they thrive, and this has been difficult for them; my hat is off to them," said Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas. "They've been dedicated and determined to make it through this pandemic and still support the city."
Rediscovered Books found their home in Boise 15 years ago, and last November, they set up shop in Caldwell after wanting to make the move for years. But, during the pandemic, it's been a tough transition.
"It's tough to really put a thing on it because, in Boise, we have 15 years of data to compare it to. This was our first summer and fall here, and it's not how anybody wanted summer and fall to be, but it's important for us to keep our staff safe, and it is important for us to keep our customers safe," said DeLaney. "Has it been as busy as we had hoped it would be? No. Are we buoyed with the support that Caldwell has given us, and the community has given us in this tough time? Of course we are."
The outcome of this year's free festival on businesses is still uncertain.
"We're interested to see what happens this year," said Nancolas. "In years past, you could not walk around downtown; it was shoulder to shoulder, the businesses were full, the restaurants were full."
Mayor Nancolas says the first thing the city wanted to accomplish with this year's event was balance.
"Balance between economic development and normalcy, making sure we have people come to downtown Caldwell but also balance that with doing everything we could to make the event safe," said Nancolas.
That balance, between safety and tradition, keeps Caldwell businesses like Bruce's, hopeful.
"For all of the people I know who have asked us why Caldwell, this is why Caldwell," said DeLaney. "Because Caldwell is doing interesting, exciting things, it's growing new locally owned businesses; it's just a great place to be."
Rediscovered Books will be open late Friday and Saturday for those planning to see the lights.
Here are the safety procedures that Indian Creek Plaza will have patrons follow.