The next best thing to walking the red carpet

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There’s something magical about the tradition of the Oscar red carpet arrivals. Since I was young, I’ve been fascinated with the bigger-than-life movie stars on their big night ­— the gowns and the jewels and the make-believe of it all.

Over the weekend Dianne Ansbaugh posted on Facebook that she’d received notification of winning one of 50 Red Carpet Fan Experience passes from a People Magazine sweepstakes she entered last fall. The pass includes the winner and a guest getting behind the scenes and into the bleachers alongside the Oscar red carpet, a day-long fan fair at the Dolby Theater, deluxe swag bags and an exclusive viewing party and dinner across the street at the El Capitan Theater. What her prize didn’t include was airfare or hotel accommodations.

Dianne was disappointed that she was going to decline the prize due to the expense of airfare, lodging and transportation for herself and her husband. I asked if she could transfer the prize, but alas, she couldn’t. My flight attendant daughter lives in West Hollywood and I can fly free with her airline benefits, so it would have been minus the airfare and lodging for me.

Dianne called me that afternoon and said her husband, Gene, wasn’t excited about attending and she could swing one airfare. If we partnered up for the logistics of staying in Hollywood we could have a most excellent adventure. When I came down off the ceiling, she said we’d have to scramble because all paperwork had to be received by the sweepstakes by midnight that night! We made the deadline.

So now we’re like a couple of 60-something star-struck teenagers checking the Oscar red carpet off our bucket lists. The only thing standing between us and the 90th Academy Awards is passing a background check. I’m confident that we’ll both be cleared.

We have plenty of time between now and March 4 to figure out how to do Facebook live posts and find sensible shoes for all of the walking and standing and milling about. The bonus for sitting in the bleachers at the red carpet arrivals is that no one will be asking us who we’re wearing!

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Weaving and bobbing to avoid the flu, so I’ve called a personal moratorium on hugging and handshaking. Don’t take it personally.

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Coming Events: Post Falls Chamber Community Recognition Banquet, Red Lion Templin’s Resort, Thursday, 5:30 to 8 p.m.; Also on Thursday, a new Inland Northwest Milestones series begins with a look back at the history of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. Robert Singletary, Museum of North Idaho, is presenting. Open to the public, 7 p.m in the library’s community room.

On Saturday, a town hall meeting with Kootenai County’s legislators from 10 a.m. to noon at St. John Baptist Orthodox Church Hall, 4718 Horsehaven, Post Falls.

Sunday at the Coeur d’Alene Library, the Idaho Congressional Candidate Forum begins at 1 p.m.

International Food and Drink Festival on Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at the Silver Lake Mall, benefiting the Human Rights Education Institute, Hayden Chamber and The Family Guide. $25 per person.

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Happy birthday today to Sue Myers, Marion Richardson, Tina Nowoj, Kylie Frank (40!), Josh Adams, Cindy Shepperd, May Lynn Hammon, Ed Santos, Danelle Reagan, Jillian-Kate Scott and Acaja-Lyn Scott. Taking another trip around the sun tomorrow are Rod Heitstuman, Shauna Moore, Jonathan Madrid, Marlene Waddell, Lizzie Nowoj, Jadrian Hammon, Pearl Robertson, Jerrilou Shofner, Athena Kinsry, Michaelle Sande, Mike Erin, Sherry Farmer (70!) and Rick Demmig. Friday will be a good day for birthday celebrants Christa Hazel, Rosemary Goodlander, Kali Snider, Jeff Hall, Linda Hall (60!), Austin Chadderdon, Nicholle Sheppard, David Townsend, Julie Kirking, Russell Larson and Mr. & Mrs. Smith — Jeff and Candace Smith have no excuse for missing each other’s birthday, since they share the date. Mike Hendricks, Alex Jimenez and Khloe Peacock will feel fabulous on Saturday. Jenni Grimmett, Valerie Wilcox, Hope Newman, Lauren Adair, John Andres and Chad Oakland will celebrate on Sunday. On Monday Rachel Riggs, Cindy Peugh, Allen Hildebrant, Don Waddell (70!) and David Gerzina, Sr. will blow out the candles. Jim Custer, Shannon Damiano (30!), Mel Palmer, Sierra Graham, Brylee Dresser and Helen Sargent mark their birthdays on Jan. 30.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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