Idyllwild Strong benefit festival brings thousands of visitors to the full reopening of the mountain village

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This retired Lakeside fire engine offers dozens of visitors to the Idyllwild Strong benefit music festival, Aug. 16-18, a fun ride throughout the village with sirens and bells ringing. Tony Ault photo
The mountain town of Idyllwild has suffered from a two-year economic downtown due to damage from the Cranston Fire and Feb. 14’s massive rainstorm that cutoff the two main highways leading to village. Those roads were completely open under escort Aug. 16-18, bringing thousands of visitors to the second annual Idyllwild Strong. The benefit music festival was put together by a small group of concerned residents and featured more than 100 bands, vendors, raffles, drawings, arts and craft exhibits and free fire engine rides. This year’s Idyllwild Strong, according to event coordinator Jessica Larrabee, “was amazing. People are coming by the hundreds up the mountain. The donations are flowing. The raffles are soaring. The bands, they are amazing. It’s a good day. “The whole town
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