COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The joy and merriment the Red Hot Mamas throw around like confetti was experienced across the nation and around the world today during President-elect Joe Biden's Presidential Inauguration Celebration.
"We are very blessed to get to have a voice in this event," Red Hot Mamas founder and "Grand Poobah" Mikki Stevens said Tuesday. "It's a wonderful thing."
The "Parade Across America" marked a different kind of swearing-in event, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit gatherings and the National Mall is closed out of security concerns following the deadly Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
In lieu of traditional activities, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that the virtual "Parade Across America" would include Americans and performances representing all 56 states and territories, a first for Inauguration Day.
Stevens said the Mamas didn't even have to submit an application. An organizer of the Super Bowl who is helping produce inauguration festivities contacted Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade coordinators looking for spunky, fun-loving performers with a humanitarian backstory. The Red Hot Mamas were highly recommended, even more so after coordinators contacted Stevens to "access the flavor" of her personality and to determine interest.
"The whole thing was a gigantic surprise," Stevens said.
It was Friday when the Mamas were officially selected to represent Idaho, but Stevens had already begun preparing the 10 Mamas who would perform.
"I thought, if we get this invitation, we need to be as ready as possible," Stevens said. "And they needed to clear their schedules to rehearse every day and film the segment."
The Red Hot Mamas have been a gem of North Idaho for 25 years, spreading cheer at community events and dancing their hearts out in comical and creatively choreographed routines in parades.
As COVID locked away the community and canceled events, the Mamas have used their creativity to find other ways to shine, such as performing outside assisted living facilities and conducting "flash parades" to catch people off guard in the best way.
"We just showed up in neighborhoods. We did a parade across the North Idaho College campus, we paraded on that road by Coeur d’Alene Lake," Stevens said. "We felt that wherever we went, somebody somewhere might be uplifted and see some joy in the moment, and it might make a difference for somebody."
The Inauguration Committee was impressed by the group's community contributions and Stevens was featured in a segment titled, "Heroes Next Door."
Coeur d'Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer was pleased to hear the Red Hot Mamas were selected for the honor.
“For more than two decades, I’ve witnessed this group delight audiences around the globe,” Widmyer said in a press release. "They represent the incredibly positive spirit that resonates throughout our community."
Stevens said while it is an inauguration celebration, "this is more than that."
"It's really the only time in our lifetime, I hope, that we have a pandemic and have a virtual parade like this that represents every state in the nation and what goodness is being represented by the people," she said. "We would love to gather together and giggle and laugh and scream and share, but we can't do that in a pandemic. We will all be watching with our families, or whoever we live with, texting back and forth and heating up the airwaves."
The Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our news partner, click here.