Idyllwild still struggling after wildfire

Idyllwild Ghost Town

IDYLLWILD, Calif. - A popular Halloween attraction may become the latest victim of our recent wildfires.  Idyllwild's Ghost Town is in need of more sponsors.  Many of the businesses who usually help out with the mountain tradition are struggling to make ends meet. 

The Mountain Fire did evacuate the community of Idyllwild but firefighters were able to stop it before it reached the popular mountain town.  Residents and business owners have come back but not all of the tourists; and that's leaving businesses who normally thrive in the summer months, struggling to stay afloat. 

Idyllwild's Ghost Town is the scariest Old West ghost town in the area. 

"Kids are apart of it, adults are apart of it, it's really a family thing," said volunteer Christine Sabin.

For an entire month this quite town is taken over by the walking dead.

"It is an amazing service to our youth in this community, it gives them something to do all night for an entire month of the year," said business owner Emily White.

"It funds the programs at school, it's technology and science and they get to be apart of it, it teaches the kids a lot," said Sabin.

But many local business who normal sponsor the community fundraiser, are struggling.

"It is hard we are trying to weigh our losses and our donations and try to figure out if we are going to be able to pay our bills and stay in business and pay our employees," said White.

The Idyllwild Inn, normally booked through the summer, is seeing cancellation after cancellation.

"I think the fire has made a lot of people, not everyone, but a lot of people unsure of whether they want to be in the wilderness, whether they want to get out of the city," said White.

They are not the only ones, just about every business we talked to has experienced a loss. 

"The last couple of years the fire season has been October and now with July and August a lot of the tourists that usually would stay in Idyllwild for the summer haven't come," said Sabin.

The town of Idyllwild was not touched by the Mountain Fire or the Silver Fire and all of the businesses here hope that this weekend's Jazz Festival will bring in some much needed tourists.

"We are so excited to be able to come back here," said visitor Maris Bedoyan.

Bedoyan has been coming to Idyllwild with her family for the last 50 years.

"We are not afraid up here, it's easy to get out, there is lots of things in place, this is a community that has been here so long they know the precautions, they know what to do and there is this thing called the internet and we can always keep track of what is going on," said Bedoyan.

"We just want people to come back and come and enjoy it because it's amazing," said Sabin.

"This isn't the first time we've seen burn, burn areas in the years we've been driving up, it always heals, it always mends, families keep coming," said Bedoyan.  Idyllwild needs more families to do just that, so this Halloween town doesn't become a permanent ghost town.

Organizers say no matter what the Ghost Town will go on, they just need people to come visit and sponsors to step forward to make it the best ghost town yet. 

The event runs every Friday and Saturday in October at Idyllwild Community Center, 26200 Hwy 243, Idyllwild. 

For more information visit www.idyllwildghosttown.com or call 951-659-3228

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