The biggest New Year’s Eve party around happens in downtown Spokane. For just $12, you can experience an incredible array of arts and entertainment, topped off with a big fireworks show at midnight. The theme for this year’s First Night Spokane is “Imagine That.”
If you haven’t been to a First Night celebration before, you can’t miss Spokane’s tenth annual bash. Where else can you see community theatre, dance to a live swing band, go ice skating, ride a 100-year-old carousel, watch several dance performances, laugh at live improve comedy, take some dancing lessons, watch artists do things like pottery wheel throwing, marvel at the stunts of a snowboard rail jam, and listen to African drumming all in one night for just $12? There are just too many activities and performers to try listing even the highlights here, but you can download a schedule.
First Night celebrations are all about celebrating arts and entertainment in a family friendly, affordable festival. The entire family can find dozens of things to do, with plenty of kids’ activities. The event is alcohol-free, although adults are welcome to pop into the many local bars and restaurants that will be open nearby for a drink, and you don’t have to worry about any of the content being inappropriate for kids. To get in on the fun, just purchase a button for $12 ($15 on December 31) at one of many Spokane businesses, including Cenex Zip Trip Stores, Auntie’s Book Store, Riverfront Park Square (concierge desk), and Windemere real estate offices. Out-of-town visitors can purchase buttons with no fees through TicketsWest. Go to the First Night Spokane website for details.
Attend a Hometown Hockey Game
Looking for a night that is a bit more exciting and noisy than a dinner and movie? Come out and support the Spokane Chiefs. You can’t help but get caught up in the enthusiasm of the Chiefs’ Pacific Northwest fans. The Spokane Chiefs, who have won two Memorial Cup Championships in 1991 and 2008, two WHL Championships in 1991 and 2008, and four Western Conference Championships in 1991, 1996, 2000, and 2008, are a Major Junior Hockey team in the Western Hockey League. Players come from all over the world and many are drafted into the pro ranks from the Chiefs. Home games are played in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, a 10,366 seat facility. Click here for a season schedule. Adult tickets range from $10–$19 and can be purchased by calling 509-535-PUCK (7825) or from TicketsWest at 800-325-SEAT (7328), or by purchasing online through TicketsWest.
Enjoy Local Talent in Great Theatre
Impress your date with play tickets and experience an evening of live entertainment while supporting local artists. Spokane boasts two major theatre companies: Interplayers Professional Theatre and Spokane Civic Theatre. Ticket prices for theatre in Spokane are substantially lower than other major cities, so take advantage of our big-city quality for small-town prices!
Interplayers, Spokane’s award-winning professional theatre, is producing two plays this winter. Opus, a new play by Michael Hollinger that has enjoyed immense popularity nationwide, showcases the story of a string quartet that fires its violist and replaces him with a young woman days before a White House performance. It runs January 20–February 5, 2011. Privilege, a heartfelt comedy about the privileged lives of two Upper East Side NY teens whose lives are irrevocably changed when their father is accused of insider trading, runs February 24–March 12, 2011. Tickets are available by calling 455-PLAY (7529). You can also purchase tickets through TicketsWest at 325-SEAT (7328) or www.TicketsWest.com. Prices range from $13–$22.
Spokane Civic Theatre is a national award-winning community theatre. This winter, you can see three plays performed by the troupe. Don’t Dress for Dinner is a riotous farce about a dinner in which marital bliss is not on the menu, and between the friends, lovers, caterers, and angry husbands, comic confusion abounds. This production runs January 14–30, 2011. Next, the Civic will perform the Tony-Award wining musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a tale of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves. The show runs January 28—February 7, 2011. The next show is another musical comedy: Nunsense, running February 18–March 6, 2011 and featuring an unforgettable variety show performed by the Little Sisters of Hoboken. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 325-2507 or through TicketsWest at 325-SEAT (7328) or www.TicketsWest.com. Prices range from $16–$32.
Spokane International Film Festival, February 3–13, 2011
If you love independent and cutting-edge films, you can’t miss SpIFF. This is your once-a-year opportunity to see the very best feature films, documentaries, and short films that have been made around the world during the past two years but have not yet been commercially released for wide distribution right here in Spokane, WA. Some of the films might never be released on DVD in the United States, so this could be your only opportunity to enjoy some of the most talked-about films. They are the same films as those seen each year at the Cannes, New York, or Toronto film festivals.
But you won’t just see great new films from all over, you’ll also meet some of the filmmakers and performers. They share their own stories and anecdotes about the making of their films and answer questions from you the audience. The discussions are lively and educational and a favorite part of the festival for both filmmaker and audience. You can also take part in after-film receptions held throughout downtown Spokane.
Watch the website calendar for the upcoming schedule of events for the 13th annual festival. Films will be shown at the AMC Theater at Riverpark Square and the Magic Lantern Theater, both located in downtown Spokane, WA.
Spokane Visual Arts Tour, February 4th and 5th, 2011
Twice a year, Spokane museums, galleries, arts businesses, and alternative spaces for showing art such as non-profit organizations, restaurants, and shops welcome the public in to view a wide variety of great regional art. Participating businesses extend their hours on Friday night, February 4th, and open up on Saturday, February 5th to support the arts scene in Spokane. Like First Friday Art Walks in downtown Spokane, the Visual Arts Tour is a self-guided walking tour (pick up a free copy of The Inlander, available at many area businesses on February 3rd, for your guide), but it is a much larger event. Come check out local art, meet artists, and enjoy treats and beverages provided by participating businesses.