Spokane Lilac Festival May 14–17, 2015

Written by Stephanie on April 27th, 2015
2014 Lilac Festival Royalty

2014 Lilac Festival Royalty

Spokane has been known as the “Lilac City” since 1896. Lilacs weren’t always here—the local legend has it that the first lilac plant arrived in 1882 in a trunk that traveled from Minnesota—but they have become a gorgeous symbol of the city, blooming all over in May of every year. The first Lilac Festival was held in 1938 as a mere flower show. Later, the Festival grew to have a parade, a queen, and a tea and card party.

Today, the parade is the largest armed forces torchlight parade in the nation, and around 160,000 people come out to watch school dance teams, bands, members of our armed forces, Lilac Festival Royalty, and creative floats all lit by torchlight and colored lights. The Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade is May 16 and starts at 7:45 p.m. in downtown Spokane. Come early for the Cruzin’ the Falls Car Show and Cruise. The show cars will cruise the parade route at 6:00 p.m.

This year’s festival also features a golf tournament on May 9 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s five-star course , a shoebox float competition for 3rd–6th graders (check out their floats on display in Riverpark Square May 9–17), and the All City Civic Military Luncheon at the Davenport Hotel. Click here for the full schedule.

If you are coming down for the parade with your family and want to make a day of it, Riverfront Park’s attractions will be open, including the SkyRide over the Falls and the Looff Carousel.


“Our Briefs Are Tight” Among Finalists for Best Bloomsday Team Name

Written by Stephanie on April 9th, 2015
Watch for racers in costume at Bloomsday!

Watch for racers in costume at Bloomsday!

Spokane’s annual Bloomsday race inspires corporate cup entrants to get creative and vie for the title of the best team name. Out of over 370 teams, 26 have been chosen as finalists, including Eymann Allison Hunter Jones’ “And Then the Vulture Eats You,” my personal favorite; Spokane Symphony’s “Too Hot to Handel”; and Workland & Witherspoon’s “Our Briefs Are Tight.” Check out the full list here and pick your favorite!

Although corporate cup registration is closed, individuals can still sign up online for $18.00 until Sunday, April 19 (or postmark mail-in registration forms by April 14). If you miss that deadline, you can sign up online for $35.00 through April 26 or at the Bloomsday Trade Show [http://www.bloomsdayrun.org/race-information/trade-show] May 1–2. Race day is Sunday, May 3, starting at 9:00 a.m.

New for Bloomsday 2015:

  • Eight new collectible Bloomsday character cards, including Bruce Sprintsteen (“He was born to run!”), available at the trade show
  • Free photo print through Photoboxx waiting for you at a booth in Riverfront Park when you include the hashtag #BloomsdayRun in the description of your social media posts
  • Outside Interactive will be filming a virtual Bloomsday course video that runners can use throughout the year with the use of their iPad, Windows, or Android tablet on any treadmill in the world
  • New Bloomsday scene medal highlighting the start on Riverside, available for purchase during online registration or at the trade show
  • The Marmot March on Saturday will start one hour earlier (9:00 a.m.) and include third-graders

Bloomsday is a 12-kilometer (7.46-mile) foot race open to all runners, walkers, wheelchairs, assisted wheelchairs, and strollers. The course begins and ends in beautiful downtown Spokane. Entertainment all along the course makes the miles go faster. After the race, head to Riverfront Park for the after party, with food vendors, a beer garden, and live music until 3:00 p.m. STA offers special shuttle bus service to and from the race.


Education, Live Music, and Fun at 2015 Spokane Women’s Show April 10-11

Written by Stephanie on March 28th, 2015

2015spokanewomensshowThe 10th annual Spokane Women’s Show will have presentations and shows on topics from health to fashion, plus wine tasting, exhibits, live music, and cooking and fitness demonstrations. Highlights include the Goodwill Boutique Sale and Fashion Show, the Finish Strong Fitness Games, registration and packet pick-up for the Negative Split Half Marathon and 5K Run, the chance to win some of the $10,000 in prize package giveaways, and the Travel and Adventure International Market. Women’s health is the major theme of the event, and health and wellness checks will be available.

The show will be held April 10–11 at the Spokane Convention Center (334 W Spokane Falls Blvd.) Admission is $5. Race for the Cure participants get in free. Hours are Friday, April 10 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 11 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Bring Your Green to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday, March 14, 2015

Written by Stephanie on March 13th, 2015
Photo by Elliot Donson.

Photo by Elliot Donson.

St. Patrick was born in either England or Scotland to Roman parents around the year 386. Although he was not Irish, he has become as associated with Ireland as the shamrock, which he used to explain the Catholic idea of the holy trinity. He first saw Ireland as a slave after being captured in his teens by a raiding party. He eventually returned home to his family, but later came back to Ireland to convert pagans to Christianity. He was enormously successful in his work and has become one of the most popular saints in the world.

St. Patrick’s Day is about much more than St. Patrick, of course. It is a fun day to celebrate being Irish, or just pretending to be Irish. Spokane celebrates St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, organized by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. The parade features music, clowns, dancers, colorful floats, and more. It starts at noon on Saturday, March 14, in downtown Spokane. Click here for the parade route. Arrive early for the best viewing spots, and remember that street parking will be limited; click here for bus schedules.


Over 30 New Artists at Custer’s Spring Arts and Crafts Show, March 6–8, 2015

Written by Stephanie on March 3rd, 2015

Custer’s 38th annual Spring Arts and Crafts show opens this Friday at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center. Here, you can find everything from hand crafted bird houses to unique clothing to homemade jams. The event is one of the largest craft shows in the Inland Northwest, with over 300 professional artists exhibiting their wares on 78,000 square feet. Over 30 of the artists this year are brand new to the show. It’s a great event to shop for gifts, items for your home, including furniture, dried florals, photography, and pottery, and to experience some creative inspiration for your own projects. Many of the gourmet food items (truffles, vinegars, smoked salmon, etc.) will be available for sampling while you shop. If you are feeling very ambitious, you could probably do all your Christmas shopping nine months early at this one event.

Admission is $7 for adults, good all weekend. Kids 12 and under are free, and parking is free. Hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food and beverages will be available to purchase.



It’s Not Too Late to Plan a Great Valentine’s Day Date! Five Easy Spokane Date Ideas

Written by Stephanie on February 10th, 2015

If you have already planned a perfect Valentine’s Day celebration, good for you. This post is for the rest of us. Here are some fun last minute date ideas for you and your Valentine. No Valentine? Just grab a friend, or treat yourself (you deserve it).

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho with the Spokane Symphony
At first glance, watching the classic terrifying thriller Psycho might not seem like a good Valentine’s Day date, but being scared together can be a good time. The entire soundtrack will be played by the Spokane Symphony orchestra. The performance is February 12, 7:30 p.m., at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Click here to buy tickets ($28–$49).

Chamber Soiree with the Spokane Symphony.

Chamber Soiree with the Spokane Symphony.

Valentine’s Chamber Soiree
If you prefer a calmer, more romantic music show, come see outstanding musicians from the Spokane Symphony perform chamber music in the elegant Georgian Room at the Spokane Club. With your tickets, you can also reserve a pre-show dinner at the club’s Burgundy restaurant, usually only open to Spokane Club members. Performances are February 17 and February 18 at 7:30 p.m. Click here for tickets ($28 for general admission or $48 for table seating, which includes wine and small bites).

Red Wine and Chocolate at Rocket Market
For something more interesting than just having drinks at a bar, hang out with fellow wine lovers and learn something with this wine and chocolate pairing class. Stunning red wines will be paired with the market’s delicious gourmet chocolates, February 14, 7:00 p.m. at 726 E 43rd. Call 509-343-2253 to make reservations ($30 plus tax).

Ice Skating at Riverfront Park
This year, taking your sweetheart skiing anywhere nearby is clearly out of the question, but you can still get out on the ice in one of the nation’s best outdoor skating rinks in the heart of Riverfront Park. Click here for daily schedules. Click here for prices.

Romantic Evening at Stratford Suites
On February 13 or 14, stay in one of Stratford Suites’ beautiful fireplace suites and enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine and 3:00 p.m. checkout. Prices start at $119. Stratford Suites is located just minutes from downtown and very close to Northern Quest Resort and Casino, where you can go out for gaming and dinner before relaxing in your room with a 52” HD TV, all leather furniture, and pillow top mattresses. For couples who really need a quiet night in without the kids, you can make dinner in the fully equipped kitchen. Call 509-321-1600 for reservations.


Films from 27 Countries at the Spokane International Film Festival February 5–14

Written by Stephanie on January 20th, 2015
From Que Caramba es la Vida.

From Que Caramba es la Vida.

The Spokane International Film Festival (SpIFF) brings full-length features, shorts, animation, and documentaries from all over the world, as well as people who make the films, to Spokane. At SpIFF, you can see many of the same films screened at the Cannes, New York, and Toronto film festivals from the last two years. Most, if not all, of these films have not yet been released for wide distribution, so this could be your last opportunity to see them in the U.S.

The Northwest boasts many talented filmmakers, and SpIFF honors them as well. On the Opening Gala night, February 6, the Bing Crosby Theater will show Best of the Northwest Shorts (audience members can vote for their favorite), Queens of the Roleo (about four young women from the Lewiston-Clarkston area who won 11 world log-rolling titles between the years 1958 to 1972), and Dryland, a documentary about family wheat farming and its uncertain future in the Inland Northwest.

Throughout the festival, the downtown AMC Theater, Magic Lantern Theatre, Garland Theater, and the Bing Crosby Theater will show 22 features and 22 shorts, including official submissions for the 2015 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film. But there is more to the festival than seeing great films. Talks and question and answer sessions after shows enhance your understanding of the films and the film-making process, and at Meet the Filmmakers on February 7, you can listen to panel discussions by the filmmakers. Check the schedule—people involved in the films attend many of the screenings. Audience members are also welcome to attend opening and closing parties (SpIFF awards will be announced at the closing party on February 13).


From Queens of the Roleo.

From Queens of the Roleo.

Festival passes, valid for every film and event, are $125, and pass holders go to the front of the line and receive priority seating. Individual tickets are $10, or $8 for matinee programs 2:00 pm and before, and as noted in the program. Student discount tickets are $5 (same day only at SpIFF box office at the venue, with valid ID, while supplies last). Shows sell out quickly, especially at the Magic Lantern, so it’s highly recommended to purchase your tickets in advance online. You can buy tickets for shows online up to midnight before the day of the show and pick them up at will call at least 10 minutes before start time. To buy tickets online, just go to the schedule.


Ring in the New Year with Dancing, Music, Theatre, Art, and Fireworks at First Night Spokane

Written by Stephanie on December 30th, 2014

fireworksOn New Year’s Eve, downtown Spokane will host over 150 performances at more than 40 venues for the First Night Winter Festival of Arts and Entertainment. An admission button that gets you into everything is only $18 ($15 if you purchase before December 31st). Performances start at 7:00 p.m. and run until just before midnight, when a gorgeous fireworks show starts over Riverfront Park. The National Weather Service forecasts a low of 6 degrees for Wednesday night, so you might want to start your evening warming up with the 5-kilometer Resolution Run, which starts at 6:45 p.m. in Riverfront Park, with runners and walkers lining up starting at 6:00 p.m.

First Night is family friendly, with a magic show, face painting, crafts, and a science show especially for kids. In addition, for the little ones who can’t stay out late, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital will put on Kids Night Out from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Convention Center.

For a full schedule of First Night Spokane activities and performances, click here. It’s a good idea to plan your night before you go because venues fill up fast, and you will want to arrive a few minutes early. Buttons are available at Cenex Zip Trip stores, the River Park Square Concierge, Aunties Book Store, and through TicketsWest. Buttons are $15 in advance or $18 on December 31. If you wait until the last minute, just go to the main floor at River Park Square first for your button. Have a very happy New Year!