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Celebrate Independence All Weekend Long at Riverfront Park, or Enjoy Fireworks over the Water in Coeur d’Alene

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Fireworks over Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Spokane and Coeur d’Alene both have great fireworks shows, as well as other fun family events, this weekend. Downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park 4th of July Weekend Celebration starts Friday, July 3. The festivities include live entertainment, plenty of food, a beer garden featuring No Li Brewery brews, and of course fireworks. Here are  a few highlights of the weekend:

  • Half-price day passes for Riverfront Park attractions, which include unlimited rides on the Ferris wheel, historic Looff carousel, pavilion attractions, and tour train, as well as mini-golf, a regular IMAX theater movie, and, for an extra $4.00, a SkyRide gondola trip over the Spokane River falls
  • Pie-eating contest in Gondola Meadow 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, followed by a hot dog eating contest
  • International food vendor market in Gondola Meadow, open at noon each day
  • Free American flags for kids, while supplies last, noon to 9:00 p.m. Saturday
  • Live entertainment at the Lilac Bowl stage, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday
  • Spokane Jazz Orchestra show at the Lilac Bowl stage, 8:00 p.m. Saturday
  • Fireworks show, 10:00 p.m. Saturday

At Coeur d’Alene’s Independence Day celebration, you can cheer on the American Heroes parade downtown on Sherman Avenue, marching from 15th Street to Northwest Boulevard. The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. Then you can hang out in the city park on the lake, where there will be food and vendor booths, concerts, and fun activities for kids all day. Sure, it will be hot, but you can cool off in Lake Coeur d’Alene any time! At around 10:00 p.m., the grand fireworks show will start over the water. If you want to get closer to the fireworks, there are still tickets available for the Lake Coeur d’Alene 4th of July Fireworks Cruises. One ship is for families, while another is 21+ and provides food and cocktails.

Top 10 Fall Walks in Spokane

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
Copyright © Charles Gurche Photography. Check out more of Charles Gurche’s beautiful Spokane pictures at

Copyright © Charles Gurche Photography. Check out more of Charles Gurche’s beautiful Spokane pictures at

Spokane’s fall season is in its full glory. The city is decorated with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows thanks to our abundant leafy trees. Grab a raincoat and enjoy the autumn views before all the leaves fall! Below are 10 of the absolute best fall walks in the Spokane area, in no particular order, based on suggestions from Spokane residents.

  1. Finch Arboretum: Stroll through this 65-acre park amongst a botanical collection of trees and woody plants from hawthorns and oaks to rhododendrons. Visit the website to download a walking guide that lists which trees are showing their colors in the fall and where to find them. Finch Arboretum is located at 3404 West Woodland Boulevard.
  2. Corbin Park Historic District: Corbin Park, at the center of the district, is an 11-acre park located at 2914 N West Oval Street. You can download a map of the park here. There are many brilliantly colored trees in the fall within the park. If you extend your walk to wander through the neighborhood, you can walk under more beautiful trees lining the sidewalks. This area also boasts many historic homes.
  3. Ben Burr Trail: This trail was constructed on an old railroad line and connects Liberty Park to Underhill Park, a distance of one mile. It is located north of E 57th Ave. between Ben Burr Rd. and S Myrtle St. Cul-de-sac on the South Hill.
  4. Whitworth Campus: Whitworth University in north Spokane at 300 West Hawthorne Road has a beautiful treed campus that is very impressive in the fall. Click here for a campus map to aid your roaming.
  5. Browne’s Addition: This neighborhood, just west of downtown, contains some of the oldest trees and oldest homes in Spokane. A great place to start is at Spokane’s first park, Coeur d’Alene Park, at 2195 S Chestnut St. Here you will find towering pines as well as leafy trees. From the park, you can wander the neighborhood. The MAC Museum of Art and Culture, located in Browne’s Addition at 2316 W 1st Ave., sells a walking tour booklet for $5.95. You can also download a walking tour for handheld devices.
  6. Overlook Park: Located in Browne’s Addition on Coeur d’Alene Street, here you can enjoy a view of the Hangman Valley and walk down to Hangman Creek, where there is another trail that parallels the creek.
  7. Manito Park: This 90-acre park has the most beautiful gardens in the city, but during the fall, it’s the large trees take the spotlight. Located at 1702 S Grand Blvd. Download a map here.

    Corbin Park. Photo by Ginny Abdallah.

    Corbin Park. Photo by Ginny Abdallah.

  8. Downtown Coeur d’Alene: The downtown waterfront in Coeur d’Alene is another great place to take in the spectacular colors of fall in the Inland Northwest while also enjoying the scenery of the Coeur d’Alene Lake. Click here to download a map. Follow the Centennial Trail from City Park as long as you like. Be sure to take a walk along the boardwalk on your way.
  9. Riverfront Park to Gonzaga Campus Centennial Trail Loop: This walk is one of my personal favorites. Located on a calm section of the Spokane River, you’ll see colorful foliage reflected in the glassy water. A good place to start is in Riverfront Park behind the INB Performing Arts Center at 334 West Spokane Falls Boulevard. Walk east along the trail, along the river. The loop follows the river, then crosses a bridge over to the Gonzaga campus, where you can walk back along the river, crossing back into Riverfront Park at one of the bridges.
  10. Cliff Park: From the top of this volcanic outcrop, at 426 W 12th Ave., you can enjoy great views of the surrounding city and the many tall trees in the area. The park is only five acres, but a short climb within an old rock wall provides a great payoff in scenery.

Celebrate Creativity with Regional Art and Musicians at Art on the Green August 1–3 at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014


Copyright 2013 Citizens' Council for the Arts

Copyright 2013 Citizens’ Council for the Arts

Art on the Green is a highlight of summer in the Inland Northwest. Over 50,000 people come out to see and buy unique, high quality works of glass, leather, clay, wood, metal, and fiber directly from the artists. Most artists are from the Northwest, with a few from farther away, and most of the performers are local. If you want to see if your favorite local artist is at Art on the Green, click here for a list.

Kids can create their own art in a special hands-on art area that provides instruction and materials. Two stages provide a variety of entertainment. Throughout the weekend, you can catch the Coeur d’Alene opera, a youth poetry slam, teen jugglers, and over 20 different music acts, including pop, blues, and jazz. Click here for a full schedule. Naturally, there are plenty of fun festival food choices for when you work up an appetite.

Art on the Green is held on the campus of North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, ID. Festival hours are Friday 12:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday live entertainment runs until 9:30 p.m. A free shuttle runs from downtown to the campus throughout the festival.

The Taste of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Coeur d’Alene Street Fair will also be running this weekend in downtown Coeur d’Alene as well as at the City Park on the lake. All three events are within walking distance to each other, or you can take the free shuttle that runs all weekend from downtown to NIC. All are free admission. The Taste of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Street Fair (on Sherman Avenue) feature arts and crafts, food booths, and live music.

Swing Upside Down 104 Feet off the Ground, or Just Float on a Lazy River: Silverwood Offers Thrills of Several Kinds

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Silverwood Theme Park

Silverwood Theme Park

The Northwest’s largest theme park is situated just a few minutes north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Between the two parts, Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Water Park, you would be hard pressed to see and do even half of the attractions in a day. Silverwood offers wild rides to mild rides, fun areas just for little ones, shopping, and relaxing options such as a slow train ride.

One of the scariest rides and the first of its kind in the world, the Spincycle takes bold riders 104 feet up, legs dangling and wearing only a harness, then rotates 360 degrees at 13 revolutions per minute while swinging like a giant pendulum. Aftershock, also designed for the extreme rider, was voted the top hanging roller coaster by the Travel Channel in 2012 and boasts 177-foot drops. There are nine thrill rides in all, four of them roller coasters.

For those who prefer things a bit less jolting, Silverwood offers 12 fun-for-all rides, including the gentle steam engine train ride around the park (featuring the occasional not-scary robbery), as well as fun favorites like the Ferris wheel, bumper boats, and tilt-a-whirl.

Young kids can have a blast on 10 rides made just for them, including the brand new Krazy Koaster and Puppy-Go-Round. Several of the kid’s rides can accommodate adults riding with children.

When you need a break from the amusement rides, you can see a magic show at the Theater of Illusion, watch an old-timey flick at the Main Street Theater, or catch some live music at the High Moon Saloon.

Boulder Beach Water Park

Boulder Beach Water Park

On the other side of the park, cool off at Boulder Beach Water Park. Slide at up to 55 mph on Velocity Peak or board a raft and splash down a 650-foot slide that ends in a below-ground canyon on Avalanche Mountain. Or you can just kick back on an inner tube and float around Elkhorn Creek. Young kids can play all day at Polliwog Park, and there is even a special play area just for toddlers, Toddler Springs. Everyone can enjoy the two wave pools.

There is so much to do at Silverwood, you may want to stay close by and spend a couple of days there. Click here for nearby hotels that offer discounted ticket packages. You can also stay at the Silverwood RV Park. Silverwood tickets, which include admission to both the theme park and Boulder Beach Water Park, are $45.99 for ages 8–64 and $22.99 for ages 3–7 and seniors age 65+. Purchase your tickets online before you go for a discount of up to $4.00 per ticket. Two- or three-day passes are also available at a discount. Outside food and drink are not allowed; there are numerous restaurants and food/beverage stands in the park. Parking is $5 per day.

A Weekend of Art, Food, and Fun: Taste of the Coeur d’Alene’s, Street Fair, and Art on the Green August 2–4

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Copyright 2013 Citizens' Council for the Arts.

Copyright 2013 Citizens’ Council for the Arts.

One of the area’s biggest festival weekends is almost here. Downtown Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho College will host three great outdoor events that draw people from all over the region. All events are within walking distance to the beaches of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, so bring your bathing suit! Travelling between the three locations is easy—just catch a free shuttle bus at 3rd and Sherman or 4th and Sherman. Admission is free. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Taste of the Coeur d’Alene’s:  Now in its 26th year, this Idaho Panhandle Kiwanis event features quality Northwest food vendors, live music, and a variety of fine arts and crafts, including jewelry, gourmet food, crafts for the home, and more. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This event is located in the Coeur d’Alene city park, right on the lake.

Coeur d’Alene Street Fair: Located in downtown Coeur d’Alene, just a short stroll from the Taste of the Coeur d’Alene’s on Sherman Avenue, this annual street fair features food and craft vendors as well as entertainment. The streets are blocked off, and it is stroller and handicap friendly.

Art on the Green:  The 45th annual Art on the Green showcases the work of 135-plus artists as well as a variety of great music performers. This festival celebrates art, friendship, and creativity. You can buy quality handcrafted glass, clay, leather, wood, metal and fiber works directly from the artists who make them. This is the place to pick up unique pieces created by talented, accomplished local artisans. Kids can make their own art in the hands-on art section. There is also a juried art contest. It is located at the old Fort Sherman Grounds on the North Idaho College Campus, just a short walk from downtown and City Park.

All Are Welcome at Julyamsh, the Northwest’s Largest Outdoor Powwow: July 26–28 in Post Falls

Monday, July 15th, 2013

slide4The word powwow is a modern word used to describe what was once called a victory dance. These were traditionally held to celebrate the return of warriors from battle or raids, or after a successful hunt. Today, powwows are still important social gatherings grounded in sacred traditions. Elaborate dance competitions are held, in which the regalia worn includes symbols passed down to the dancer from previous generations.

Members of all tribes, as well as non-Indians, are welcome at the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Julyamsh, which will be held July 26–28 at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls, ID. For non-Indian visitors, it is helpful to know a couple of points before you go:

  1. While the powwow is a beautiful celebration of Native American culture, it is a traditional gathering rather than primarily a tourist attraction. This means the powwow does not run on a strict schedule, but begins and ends when the time is right.
  2. The outfits worn by participants are not considered costumes. They are elaborate regalia with many important familial and tribal symbols.
  3. All visitors should ask permission before snapping someone’s picture outside of the dance area.

Julyamsh 2013 gets started Thursday, July 25 with camper’s night. Powwow activities start Friday night, with a hand drum exhibition at 5:30 p.m., horse parade contest at 6:30 p.m., and Grand Entry at 7:00 p.m. Saturday is a full day, with dancing, a sky dive performance, and an art show and auction. Sunday, the powwow wraps up with drumming, dancing, and a horse parade. Click here for a complete schedule of the weekend’s events.

Car D’Lane in Coeur d’Alene June 13–16: New This Year: Napa Poker Walk

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

cruiseIf you like looking at classic cars, you won’t want to miss the 23rd annual Car D’Lane cruise and car show in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The Friday night (June 14) cruise, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., beginning on Lakeside and ending on Sherman, draws thousands of people to the sidewalks to see and hear a huge variety of classic cars and trucks. Some of them feature flames painted on, and some of them fire out real flames (there is a best flames contest!). The car show, with gorgeous cars and trucks parked along the main streets of downtown Coeur d’Alene, runs Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

All cars must be 1975 or older to participate. If you have a classic that you would like to show off in the cruise and/or enter into the show, you can preregister here. Like to look at cool car accessories, parts, and memorabilia, too? In addition to the car show, there is also a swap meet Friday and Saturday,  8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., on the grassy area at 6th and Sherman. New this year, you can also start the weekend off with a poker walk on Thursday night, with cash prizes awarded. The poker walk begins at 5:00 p.m. at the Napa store at 2514 N. 4th Street.

Cars are great, but there are other things to do while you are in beautiful Coeur d’Alene. Be sure to walk along the lake, which is right downtown, and check out the many shops and great little restaurants along the cruise route.

How to be Scared in Spokane: Scarywood and other Area Frights

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Timber of Terror riders

The Timber Terror rollercoaster at Scarywood. Copyright Silverwood and Boulder Beach.

Each October, happy, bright Silverwood Theme Park, near Coeur d’Alene, ID, is transformed into a dark, haunted “Scarywood.” Roller coasters run backwards (apparently, this is scarier than forwards), and ghosts, ghouls, and other nasty creatures prowl the grounds.

Haunted attractions include the Blood Bayou haunted house, Terror Canyon Trail, Zombie Wood Express (the benign train ride turned into a zombie hunting machine!), and the brand new 3-Dementia, a 3-D attraction of a “pleasant fun zone gone horribly wrong.”

Not all rides are open during Scarywood, but there are plenty to keep you busy all evening, and all are decked out in spooky decorations and swarming with horrifying people to keep your adrenaline pumping. The website advises visitors to plan on attending twice if they want to see everything. While not as crowded as Silverwood Theme Park during the summer, Scarywood is still very popular. If you can, go in the middle of the week for smaller crowds and shorter lines (and cheaper admission price!). Before you go, check out the visitor tips page. Note that Scarywood is not recommended for kids under 12—this is not just an overly cautious warning. The place is very fun, but too intense for young kids! Dress very warmly, as you will be standing outside a lot. Visitors are not allowed to wear costumes, so save yours for the parties.

Tickets are $24.99 at the gate or $19.99 if purchased online for Wednesday and Thursday admission (6:30–11:00 p.m.), $29.99/$34.99 Friday (7:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m.), and $34.99/$29.99 Saturday (7:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m.). Bonus: for every Scarywood ticket you purchase, you’ll receive a free Silverwood May admission ticket! Click here to buy your ticket online.

If being chased screaming through a corn maze sounds like a good time, be sure to check out the Field of Screams at the Incredible Corn Maze near State Line, ID (3405 N. Beck Road, Hauser, ID 83854, 509-990-6088). There are three non-haunted mazes in addition to the 3.5-acre haunted corn maze. Click here for Field of Screams hours. Prices are $7 to $10. While you are there, you can also shoot corn out of a cannon, pick a fresh pumpkin, and let the kids play at the tractor tire playground.

The Post Falls Lions Club will scare you for a good cause at their annual fundraiser haunted house at 4th and Post in Post Falls, ID. This year’s event promises to have all new frights, with an “underground” them. The house is open Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 p.m. to midnight through October, except October 28–31, when it will close at 10:00 p.m. The cost of admission is $7, or $5 if you bring two non-perishable food items to donate to the Post Falls Food Bank

If you want some reality with your spookiness, check out the Spokane Symphony’s Spooky Spokane walking tour on October 19, 6:30–8:00 p.m. or October 26, 6:30–8:00 p.m. For 90 minutes, stroll through downtown with a guide and learn about Spokane’s colorful and spooky history. The tour begins at the Fox theater and covers a 12-block radius with indoor and outdoor stops. Tickets are $15 and benefit the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Buy them at the Fox Box Office at 1001 W. Sprague Ave. or by phone at 509-624-1200. They are also available online at and at all TicketsWest outlets.

If you are looking for information about the Ignite! Theater haunted house at Riverfront Park, I’m sorry to tell you that it will not be performing this year. Due to construction on the planned Pacific Science Center, the group was not permitted to use the Riverfront Park venue, and they were unable to find another place. They hope to revive the haunted house next year at a new location.