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!


Free or Cheap Holiday Family Fun in Spokane

Written by Stephanie on December 9th, 2014
Winter Glow Spectacular at Riverfront Park.

Winter Glow Spectacular at Riverfront Park.

With travel, parties, feasting, and gift-giving, the holidays take a toll on our budgets. Save some money and check out these five great events in Spokane, all family friendly and all free or cheap.

Take a Carriage Ride: Climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage and cruise through festive downtown Spokane or Coeur d’Alene. Sponsored by Spokane Teachers Credit Union, Downtown Spokane, and the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association, these rides are free. In Spokane, meet at the corner of Wall and Main, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Fridays, noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 22, and noon to 3:00 p.m. December 24. In Coeur d’Alene, catch a carriage at First and Sherman 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays through December 21.

Walk through a Winter Wonderland: Take a hay ride, see Santa Claus, stroll across the river on an illuminated swinging bridge, and drink hot chocolate around camp fires at Riverside State Park’s Winter Wonderland. The Bowl and Pitcher area will be decorated with festive lights to get everyone into the holiday spirit, and cocoa and cookies will be for sale. This is a fundraiser for the Riverside State Park Foundation. Admission is $5; kids 3 and under are free. No Discover Pass is required for parking for this event. Times are 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., December 12–14 at the Bowl and Pitcher Area, 4427 N. Aubrey L White Parkway.

The Animals’ Santa Reading at the Bing: Best-selling author Jan Brett will read her book The Animal’s Santa, an original tale about an adorable group of forest animals (including

Christmas Tree Elegance at the Davenport.

Christmas Tree Elegance at the Davenport.

rabbits, a porcupine, ravens, squirrels, and an arctic fox) that try to discover the mystery behind treasures left for them each and every Christmas. Free autographed posters are available for the first 100 families attending. Bring your camera as there will be plenty of photo opportunities with Hedgie the hedgehog and Brett’s decorated tour bus. There is a $5 requested donation for adults, which goes to the Friends of the Bing. Kids are free. This event is December 14, 5:00 p.m., at the Bing Crosby Theater at 901 W. Sprague.

Spokane Winter Glow Spectacular: Riverfront Park is decked out for the holidays, with over 25 lighted displays, including a lighted animal zoo. The lights go on at 5:00 p.m. nightly. Bring a thermos of hot cocoa and stroll through the beautiful park on the Spokane River. This event is free.

Christmas Tree Elegance: Every year, local businesses create elaborate, beautiful Christmas trees surrounded by generous gifts valued at $5,000 to support the Spokane Symphony. You can view twelve of the trees in the historic Davenport Hotel at 10 S. Post Street, which is in its full holiday splendor. Six trees are on display in the second floor corridor at River Park Square at 808 W. Main Ave. Trees will be on display through December 14. Viewing the trees is free; raffle tickets are available for $1 for a chance to win your favorite tree and present package.


Local Businesses Offer Great Deals and Special Events for After Thanksgiving Shopping

Written by Stephanie on November 26th, 2014

   As you shop in the days after Thanksgiving, be sure to stop at some of Spokane’s local businesses! Some small businesses will be open with Black Friday sales on November 28. On Small Business Saturday, November 29, small businesses all over Spokane will have fun events and great deals to celebrate. Here are just a few examples from the city’s core.

Kitchen Engine’s Annual After Thanksgiving Sale: On Friday, the Kitchen Engine, Spokane’s only locally owned and operated specialty kitchen store, will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with door-buster deals of up to 70% off, plus 15% off storewide. They’ll even feed you pancakes for free from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The Kitchen Engine is located in the Flour Mill at 621 W. Mallon, Suite 416. During the sale, parking is free!

Wonders of the World Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Sale: Also located in the Flour Mill at 621 W. Mallon, this shop has gifts for just about everyone. On both Friday and Saturday morning 8:00 a.m. to noon, everything in the store will be 20% off, with some items up to 50% off. Plus, there will be fresh baked cookies to keep up your shopping energy!

Festival of Fair Trade: At this annual market, local fair trade businesses offer up a wide variety of quality goods imported from numerous countries. Purchasing these fairly traded gifts helps improve the lives of the people who make them. The Festival of Fair Trade is Friday, November 28, though Sunday, November 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Community Building at 35 W. Main.

Shop-Hop: At Those Girls (1819 W. Pacific), Veda Lux Boutique (1106 S. Perry St.), Tangerine (1019 W. First), and Lucky Detour (1930 S. Inland Empire Way), if you purchase something from each store, you will be entered into a drawing valued at over $700, plus there will be great discounts. Just pick up a punch card at any location and start shopping. Those Girls will give loot bags full of gifts, samples, and coupons from local businesses to the first 50 customers. The event starts at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, November 29. Bonus: Veda Lux is also offering 20% off everything in the store on Black Friday.

Auntie’s Book Store Small Business Saturday and Indies First: Books make perfect gifts, and local authors will be at Auntie’s all day to sign books, recommend titles, and hobnob with fans. As a special treat for the younger shoppers, the Grinch will also be on hand wandering the store. Auntie’s is located at 402 W. Main Ave.

When you shop at locally owned small businesses, three times as much of your money stays in your community than when shopping at a chain store, so be sure to remember your favorite local stores or check out some that you have not been too yet this holiday shopping season.


Spokane Wineries Holiday Wine Festival Novemeber 21–23

Written by Stephanie on November 19th, 2014

    This weekend, local wineries will open their doors for the annual Holiday Wine Festival. Each of the 17 members of the Spokane Winery Association will offer tastings of current vintage wines and holiday discounts to help you stock up for your seasonal celebrations. Many wineries will also have food sampling, plus great gift ideas. This is a great way to support local business while enjoying sipping wine and talking with knowledgeable wine lovers.

The Holiday Wine Festival is November 21–23, noon to 5:00 p.m. Click here for a map of all the Spokane Winery Association wineries. Tasting fees may apply.


Top 10 Fall Walks in Spokane

Written by Stephanie on November 5th, 2014
Copyright © Charles Gurche Photography. Check out more of Charles Gurche’s beautiful Spokane pictures at http://charlesgurche.com/galleries/landscape/states-2/washington/

Copyright © Charles Gurche Photography. Check out more of Charles Gurche’s beautiful Spokane pictures at http://charlesgurche.com/galleries/landscape/states-2/washington/

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.

Spokane Chiefs Hockey Presents Leinenkugel’s Hocktoberfest, Team Poster Giveaway and Autograph Session, Spokane Police Vs. the Sheriffs, and More

Written by Stephanie on October 15th, 2014

GoChiefsGo_Primary_Color4050Fall is here, and the Spokane Chiefs hockey season is in full swing. The Chiefs just broke a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 shootout win over the Seattle Thunderbirds Tuesday night in Kent, WA. With big changes in the roster this season, a bit of a rocky start was no surprise. As head coach Don Nachbaur said in a September 19 Spokesman Review article, “We have a young ‘D’ and there’s been a lot of turnover on our back end, so that’s going to take some time to sort that out. As they get experience, they’re going to get better.” With the first month under their belts, there is plenty of time for the Spokane Chiefs to have a great season. Hockey games are a fun way to cut loose and get noisy with family, friends, or a date.

There are some great events coming up at Chiefs home games. This Saturday, October 18, get to the game early for Leinenkugel’s Hocktoberfest, an Octoberfest style festival outside the Spokane arena that starts at 4:00 p.m. with German-themed food, drink, and entertainment. Leinenkugel will also be giving away a weekend in Leavenworth. This event is, of course, for fans 21 and over only. Saturday, November 1, is another don’t-miss game night, as the first 5,000 fans will receive a team poster and all fans are invited to a full-team post-game autograph session. On Sunday, November 3, you can come watch the Spokane Police take on the Sheriffs on the ice before the Chiefs game, with proceeds benefiting Behind the Badge. These are just a few of the many special promotion nights. For the full 2014–2015 promotional schedule, click here.


Celebrate Apples and Local Farms at the Green Bluff Apple Festival, Weekends through October 26, 2014

Written by Stephanie on September 24th, 2014
Kids playing at Walter's Fruit Ranch

Kids playing at Walter’s Fruit Ranch

Washington produces about 58% of the apples grown in the United States, according to a US Ag. Stat., 2010 report cited by Washington University Extension’s website. Apples are an important part of Washington’s economy and identity, and Green Bluff’s orchards celebrate harvest season in a big way. You can ride in a horse-drawn wagon, pick your own delicious apples, wander in a corn maze, pick up amazing fresh apple cider and other apple goodies, hear live music, and much more. Below are a few highlights of the Apple Festival at Green Bluff, which runs weekends through October 26. Please keep in mind that every attraction might not be available every weekend. Check with individual farms for hours and event schedules.

Farm Tours
If you want to learn more about small farms, take a farm tour. Hidden Acres, Mrs. Kalin’s Barn, Siemers Fruit, and Walter’s Fruit Ranch all offer tours. Give them a call first to see if you need to schedule a time for your tour.

Family Fun
Green Bluff is a great place to bring kids of all ages who want to play. Check out the Friendly Family Farm Funland at Beck’s Harvest House, with a giant corn maze, giant jump pillow, hay pit, inflatable jump castle, and inflatable haunted house. Mrs. Kalin’s Barn has a straw obstacle course and a giant slide. High Country Orchard offers hay rides, as well as a café with breakfast and lunch. Kids can meet and pet farm animals at Hidden Acres and Walter’s Fruit Ranch. Knapp’s offers “punkin’ chunkin’,” goat mountain, miniature horses, miniature donkeys, and a straw and corn maze. At Siemers Fruit, check out the giant blowup slide, adult-size pedal cars, trains, a corn-shrub maze with a four-story castle, and a pirate ship.

Wine, Beer, and Cider Tasting
Sample delicious beverages at Green Bluff amongst the beautiful scenery of the foothills of Mt. Spokane. At Bodacious Berries, Fruits, and Brews, you can hang out in the red barn or sit outside while enjoying cold, farm fresh beer, often with live music for your entertainment. Townshend Cellars offers distinctive wines in their beautiful tasting room. For something a little different, head to Hierophant Meadery or Twilight Cider Works.

These are just a few highlights of the festival. The best way to enjoy Green Bluff is to drive up and stop at the farms that look interesting to you (most have signs outside their driveways indicating what produce is available). You can print a grower map here or just pick one up at Green Bluff—they are available at several locations, including High Country Orchard’s store and Walter’s Fruit Ranch. Festival events are on weekends only. Call ahead for hours and events at individual farms. Parking is free, but keep in mind that the area is very busy during the Apple Festival, so traffic will move slowly. Green Bluff is located in the foothills of Mt. Spokane just a short drive from Spokane or Spokane Valley. Click here for directions.


There Really Is No Place Like the Fair: Spokane County Interstate Fair Is September 5–14

Written by Stephanie on September 3rd, 2014

Spokane County Fair 2014It’s time to see the pigs and cows, scare yourself on carnival rides, and eat way too much junk food. The Spokane County Interstate Fair starts Friday, September 5. There are so many things to do that it’s a good idea to plan your visit ahead of time to avoid missing a gem like a lego-building contest, kids’ mutton bustin’, racing pigs, or a blacksmith demonstration. Then there are the big shows in the Grandstand, including the PRCA Rodeo, demolition derbies, and national music acts. This year’s Grandstand bands are the Doo Wah Riders (country), Big & Rich (country), Credence Clearwater Revisited (rock, with two original members of Credence Clearwater Revival), Jars of Clay (Christian rock), REO Speedwagon (rock), and Seether (hard rock). Click here to see full schedules for each day.

The Spokane County Interstate Fair is held at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center at 404 N. Havana Street, Spokane Valley. General admission at the gate is $10.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors ages 65 and over, $7.00 for youth ages 7–13, and free for children ages 6 and under. Carnival rides and shows in the Grandstand have additional ticket fees. Parking is available on site for $5.00 in the Main and West lots (paved) and free in the South and STA lots.