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!


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.