The annual Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade has been a significant event in the Inland Northwest every May since it begun in 1938.
This year’s parade will begin winding its way through downtown Spokane on Saturday night at 7:45.
Almost every town in the country has an annual parade that draws the community together, whether it’s a New Year’s Day parade or a Fourth of July parade. In Spokane, it’s the Lilac Parade.
From its humble beginnings of just one float in 1938, the Lilac Parade has blossomed into a major parade, featuring 50-plus floats, dozens of marching bands, 20 military units, several drill teams, numerous equestrian riders and other community entries. And, the May event draws tens of thousands of people to the downtown area.
The parade commences at the corner of Washington and Spokane Falls Boulevard. From there it will proceed south on Washington until it reaches First Avenue, where it will turn west. The route continues on First, north on Post and back and forth on Sprague, Riverside, Main and Spokane Falls Boulevard between Washington and Post. It ends at the corner of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Post.
Although some parts of the route still have construction going on, the parade won’t be affected.
The only designated public bleachers are at the corner of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Washington. However, people are free to bring lawn chairs and spectate anywhere along the route. To be assured of getting a good spot, it’s a good idea to arrive early - several hours is not too early for curb-side seating.
A host of Lilac Festival activities coincide with the big parade, today through Sunday. Here are some of them:
The Spokane Gun Club hosts the Inland Empire Trapshoot at 9 a.m., today, Saturday and Sunday. Call 926-6505 for more information.
The annual Lilac Juried Exhibition is on display at the Corbin Art Center through the weekend. Call 625-6677 for hours.
On Saturday, the Lilac Festival Giant Banana Split Surprise occurs at the Clock Tower Meadow in Riverfront Park at 1 p.m.
The Lilac City VolkSporting Association sponsors a Lilac Festival 10K Walk in Comstock Park on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 535-9081 for more information.
The 19th annual MDA Bed Race takes place on Spokane Falls Boulevard on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Both the Inland Empire Rabbit Association Show and the Interstate Dairy Goat Show happen at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds on Saturday. For details, call 924-6097. The Dairy Goat Show continues through Sunday.
The Lilac Spring Inboard and Flat Bottom Boat Race is at Willow Bay on Long Lake Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 483-2801.
On Sunday, the Interstate Fairgrounds will be the site of the 4-H Horse Leaders Show. For more information, call 533-2048.