June 6, 1996 in Nation/World

Move Over, Neighbor Days Music Festival To Carry On Fourth Of July Tradition In Riverfront Park

By The Spokesman-Review
 

When Neighbor Days folded after 19 years, many people worried this year’s Fourth of July would be more fizzling sparkler than fireworks spectacular.

But a new festival is moving into Riverfront Park.

It’s handing out 20 free concerts, blasting off 1,996 fireworks, serving up crooner Chris Isaak and dressing up a Founding Father or two.

The Spokane American Music Festival, modeled after similar festivals nationwide, also will offer a food court, a free American flag with every meal, an adult beer garden and an emergency vehicle display.

“It’s a big, bombastic, wonderful deal,” promoter Bill Burke said. “It’s not the same event as before.”

Neighbor Days, the traditional Fourth of July festival in Riverfront Park, closed last year because of financial problems. The largest apple pie in the world and commemorative mugs lost money for organizers instead of raising it.

Neighbor Days coordinator Lee McLeron said the apple pie still haunts her. It should - she still has a piece in her freezer. McLeron said she hopes the new festival will succeed, but she and her large red hat won’t be there.

“I wish the people doing it all the luck in the world, because it’s heartbreaking when you don’t have the funds to do it,” she said.

Burke, who also promotes Pig Out in the Park, said he has 27 sponsors for his American Music Festival. Together, they’ll pony up $139,000 to put on the big show, planned to become an annual event. Inland Northwest Bank and the city of Spokane are sponsoring the fireworks show.

“It’s very important that we support Fourth of July celebrations,” said Fred Schunter, president and chief executive officer of Inland Northwest Bank. “So often, we tend to forget about the important things that have given us the right to be free, not only in things that we do but in things that we say.”

Burke couldn’t agree more.

That’s why Paul Revere will ride a horse through Riverfront Park during the festival, warning “The Platters are coming” and “The fireworks are coming.”

Abraham Lincoln will hand out photographs signed, “Love you babe - Honest Abe.” George Washington will pass out his own autographed pictures and work the crowd.

The historical figures will be played by actors, but Burke isn’t naming names. “It’s a secret,” he joked. “It’s Paul Revere. It’s Abraham Lincoln. It really is. We found them, their agents made them available, and we brought them to town.”

A political soap box will be held July 4 for local candidates. They’ll be cloistered in the Japanese Gardens, with each speaker limited to five minutes.

But the festival’s main attraction will be the music. The Platters, the Dirty Dozen brass band, Tower of Power and Geno Delafose will play. Local bands Mama’s Dogma, Etouffee and Too Slim and the Tail Draggers will also take the stage.

Tickets for headliners Isaak and Patti Rothberg go on sale Friday, at $22.50 a pop.

“This is very dedicated to music, with a very, very patriotic theme,” Burke said. “We’ll try to be red, white and blue.”

Just don’t mention apple pie.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SCHEDULE OF EVENTS The preliminary schedule for the 1996 Spokane American Music Festival:

Thursday, July 4 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11 a.m. - Alex Bendini (jazz) 1:30 p.m. - TBA 4 p.m. - Grant Smith and Dave Johnston (blues) 5:30 p.m. - TBA

Lilac Bowl Festival Stage 8 p.m. - Spokane Jazz Orchestra 8:45 p.m. - Spokane Jazz Orchestra/ The Platters (nostalgia) 9:45 p.m. - Fireworks exhibition

Friday, July 5 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11 a.m. - Night Wind (country) 2 p.m. - 96 Frog FM Country Showdown (country talent contest) 5:30 p.m. - Dirty Dozen (Dixieland) 8:30 p.m. - Tower of Power (funk/ soul)

Saturday, July 6 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11:30 a.m. - Group du Jour (folk) 1:30 p.m. - Mama’s Dogma (jazz) 4:30 p.m. - Geno Delafose (zydeco)

Lilac Bowl Festival Stage 8 p.m. - Chris Isaak/Patti Rothberg (paid-admission concert)

Sunday, July 7 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11 a.m. - TBA 1 p.m. - Etouffee (Cajun) 4 p.m. - Too Slim and the Tail Draggers (blues)

This sidebar appeared with the story: SCHEDULE OF EVENTS The preliminary schedule for the 1996 Spokane American Music Festival:

Thursday, July 4 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11 a.m. - Alex Bendini (jazz) 1:30 p.m. - TBA 4 p.m. - Grant Smith and Dave Johnston (blues) 5:30 p.m. - TBA

Lilac Bowl Festival Stage 8 p.m. - Spokane Jazz Orchestra 8:45 p.m. - Spokane Jazz Orchestra/ The Platters (nostalgia) 9:45 p.m. - Fireworks exhibition

Friday, July 5 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11 a.m. - Night Wind (country) 2 p.m. - 96 Frog FM Country Showdown (country talent contest) 5:30 p.m. - Dirty Dozen (Dixieland) 8:30 p.m. - Tower of Power (funk/ soul)

Saturday, July 6 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11:30 a.m. - Group du Jour (folk) 1:30 p.m. - Mama’s Dogma (jazz) 4:30 p.m. - Geno Delafose (zydeco)

Lilac Bowl Festival Stage 8 p.m. - Chris Isaak/Patti Rothberg (paid-admission concert)

Sunday, July 7 Clocktower Meadow Festival Stage 11 a.m. - TBA 1 p.m. - Etouffee (Cajun) 4 p.m. - Too Slim and the Tail Draggers (blues)

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus