May 16, 2004 in City
Parade of energy
Jenna Johnson was glowing like a queen.
Then again, no one expected anything less from the senior from the Oaks Classical Christian Academy.
“Oh, my goodness, it was amazing,” said Johnson, the queen of the 66th Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, moments after finishing the parade.
“All the friends we had along the parade route, but I think the smiles of the little girls were my favorite. They’re precious, absolutely precious.”
Johnson and her court of six princesses – a revision of past courts – were among the hundreds who rode or marched in Saturday night’s parade. There were 189 units ranging from floats to marching bands to equestrian entries that wound through downtown Spokane while thousands of people lined the streets. Many spectators filtered into Riverfront Park afterward for a fireworks show, the first in Lilac Festival history.
“It seems like the crowd is a little bit bigger this year,” said J.K. Case, of the Spokane Police Department, who has worked 15 parades. “But they’re cooperating.”
This year’s theme, “Celebrating Spokane,” proved to be fitting. Throughout the afternoon, people strolled on Spokane Falls Boulevard where the Cruzin’ The Falls Car Show was held, also a first in the Lilac Festival.
At 7 p.m., Ed Neunherz of the merchandise committee reported the $5 Lilac pins were sold out. About 9,000 pins were made, and sales began in January. In years past, 14,000 pins were made, but were not sold out. “If you’re going to run the Lilac Festival like a business, which we decided to do, you don’t order more pins than you can move,” Neunherz said.
Although the association, under President Denise Vickerman, has given the event a more businesslike approach, it’s still all play for the thousands of spectators.
“It’s free . . . and it’s something to do,” said 20-year-old Chris Moseanko, who is studying law enforcement at Spokane Community College. “I love the energy, and everyone is downtown. Someday I hope to be in it. It’s my town and I’ve got to represent it.”