Downtown group takes over Mayfest, adds bike races
It will be a busy weekend in Cheney when the Historic Downtown Cheney Partnership kicks off the season of the farmers market Friday and celebrates Mayfest and the multicultural fair Saturday.
“It’s the biggest event we’ve done in a while,” said Spencer Grainger, interim executive director of HDCP.
The program took over Mayfest this year after the Cheney Parks and Recreation department lost its home at the Wren Pierson Building. The multicultural festival was previously organized by Eastern Washington University, but budget cutbacks at the school forced the downtown group to take that over as well.
“This spring has been absolutely insane for us,” Grainger said.
New this year at Mayfest is one-on-one bicycle races, which take the place of the three-on-three basketball tournament of years past. Grainger said the bike races make more sense, since the area has lots of biking trails, such as the Fish Lake Trail and the Columbia Plateau Trail State Park.
“Cheney has an opportunity to be the biking mecca of the region,” Grainger said.
He also wants to get kids excited about riding their bikes, so there will be a bicycle rodeo where kids can talk to police about bike safety, have their bikes inspected and run a safety course.
Every student in Cheney schools received an application to compete in the bike races. Grainger said the course will be short, about a block long for the older kids and 50 feet for the younger racers.
The winners will receive a ribbon and certificate during the awards ceremony at the end of the day.
Many businesses throughout downtown Cheney will have sidewalk sales, Eagles Pub will have a beer garden, Cabin Fever will have an all-day antique show and swap, and Cheney Chic will hold a fashion show on the main stage at First and College.
“The whole purpose is to support the downtown businesses,” Grainger said.
The multicultural festival will feature musical and dance performances on the stage, too.
History buffs can get a glimpse of the Sterling-Moorman house – the Historic Preservation Commission will hold an open house all day.
New this year at the farmers market is the addition of a debt/credit/EBT card reader. Customers using their cards can purchase tokens to use at the various vendor stalls. Vendors also accept WIC vouchers.
It’s also the first year the vendors are running the market independently of the downtown partnership.
The market runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Friday at First and College streets. Also new this year, the market will be open on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Grainger said parking will be tight downtown.
“Leave your car at home and ride your bike in,” he recommended.
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