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1,200 turn out for Spokane parks job fair

Applicants for the 200 to 250 seasonal jobs at Riverfront Park and other Spokane parks and pools so jammed the lobby of the IMAX on Sunday that the theater was closed for the day.

From noon to almost 4 p.m., would-be cashiers and ride attendants spilled out the doors, at one time almost to the Howard Street Bridge.

Barbara Ackermann, in charge of the annual job fair for a fourth year, said 1,200 or more might have been seated for lightning-quick interviews, just three or four questions.

Normally, she and other park workers might interview 500 to 600, she said.

Ackermann said she enjoyed meeting the applicants, even if briefly. “We at least try to find out what their interests are,” she said.

Most applicants were students.

“I need a job, along with probably hundreds and hundreds of people,” said Jeremy Taylor, looking at the long line in front of him.

Taylor said he has searched for two months in Spokane and Seattle without success.

“This is truly an unemployment situation, standing line, a ridiculously long line,” he said.

Alexis Kruse has one job lined up at a summer camp. But the Mead High School junior said she needs to start saving for college and could handle a second job on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Steve Sullivan’s salt-and-pepper beard set him apart. He is looking for income to supplement his Social Security.

He said he is on call at a nursing home laundry, but lifting tubs of wet laundry is hard on his 63-year-old back.

Out walking his dog around the Dwight Merkel Athletic Complex in northwest Spokane recently, Sullivan said he met the supervisor, who suggested he file an application for work at the job fair.

After two hours in line, Sullivan said he was surprised by the number of people who had showed up, and were still showing up at 3:30 p.m.

“I admire their tenacity,” he said.

Ackermann said she will start notifying successful applicants next week.

For many who want to work, the title of one IMAX feature might be all too prophetic: “The Wildest Dream.”