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Doug Clark: Thank you for turning poetic goal into reality

After last year’s edition of Spokane Street Music Week took in a record $8,300 despite grotesque weather conditions, a challenge was raised by some of my closest friends.

“Go for $10 grand for the 10th anniversary,” they urged.

The goal did have a poetic ring.

But 10,000 bucks is a serious amount of dough.

I mean, you can buy a judge with that kind of scratch.

(Maybe even two in some of our more rural, cash-strapped counties.)

So all in we went.

Spokane Street Music Week raises donations for the 2nd Harvest food bank thanks to wonderful volunteers who perform their various talents during the noon hours on the downtown sidewalks of Spokane.

And despite my worries, we did it.

This year’s grand SSMW total, I’m thrilled to announce, is $10,018.

The lion’s share was collected by an unprecedented 200-plus participants: musicians, singers, dancers, a juggler and a couple of roaming comedians.

Their take was added to the $1,130 we took in at the food bank’s annual auction, plus a still-growing number of contributions via our website – www.

Don’t be surprised if our grand total expands beyond $11,000 in the next few days.

On a weird note, we also received 30 foreign coins from countries like Panama, Hong Kong and other nations. And two tickets to some Friday night drag races that went unused.

Like a magic act, however, the actual U.S. money can be transformed into more than 30 tons of food to feed the area’s hungry.

I couldn’t be prouder of all you wonderful buskers.

There was a time when I could thank everyone who took part by name. That ship sailed years ago, however, as the event matured into a full-fledged spectacle.

Friday’s noon hour, for example.

We had more acts going on than I had ever seen. These gracious, dedicated performers accounted for a record one-day total of just less than $2,000.

The downtown was vibrant with live entertainment, which was my hope when I began this adventure as a solo quest back in 2003.

Street performance should be fun and uplifting, of course.

It should never be about how much noise you can make before the cops get called.

Some individuals must be thanked.

Mayor David Condon, for example, performed percussion instruments with his family at my spot near Starbucks.

He was a great sport, as was state Sen. Michael Baumgartner.

The senator showed up Friday with his wife, Ele, and their cute son, Conrad.

I backed the Baumgartners as they sang a spirited version of Hank Williams’ timeless “Hey, Good Lookin’.”

Speaking of spirited, Peter Rivera, former lead singer from Rare Earth, wowed the crowd with his trio Wednesday night at the Bing. We were there to watch the debut screening of “Sing for Their Supper,” a documentary about Spokane Street Music Week.

I can’t thank the filmmakers, Jim Lyons and Joseph Long, enough for their excellent work.

Kudos, too, to:

The Spokesman-Review marketing department and especially graphics whiz Nita Alexander, who did her usual fabulous job of designing our posters and badges.

Mary Beth Donelan, my newsroom pal, once again tirelessly sorted and counted all the donated bills and coins.

And thanks again to Matt Monroe of Button Up, the official Clark column badge maker.

And so Spokane Street Music Week’s 10th anniversary fades into history.


Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at