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Monument placed in park on Lilac festival’s 75th anniversary

The Spokane Lilac Festival placed this monument in Manito Park’s Lilac Garden on Saturday in honor of the festival’s 75th anniversary and to commemorate the volunteers who have served in the organization. (Pia Hallenberg)
The Spokane Lilac Festival placed this monument in Manito Park’s Lilac Garden on Saturday in honor of the festival’s 75th anniversary and to commemorate the volunteers who have served in the organization. (Pia Hallenberg)

The Spokane Lilac Festival Association is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and the group has dedicated a monument in Manito Park’s lilac garden honoring the festival’s legacy and its volunteers.

Spokane Lilac Association president Christine Leva said she got the idea for the monument while attending the annual rose planting hosted by Portland’s Royal Rosarians at Manito’s Rose Garden.

“I was standing there thinking that we needed to do something in the lilac garden – we are the Lilac festival after all,” Leva said.

She made the creation of a monument her “president’s project” and found a sponsor in Tresko Monuments.

“I am so glad it worked out,” Leva said. “The monument is dedicated to our volunteers, to all the people who’ve made the Lilac festival possible over the years.”

Most associate the Lilac Association with the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade which takes place downtown on May 18 at 7:45 p.m.

Because this is the diamond anniversary of the Lilac festival, new events have been added to the schedule.

The Armed Forces Appreciation Golf Tournament kicks off the festival week on May 11.

That’s also the day of the Junior Lilac Parade and the day of the shoebox float contest.

Children in third through sixth grades may create a shoebox-size parade float and take it to River Park Square where it will be judged by the crew from the Lilac parade float barn.

“It was apparently done a long time ago and we wanted to bring it back,” Leva said. “It’s a great way to get elementary school children involved in the festival.”

Entry forms for the shoebox float contest must be downloaded from www.spokanelilacfestival.org and returned by Wednesday with an entry fee of $5. The contest is limited to the first 250 shoebox floats, which will be on display at River Park Square from May 11 through May 19.

The 75th Lilac festival is being honored outside of Spokane as well. Portland’s Grand Floral Parade’s creative team announced Tuesday it has picked the Spokane Lilac festival float to participate in the 2013 Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade on June 8.

Leva said the festival association has reached out to businesses and organizations encouraging everyone to wear purple and “paint the town purple” during the Lilac festival week.

“We are really hoping the Bloomsday shirts will be purple this year,” Leva said, “but of course we have to wait until Sunday to find out about that.”

Watch Pia Hallenberg talk about this story on KHQ



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