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With parking pinch, Bloomies face early hurdle picking up packets

Bill Greene huffed and puffed Friday as he jumped in line to enter the Bloomsday Trade Show. The 70-year-old from Spokane had to park two or three blocks away just to pick up his packet for Sunday’s run.

The 38th annual event, a well-oiled machine at this point, hit a kink this year when the construction of the convention center hotel along Spokane Falls Boulevard wiped out hundreds of parking spaces and narrowed traffic where participants pick up their race day packets.

“It’ll be even busier in 24 hours,” Greene said Friday. The line entering the trade show spanned half a block when the doors opened at 11:30 a.m. Friday; today is expected to be even busier.

The trade show is open 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and offers the usual selection of athletic clothing, footwear, sports equipment and food.

To accommodate the parking issue, Bloomsday organizers are offering free parking and shuttles from the Spokane Arena to the convention center, said Mark Starr, a Bloomsday board member. That service is not available on Sunday.

STA shuttles from Ferris High School, the Spokane Valley Mall, NorthTown Mall and Eastern Washington University’s Red Barn will run during limited times on race day for $1.50 round trip.

Cheney resident Jean Beal drove, parked and walked several blocks to get her Bloomsday packet on Friday. “I’ll take the bus on Sunday,” she said.

Another change this year is no backpacks on buses, Starr said.

“Last year, backpacks were banned from the race,” she said. “This year it went a step further by banning them from the buses.”

Participants can expect to see more bands along the route, Starr said. And the party in the park “will be a little bigger with more music and food,” he added.


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