This year, the very popular FanFest moves to a fabulous new locale—River Park Square.
Beginning Friday, January 15th, the first day of the Championships, River Park Square, downtown Spokane's shopping, dining and entertainment destination, will once again come alive after barely recovering from the First Night celebrations. But they couldn’t be more excited of course, to be such a big part of such an amazing event.
"FanFest will offer the opportunity for residents of the region to participate in the excitement of this championship competition," said Stephen Pohl, general manager of River Park Square.
"We are delighted to once again be the community's gathering place during what is sure to be a most memorable event. Everyone at River Park Square looks forward to hosting FanFest."
The hugely popular event from the 2007 U.S. Championships was a first for the Skating event, thanks to Star U.S.A., who locally manages the Championships and came up with the idea to provide such a gathering place for fans to get up-close and personal with the stars of the ice.
Star USA spearheaded the efforts that led to Spokane's hosting the Championships in 2007, which attracted a record crowd of 154,893. Previously they had hosted 2002 Skate America, which had also attracted a record attendance
"We couldn't be prouder or more excited for our hometown," said Toby Steward, president of Star USA. "The world will be riveted to the excitement of the Olympic Winter Games, and the Pacific Northwest will be in the spotlight. Spokane will now have a direct connection to that excitement."
This year FanFest will benefit greatly from the larger venue of River Park Square and the central location of it all, where not only attendees can get in on the action, but shoppers, diners and movie goers as well will get to be a part of this exciting time for Spokane and all those involved.
Free to the public, FanFest will be located on the first level of River Park Square and will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, January 15th, the first day of competition, and continue throughout, following an approximate schedule of 10 a.m.-7 p.m. every day until the final day when festivities will continue until 11 p.m. or later.
Activity boards will be updated daily with competition schedules, autograph sessions and other fan events. Safeway, a sponsor of the event, will host a food and beverage booth, as well there will be entertainment and live news and radio broadcasts from KHQ and Dave, Ken and Molly of 92.9 FM, respectively. And the best part of it all will be when the figure skating stars themselves show up to sign autographs and take pictures with their adoring fans.
An exciting addition to FanFest this year will be the Victory Ceremonies—a recap of the initial presentation on the ice.
“We’re so excited about this addition to the FanFest schedule,” said Barb Beddor, executive director for Star U.S.A. “It means that fans who aren’t able to attend the events will still get to be part of this riveting moment—which is going to carry even bigger emotion this year, as the winners will be heading to compete in the Olympics in Vancouver just 4 weeks later.”