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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hot fun

Staff writer

Liberty Lake is shaking off the summer doldrums with a hot mix of movies, concerts and performances. This weekend kicks off the ninth year of the Friends of Pavillion Park’s summer festival, which features a mix of free performances by nationally recognized recording artists and local performers.

Entertainment runs through Labor Day and acts include Riders in the Sky, the Grammy-winning music group that recorded songs for Walt Disney movie soundtracks, and LeRoy Bell, an “acoustic soul” artist who has opened for B.B. King and other legends.

Event Director Nancy Lindberg said a committee took suggestions from residents and sought musical diversity when selecting performers.

Milonga, a local 10-piece band that’s gaining fame for its innovative Tex-Mex salsa music, is one of three bands playing on the Fourth of July.

“They are just very representative of music from Central and South America,” Lindberg said, adding the band’s rock ‘n’ roll twist is a great example of converging influences.

Between Fourth of July band performances, tae kwon do students from Liberty Lake Athletic Club will demonstrate kicking, punching, sparring and drilling with staffs.

“This is our first time at the festival. They’re very excited anytime they get to go on stage,” said David Himebaugh, who teaches the kids, age 7 to 12.

The Fourth of July is a big day for the community, which for 17 years has hosted a parade with golf carts, bikes and other decorated creations. Afterward, people get together for a barbecue with old-fashioned games and races.

“It’s quite an event. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting,” said Tina Wallingford, a parade organizer.

After the summer festival concert, Liberty Lake has a big fireworks display that’s paid for by residents and local businesses and organized by Denise and Tim Coyle and Greg Tichy.

Lindberg estimates that last year’s concert and performance series attracted about 15,000 people, many from outside Liberty Lake.

The biggest draw was recording artist Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a concert that cost between $7,000 to $10,000 and attracted thousands of concertgoers, she said.

Much of the entertainment money is provided by Friends of Pavillion Park, which holds an annual December holiday ball and auction that’s supported by businesses and individuals.

Greenstone Corp. underwrites the weekly movie showings and this year US Bank, American West Bank, Liberty Lake Kiwanis, Huntwood Industries and Farmers & Merchants Bank are underwriting live performances.

The festival gets some advertising money through a hotel-motel tax from Best Western Peppertree Liberty Lake Inn and Comfort Inn and Suites.

Lindberg said booking top acts at a small venue requires negotiations, persistence and a bit of luck.

Performers are often booked up during summer weekends, she said, but might play a smaller show if they’re performing in nearby cities.

“We’re an add-on gig for a lot of bands,” Lindberg explained. “I was thrilled with who we were able to get on Saturday nights here because it has been tricky.”

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