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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bass player Daryl Smith keeps time with the singers of the praise band from Valleypoint Baptist Church. 
 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Bass player Daryl Smith keeps time with the singers of the praise band from Valleypoint Baptist Church. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

It started with hula dancers and ended with rock ‘n’ roll.

In between came a course full of snappy punk, cowboy twang, bucket drummers and belly dancers.

And then there was Accordion Joe, who occupied a category of his own.

Wearing a glistening helmet of Elvis hair, Joe played ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll on the instrument best known for rolling out the barrel.

“As far as I know, to my understanding, there is no other dummy that does an accordion Elvis,” Joe said Sunday, before the crowds began rushing past.

He was one of 27 acts lining the Bloomsday route, nearly double the number from last year. Included in the lineup were Coeur d’Alene’s Red Hot Mamas, who’ve danced in local parades and a presidential inaugural, and Cheney country singer Dusty Klink. Racers could go to the Bloomsday Web site – www.bloomsdayrun.org – and vote for their favorite band, with cash prizes for the top winners.

In Browne’s Addition, a group of Post Falls teenagers known as Foreign DNA entertained the crowds with tight, nervy pop-punk, a la Blink 182. Clad mostly in black, the band stood at Cannon and Riverside, powered by a portable generator.

Some passing runners shouted out their approval, and some lifted their hands in the standard “devil’s horns” rock ‘n’ roll salute. One young woman squealed, “I love Foreign DNA.”

“When you think about it,” said bassist Sjan Preston, “we’re playing in front of a couple thousand people.”

A little ways up the road, the classic rock band PF Flyers performed on a flatbed trailer. The group modified the Ramones’ punk-rock anthem “Blitzkrieg Bop” just for this gig – “Bloomsday Bop.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” said singer Kenny Pierce. “Everybody’s in a good mood, anyway.”

About halfway down the Riverside slope, Accordion Joe stood holding his instrument and looking very “late Elvis” – white outfit with colorful, curling patterns, metallic green shirt, and dark glasses.

On the set list: “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” “Viva Las Vegas,” – and some non-Elvis material, like “It’s My Party” and “Puff, the Magic Dragon.”

In between, he offered other kinds of encouragement.

“Hi, guys!” he hollered, as the first of the men’s elite runners pounded downhill. “Whoo-hoo!”

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