Pedestrians get first crack this weekend at the rehabilitated Monroe Street Bridge.
The city of Spokane has organized a party to mark the reopening of the bridge after its 2 1/2 -year closure.
The celebration kicks off today with an opening ceremony featuring antique planes, bikes and cars.
In addition to the Monroe Street Bridge itself, several surrounding streets and the Post Street Bridge also will be closed to vehicle traffic.
A biplane flew under the main arch of the bridge back in the era of barnstormers, and this celebration will include its own biplane, flying over, not under.
Old-time bikes, classic cars, bands, a Native American blessing and speeches from Spokane dignitaries will round out the opening ceremony.
Then the street fair kicks in for a day of music, historical booths and more. Kids and adults can pick up passports at information booths and get them stamped at different locations as they learn about the bridge and city.
An evening street dance with music by Tuxedo Junction will be followed by a fireworks display.
After a multi-denominational Sunday prayer service, the events become a little more physical.
The Spokane Bicycle Club and Group Health are sponsoring a ride across eight downtown bridges, which will be closed to traffic for the event. The ride is about nine miles long, starting at the Monroe Street Bridge, heading west to the Sandifur Memorial Bridge and then back east to two Howard Street bridges, the Post Street Bridge, Inn at the Park Bridge, Don Kardong Bridge and Mission overpass.
A map is posted at www.spokanecentennialtrail.org.
The bike ride is free and there is no need to register.
Those more interested in walking than riding can join a 5k walk for cancer.
The Prekeges 5k Memorial Walk for Kids ‘n Cancer will start at the Monroe Street Bridge, travel through Peaceful Valley and then cross over the river and return downtown.
Connie Prekeges died two years ago from cancer and the foundation sponsoring the walk is run by her daughter. Money raised goes to camps for kids with cancer.
More information is available at www.prekegesfoundation.org.
- AMY CANNATA
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