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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Festival organizer looks to emulate Park City success at Northern Quest

UPDATED: Fri., July 12, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Northern Quest is launching a  weekly summer festival with the help of an experienced organizer who has a track record of success. (Courtesy of Northern Quest)
Northern Quest is launching a weekly summer festival with the help of an experienced organizer who has a track record of success. (Courtesy of Northern Quest)

Members of the Kalispel Tribe’s development company knew they wanted to start a new festival at Northern Quest casino in Airway Heights, but they weren’t sure who should organize it.

That changed last year, when they attended Park Silly Sunday Fest in Park City, Utah, which consistently draws turnouts of 20,000 attendees.

Looking to replicate that success, they recruited the organizer of Park Silly Sunday Fest, Kimberly Kuehn, to help their nascent festival plans take shape.

The result will be unveiled Sunday, when the first Quest Sunday Fest kicks off at the new Northern Quest Grand Plaza, which was built specifically for civic gatherings, said Brandon Haugen, general manager of the Kalispel Development Company.

“We wanted to give all our local artisans another place to shine, especially in the summer,” Haugen said of the new Northern Quest Grand Plaza.

Kuehn said attendees can expect an event that combines the theatrics of Cirque du Soleil and the childhood excitement of a carnival.

“It’s not just an art show, it’s not just a farmers market, it’s not just a kid’s activity. It’s everything,” Kuehn said.

The Sunday fest, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for five Sundays through August, features music from local and regional bands. Trego and Super Sparkle will play the first Sunday fest.

The festival also includes belly dancing and hula hooping, and event organizers worked with the Spokane Food Truck Association to create a rotating schedule of member food trucks, including 3Ninjas, Crepe Cafe Sisters and One Night Stand BBQ.

There are also kid and teen spaces with bouncy houses, mini go-karts and bikes to ride around the area.

Attendees can look forward to a mechanical bull in August and can always find bouncy houses and face painting among the kids activities.

The component that made planning the event series special for Kuehn was working with the Kalispel Tribe.

“They’re very friendly and family oriented,” Kuehn said. “It’s a very organic tribe that cares a lot about the community.”

The event will kick off on Sunday with a blessing from tribal leaders.

“I feel like we’re at the family house, because they’re so kind and generous and their hospitality is great,” Kuehn said.

Quest Sunday Fest is also an opportunity for local makers to start their own business, Kuehn said. Vendors apply to be a part of Sunday fest and applications are open throughout the season. Kuehn said she has informally helped more than 100 people create a business out of the things they’re passionate about creating, whether that’s pottery, paintings or gourmet foods.

“We have vendor university prior to the opening season,” Kuehn said.

This helps everyone get on the same page, not only logistically but also when it comes to marketing and presentation, she said.

There are more than 50 artists, jewelers, farmers, designers and nonprofits currently scheduled to be a part of Sunday fest.

Kuehn included some vendors she knows from Utah as well as people from across the region.

“Our biggest goal is to see the community come alive out here and to grow it over time,” said Haugen. “It’s a free event, and the emphasis is around families and supporting vendors.”

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