Dan Ver Heul
This coming year, 2018, the Spokane Lilac Festival will be celebrating our 80th year of bringing the largest Torchlight Military Parade in the nation to the streets of downtown Spokane. Featuring bands, floats, military and equestrian groups, drill teams and dancers, cars, and more, this event is fun for the entire community; no matter what your age, no matter how long you have lived in Spokane, you will enjoy it!
It takes a year to prepare for our parade, and we have many volunteers who work with us to plan it. If you want to join us, send me an email. If you would like to participate in the 2018 Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, please fill out and submit either the Parade Participant or Vendor application to the right.
Our parade is special for Spokane! We hope to see you on the sidelines or in it!
2018 Grand Parade Marshal – Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum
The Festival is honored to have Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum as the 2018 Grand Parade Marshal. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Cornum received a PhD from Cornell University, MD from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and a degree from the National War College. her awards for military service include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, POW Medal and Purple Heart, U.S. Army. As a US Army flight surgeon, Cornum became one of two American service women taken prisoner in the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, her resilience demonstrated that women soldiers could serve in expanded roles in wartime. Cornum’s memoir about that experience was published to critical acclaim in 1992. In 2003, in the second conflict between the United States and Iraq, she was the first female commander of a military hospital, the largest outside the United States, treating many soldiers wounded in Iraq. When new military roles were opened to women in 1993, Cornum’s service in the Gulf War was credited with proving that women could serve in important roles and brave the dangers of war. Her conduct as a prisoner “was a validation that women…have the strength, stamina and mental courage to meet the demands,” (U.S. News and World Report). Cornum’s husband, Kory, is an Air Force Colonel and Orthopedist and they have served several posts. He will be joining Brigadier General Cornum in the parade.
2018 Honorary Grand Parade Marshal – 2018 National Teacher of the Year
The Festival is honored to welcome our Honorary Grand Marshal from Ferris High School, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Mandy Manning. Mandy teaches at the English Language Development Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School.
She first won the National Education Alliance Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence from the state of Washington for excellence in professional practice, advocacy for the teaching profession, community engagement, professional development and attention to diversity.
As part of all this, Mandy joined the NEA Foundation as a Global Learning Fellow and spent a year building global competency skills which has greatly helped her in her work with immigrant
and refugee students.
Mandy also coaches basketball and advises student groups so she touches the hearts of many of our young students here in Spokane! Mandy will be joined by her husband, Ryan Brodwater at our Armed Forces Torchlight Parade on Saturday, May 19th.