Spokane Lilac Festival and Parade to Return for 84th Year

[Spokane, WA] After two years of cancellations the Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) is excited to announce the return of the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade to downtown Spokane on Saturday May 21.

Prior to 2020 and 2021, the Lilac Festival has only been cancelled three times due to disruption from World War II from 1943 through 1945. In celebration of a return to Community, the 2022 Festival theme selected by President Alan Hart is “Our Town.”

“After two years of delays, cancellations and separation, we are ready to gather as a community again,” said Alan Hart. “Now is the time to showcase the many things we love about Our Town, not only Spokane but our entire region.”

Sponsored by BECU, the 2022 parade will once again feature local and visiting high school bands, community floats, equestrian units, marching and vehicle units representing branches of the armed forces and veterans, and a few surprises in between.

The SLFA invites the community to mark their calendar for Festival Week commencing May 16 and culminating with the Torchlight Parade on May 21. The SLFA invites you to join us at any of our fun and exciting events.

Monday, May 16

Lilac Legacy Art Show
6:00 pm | Nectar Catering & Events | FREE – Donations accepted
The Spokane Lilac Festival Association presents the Sixth Annual Lilac Legacy Art Show. Featuring exhibitions of artwork from local artists and the selection of the 2023 Official Festival Artist.

Friday, May 20

Queen’s Luncheon Sponsored by Empower Esthetics
11:30 am | DoubleTree Hotel | $50 per person
Join Queen Janna and the 2022 Our Town Lilac Festival Royal Court for a luncheon hosting visiting royalty with an inspiring message from 2022 Parade Honorary Grand Marshal, the Honorable Debra L. Stephens of the Washington State Supreme Court. We will also be recognizing the Teachers of the Year that have been selected by our Royal Court from their respective high schools.

President’s Gala
6:30 pm | DoubleTree Hotel | $100 per person
Celebrate Spokane at the President’s Gala hosted by 2022 Lilac Festival President, Alan Hart. Welcome community leaders from across the Pacific Northwest, recognize Civil and Military Persons of the Year while enjoying entertainment, dancing and a keynote from 2022 Parade Grand Marshal, Retired USAF Colonel, John “Marshall” Groves.

Saturday, May 21

Cruzin’ the Falls Car Show Sponsored by TDS Fiber
10:00 am to 5:00 pm | Spokane Falls Blvd, Stevens to Post | Vehicle registration $10
Before the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade on Saturday May 21, join us in downtown Spokane on Spokane Falls Blvd west of Stevens for the Cruizin’ the Falls Car Show sponsored by TDS Fiber from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Enjoy music from KEY 101.1, hosted by morning show DJ, Kent Jones. Vehicle entry is a $10 donation, Registration opens at 9:00 am and closes when full or at 11:00 am. Awards presentation at 4:00 pm, with awards sponsored by Les Schwab Tires. Cars will line up to cruise through the parade route at 5:30 pm.

Food Truck Festival
11:00 am – Close | Riverfront Park Howard Street Bridge
Join the Greater Spokane Food Truck Association in Riverfront Park for a sampling of Spokane’s best mobile food trucks! Serving up while supplies last.

Lilac Festival Brewfest
1:00 pm to 5:00 pm | 10 N Wall Street | Tickets $35, VIP Ticket $45
Festival planners are adding a new event to Festival Weekend! The Brewfest will showcase Spokane’s many award-winning and innovative breweries. All tickets include a commemorative glass and 10 tokens for 5-oz pours at the participating breweries.

Armed Forces Torchlight Parade with Signature Sponsor BECU
7:45 pm | Downtown Spokane Parade Start Spokane Falls and Washington | Bleacher seating $15
Don’t miss the nation’s largest Armed Forces Torchlight Parade! City streets close at 4:00 pm taking over 16 square blocks in the heart of downtown to celebrate Our Town – the Lilac City – Spokane. Enjoy the best view of the parade when you purchase a pass for bleacher viewing located at Main Ave and Washington.

All tickets can be found online at www.spokanelilacfestival.org. Most events will be held at the SLFA’s 2022 host hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Spokane City Center.

Support the return of the parade and festival programs when you purchase a 2022 “Our Town” theme pin. The SLFA first introduced an annual theme in 1984 under President Ronald Hardin. That theme was “Spread Your Wings” and the tradition has continued until today. Pins can be found at sponsors and retailers throughout the region, and are available for only $5.

“When you purchase a pin, you’re purchasing an opportunity to support our mission of honoring our military, empowering our youth, and showcasing our region,” says Hart.

The Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) is a 501c3 nonprofit community organization established in 1938 by the Associated Garden Club of Spokane. Following the end of World War Two, what had been a loosely organized group of enthusiasts gathered to officially form the Spokane Lilac Festival Association, launching in 1946 and continuing to this day. Each May the SLFA hosts communities from across the Pacific Northwest for the annual Lilac Festival culminating in the nation’s largest Armed Forces Torchlight Parade on Armed Forces Day. SLFA Directors and the Royal Court of seven high school seniors selected from among Spokane County’s 31 area high schools travel across the north-west each summer with the festival float, serving as ambassadors of Spokane to the region and beyond. To learn more about the SLFA visit www.spokanelilacfestival.org.


Spokane Lilac Festival Royal Court Honor Teachers of the Year

Members of the Spokane Lilac Festival “Our Town” Royal Court have selected seven teachers to be honored as a part of the 2022 Armed Forces Torchlight Parade.

The Lilac Festival is committed to the continued education of our Royalty Court and celebrates those who helped shape into the young women they have and will become. Founded in the early 2000 by Festival Director Russ Brown, a long-time educator, the Teacher of the Year program was created to celebrate the teachers going the extra mile to ensure bright futures for their students.

Annually, each member of the Royal Court selects a teacher who most influenced them throughout their high school experience. Recipients are presented a plaque and certificate at their school alongside the Festival’s President and are also invited to attend the Queen’s Luncheon during festival week on May 20. GESA Credit Union is the 2022 sponsor of the program.

The 2022 Teachers of the Year are:

  • Tamara Kennedy-Gibbens – Mead High School
  • Karen Round – Gonzaga Preparatory School
  • Kaysha Reinhart – University High School
  • Craig Johnson – Medical Lake High School
  • Mary Pratt – Cheney High School
  • Andy Mattson – The Oaks Classical Christian Academy
  • Emily Torres – Ferris High School

The Queen and six Princesses submit an essay that describes the reasons for their nomination. Queen Janna said this of Tamara Kennedy-Gibbens, “Mead High School is all about belonging, and this amazing teacher really embodies this so admirably. She has made students like me feel welcomed and that we belong.”

Belonging and support were a common theme in many of this year’s selectees. “This teacher has served as a great role model for me since the first day I met her,” said Princess Ryan of Karen Round. “Beyond academics, I never once had doubts that she cared for me as a student and a person.”

Princess Velerie said of her selection Craig Johnson, “This teacher never lets a student leave the room with anything less than they came with. Their kind words and genuine empathy and care for their students never wavers and ensure that students never leave the building unhappy.”

In 2022, the selected teachers had the opportunity to ride alongside the Royal Court on a KC – 135 refueling aircraft as guests of 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base.

The honorees are invited to ride as a VIP in the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade on Saturday May 21, 7:45 p.m. in downtown Spokane. To read the 2022 honoree essays and view photos of the presentations, visit here!

Spokane Lilac Festival to Host Brewfest

On Saturday May 21, 2022, the Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) is bringing together 16 local breweries for the First Annual Lilac Festival Brewfest.

For more than 80 years, the SLFA has championed the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, honoring our military, empowering our youth, and showcasing our region. This year, Festival planners are adding the Brewfest to the mix to further showcase the region and Spokane’s many award-winning and innovative breweries.

“We are excited to host our First Annual Spokane Lilac Festival Brewfest in the streets of Downtown Spokane,” says Sam Snow, 2022 SLFA Parade Vice President. All tickets include a commemorative glass and 10 tokens for 5-oz pours at the participating breweries.

Date: May 21, 2022, 1:00pm – 5:00pm (VIP early entry, Noon)

Location: 210 N. Wall St. between W. Spokane Falls Blvd. and W. Main Ave.

Tickets: $35 (General Admission) / $45 (VIP) Available for purchase at www.spokanelilacfestival.org

In celebration of the inaugural event, YaYa Brewing Company has unveiled a new German style pilsner brewed for the SLFA called the Parade Pilsner (5.5% ABV) and is made with malted barley bred by WSU and grown on the Palouse.  They will donate a portion of taproom sales from this beer and their headliner Angel IPA to the Festival.

Other participating brewers include: Bellwether Brewing; Brick West Brewing; Black Label Brewing; Bottle Bay Brewing; For the Love of God Brewing; Four Eyed Guys Brewing; Garland Brew Werks; The Grain Shed; Humble Abode Brewing; Lumberbeard Brewing; Mountain Lakes Brewing; No Drought Brewing; No Li Brewing; Precious Things Fermentation Project; and Whistlepunk Brewing.

The Spokane Lilac Festival Brewfest logo was designed by local Community College graphic design student Gillian Chappell.

“The Spokane Lilac Festival hosts a number of events on parade day and we are hoping the success of the Brewfest will add one more,” says Snow. “I think people are eager to get out and socialize at fun events in our beautiful city.”


Janna Huber Named 2022 Our Town Lilac Festival Queen

[Spokane, WA] At a coronation held on Saturday March 26 at Spokane First Church the Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) crowned the 2022 “Our Town” Festival Queen, Queen Janna Huber from Mead High School.

Queen Janna is involved in Link Crew, Marching Band, Pep Band, Wind Ensemble, Young Life, Student Council, and co-captains the Tennis team. She plans to attend either Washington University or Eastern Washington University in the fall of 2022.

In her speech Queen Janna spoke about feeling a sense of belonging when her family relocated to the Spokane area and hopes to reinforce that feeling to others in the Spokane community and Pacific Northwest region.

The SLFA Royal Court is composed of seven senior girls selected from among regional high schools. The selection process begins in the fall, with the court being selected in February and the Queen named in March.

The Royal Court Princesses are:

  • Princess Velerie Dancel of Medical Lake High School
  • Princess Megan Tallman of The Oaks Classical Christian Academy
  • Princess Taryn Frerichs of Ferris High School
  • Princess Ryan Ham of Gonzaga Preparatory School
  • Princess Shelby Zehm of University High School
  • Princess Ella Hilliard of Cheney High School

At the coronation, Royal Court Members were presented with a court scholarship. Additional Scholarships were presented including The Spirit of Lilac, Community Service, and Academic Achievement among more.

Queen Janna and Royal Court will represent the SLFA at the Annual Armed Forces Torchlight Parade in downtown Spokane on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 7:45 p.m. and will travel with the SLFA Float to over one dozen community festivals across the Pacific Northwest this summer.