Spokane Lilac Festival Association Announces 2023 Leadership and Theme

On Tuesday, September 13, at an installation dinner held at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Spokane, volunteers of the Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) announced plans and inducted leadership for the 85th festival year.

During the gathering 2022 Festival President, Alan Hart, reflected on the many accomplishments of the SLFA over a challenging two years. Hart highlighted successful fundraising, renewed interest and growth in directorship, and the addition featured SLFA events “all under extraordinary circumstances.” New events included a Holiday Parade and Holiday Bruncheon in 2021 and a BrewFest held on Festival Weekend 2022.

The 2022 “Our Town” parade hosted nearly 80,000 participants and spectators in downtown Spokane, bringing attendance nearly even with participation in the 2019. “Since 1938, the Lilac Festival has served as a beacon of community for the region,” said Hart. “Through all the challenges, Lilac will continue to grow and adapt, and to serve our mission to honor our military, empower youth and showcase our region.”

1989 Past President, Marilyn Thordarson, presided over the confirmation of the executive committee recognizing the new officers that will serve in volunteer leadership positions over the next year.

The 2023 Spokane Lilac Festival Association Executive Board includes:

  • President: Sam Snow, Itron
  • 2024 Presidents Elect: Elisabeth Hooker, Downtown Spokane Partnership and Carly Cortright, Spokane Transit
  • Past President: Alan Hart, Retired US Air Force
  • Treasurer: Monika Hawkinson, Spokane Public Schools
  • Area Relations, Community Military: Karen Montague, Visit Spokane
  • SLFA Development Director: Adriana Berndt
  • Director Engagement: Cecelia Stephens
  • Float: Scott Phipps, Avista
  • Hosting: Jasmin Davis, Eastern Washington University
  • Merchandising and Marketing: Elisabeth Hooker, Downtown Spokane Partnership
  • Parade: Jamie Dedmon
  • Royalty: Kim Johnson, Providence

Following the change of leadership, 2023 President, Sam Snow, addressed the assembly, announcing the 2023 Spokane Lilac Festival theme, “Onward.”

“To put it simply, ‘onward’ is a continuation forward, moving ahead and not coming to an end,” said Snow. “This signifies and represents the place we are with Lilac. We’re moving on, we’re doing great things. In order to continue and exist and make it to our one-hundredth anniversary, we need to continue to forge ahead and be relevant in our community.”

The 2023 theme pin – a tradition established in 1983 – features images of the Monroe Street bridge, a KC 135, the iconic clocktower in Riverfront Park and a train engine, ever moving forward and onward. Theme pins will be available for sale beginning early 2023 at local retailers and online at www.spokanelilacfestival.org.

The SLFA invites community members to mark the calendar for November 19, 2022, for the second annual Merry & Magical Holiday Parade presented by the SLFA in downtown Spokane, kicking off the 2022 Holiday Season.