Applications Now Open for the 85th Annual Armed Forces Torchlight Parade

[Spokane, WA] The Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) is now accepting applications for parade entries to participate in the 85th Annual Armed Forces Torchlight Parade on Saturday May 20, 2023 in Downtown Spokane.

Community volunteers – dubbed the “Parade Krewe” – works tirelessly throughout the year to bring this annual treasure to our community. “It is with great excitement that we share the opening of the application process for the 2023 Torchlight Parade and Cruzin’ the Falls Car Show” says SLFA Vice President of Parade, Jamie Dedmon. “We hope that everyone will join us downtown for a day of fun activities.”

Annually nearly 100,000 Spokane citizens and visitors gather in downtown Spokane to cheer on their favorite drill team, marching band member, veterans and military units, or community organization. In years past parade highlights have featured giant helium balloons, animatronic floats, DeLorean Car Club members, and the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Each applicant must submit a $25 non-refundable application fee and commercial units must pay a fee of $1200.00. Military units, veteran units, VIPs, Northwest Hosting members, and Junior Lilac Parade best in show band are all exempted from fees unless they apply late.

The Armed Forces Torchlight Parade is the largest parade of its kind in the nation, and happens each year on Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May. The parade features units of marching bands, floats, commercial businesses, equestrian, and many military and civic groups, all which typically include lighting elements to sparkle during the nighttime event. The Torchlight parade includes over 200 units each year and steps-off at 7:45pm with a flyover from a KC 135, arranged by Fairchild Air Force Base.

This year’s Signature Parade Partner is the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Northern Quest Resort & Casino. “The Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Northern Quest Resort & Casino are proud to partner with the Spokane Lilac Festival Association to celebrate our military in the 85th annual Armed Forces Day parade,” says Curt Holmes, General Manager of Public and Governmental Affairs for the Kalispel Tribe. “Everyone who grew up in and around Spokane has wonderful memories of either attending or participating in the Lilac Parade. It brings families together and gives us the opportunity to celebrate our local veterans and those actively serving. We’re excited to help the Lilac Festival Association continue this treasured community tradition.”

Applications are being accepted through Friday, April 21, 2023 and can be found online at Additional applications for parade day events can be found at the SLFA website, including applications to vend along the parade route, information about the Cruzin’ the Falls Car now – now in its 26th year – and to participate in the “Lilac Marketplace” located on Howard Street just south of Spokane Falls Blvd.

Each year, the SLFA President selects a theme which guides all festival events, 2023 Festival President, Sam Snow, selected the theme “Onward.”

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

The 2023 theme pin – a tradition established in 1984 – 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 – the SLFA’s single largest fundraiser – are now available at local retailers and online at