Media Release

September 11, 2023
Contact: Executive Director, Adriana Berndt,

Spokane Lilac Festival Association Announces 2024 Leadership and Theme

[Spokane, WA] On Wednesday, September 6, at an installation event held at Fête – A Nectar Co. in downtown Spokane, volunteers of the Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) announced plans and inducted leadership for the 86th festival year.

During the gathering 2023 Festival President Sam Snow reflected on the many accomplishments of the SLFA during a post-pandemic season, stating “I’m inspired by our community and our volunteers and directors that continue to put forth the effort to make the Lilac Festival and other community events and activities happen year in and year out”. 

The 2023 “Onward” parade hosted nearly 80,000 participants and spectators in downtown Spokane, keeping attendance nearly even with participation before 2019. “People are finding their way.  But I’m inspired by the people that do come out and put forth effort to the greater good,” said Snow.

2018 Past President Nancy Cole presided over the confirmation of the executive committee, recognizing the new officers that will serve in volunteer leadership positions over the next year. This was a very special installation, as Nancy was a Lilac Princess from Holy Names Academy in 1974, the same year her father, King Cole, helped bring the World’s Fair to fruition in our beloved city.  Quite a full circle moment with the Expo `74 50th celebration coinciding with this year’s festival.

The 2024 Spokane Lilac Festival Association Executive Board includes:

  • President: Elisabeth Hooker & Carly Cortright
  • 2025 President Elect: Jamie Dedmon
  • Past President: Sam Snow
  • Treasurer: Sam Snow
  • Military Relations: Annika Marshall
  • Director Engagement & Community Relations: Monika Hawkinson
  • Float: Scott Phipps
  • Hosting: Christy Snow
  • Merchandising: Jason Armstrong
  • Parade: Dave Carelton & Jamie Dedmon
  • Royalty: Jasmin Davis & Jill Ham

Following the change of leadership, 2024 Co-Presidents, Liz Hooker and Carly Cortright, addressed the assembly, announcing the 2024 Spokane Lilac Festival theme, “Dare to Dream.” 

“Inspired by the audacity of the City of Spokane in 1974 to be the smallest city ever to host a World’s Fair, the 2024 Lilac Festival theme is a call to action to every visionary who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer,” said Hooker. “The SLFA honors the individuals and organizations who – through gumption, grit, and verve – pursued something greater than themselves. Fifty years later our community continues to exceed expectations, building on the legacies of those who came before and passing the mantle to a new generation. We invite the region to join us for the 86th Annual Spokane Lilac Festival as we celebrate all who “Dare to Dream.”

The 2024 theme pin – a tradition established in 1984 – designed by Spokane artist, Chris Bovey, is a celebration of iconic images from the 1974 World’s Fair, including the official expo blue and green, the US Pavilion, lilac buds, and the iconic abstract purple butterfly with wings spread. One of four butterflies located throughout the Expo 74 site, these butterflies served as a location marker for fair attendees, and also reflected the sustainable theme of the fair, moving with the power of the wind and elements.” Theme pins will be available for sale beginning early 2024 at local retailers and online at 

After the unveiling of the theme and pin design, an emotional Nancy Cole addressed the group. “I can’t tell you what this would mean to my dad,” Cole said. “This is so meaningful to our city, to my father, and to our family.”

Expo ’74 should never have been possible in Spokane.  The audacity of those leaders, their grit and determination, and the lasting legacy of Riverfront Park, should be reminders to us all that it is important to not only dream, but have the courage and conviction to turn those dreams into reality.

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 northwest each summer with the festival float, serving as ambassadors of Spokane to the region and beyond.  To learn more about the SLFA visit