The Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade returns with the theme “Our Town”

After a two-year hiatus, the Lilac Festival returns to downtown Spokane this weekend.

This time, under the theme “Our City”, the organizers of the festival aim to “honor the military, empower our young people and highlight our region”.

With two years of pandemic closures behind us, Lilac Festival 2022 President Alan Hart chose the theme to honor the community. Each event aims to bring the community together.

“I was looking forward to this,” Hart said. “The parade is a bit smaller than it has been in recent years – it will last another two and a half hours. It’s still just gigantic.

What to expect

Starting Saturday morning, the event will kick off with a float tour, during which Lilas festival-goers will have the chance to get a glimpse of the Our City 2022 floats and around 20 visiting floats. The staging will begin under the freeway between Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street at 8 a.m.

Portland Rose Festival representatives the Royal Rosarians will visit the Manito Park Rose Gardens to plant a rose in Hart’s honor at 10:30 a.m. After serving three touring assignments at Fairchild Air Force Base with the 92nd Maintenance Group, Hart retired in Spokane with his wife, Tera, a teacher at Medical Lake High School, a veteran, and a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. A military family, the Harts have a son in the Navy and another who will participate in the Torchlight Parade with the Color Party team. The Harts’ daughter, Katherine, will also join them in the parade.

Beginning at 1 p.m., festival sponsor BECU will have a booth at the Vendor’s Fair on Howard Street between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Avenue. BECU will share information about the Veteran Employee Resource Group (VERG) and their commitment to the Armed Forces.

New this year, organizers will host a “brew party” with beer tastings from 16 local breweries on Wall Street between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Avenue between noon and 5 p.m. This event is already sold out, but you can still register on a waiting list. For more information, visit spokanelilacfestival.org and search for “Festival Event List”.

The Cruizin’ the Falls Car Show will begin at the corner of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Wall Street at 10 a.m. Winners will be announced around 4:30 p.m.

The parade will start at 7:45 p.m.

Fee for the day

The 2022 Lilac Festival Royal Court includes 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 and Festival Queen Janna Huber of Mead High School. Huber is involved with Link Crew, Marching Band, Cheer Band, Wind Ensemble, Young Life, Student Council, and co-captain of the tennis team. She plans to attend Washington State University or Eastern Washington University in the fall.

This year’s grand marshal is Colonel John Marshall Groves. Now retired, Groves served in the Air Force for more than 26 years, 14 of them in Special Operations Command, serving combat missions in Iraq, Kuwait, Djibouti, Pakistan and in Afghanistan. In 2004 Groves was awarded a Silver Star Medal for his actions in Fallujah, Iraq.

No stranger to Spokane, Groves served as commanding officer of the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School at Fairchild Air Force Base from 2016 to 2018, during which time the school trained more than 32,000 troops. , sailors and airmen.

Finally, Judge Debra Stephens will serve as honorary marshal of the 2022 Grand Parade. A native of Spokane, Stephens is a graduate of West Valley High School and received her law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law as a scholar. Thomas More.

Then-Governor. Christine Gregoire named Stephens a judge on the Third Division of the Washington Court of Appeals. Stephens was later named a justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, becoming the first in the Third Division of the Washington Court of Appeals and the first woman from eastern Washington to hold that office. Since then, she has served three terms as a Supreme Court justice.