SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Lilac festivities returned to the streets of Spokane this week for the 85th year, and the festivities will follow throughout the week and culminate with the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade.
The parade, set for Saturday, May 20, will be taking over 16 square blocks in the heart of downtown to celebrate this year's parade theme, "Onward."
Downtown street closures on Saturday, May 20 are estimated to begin at 8 a.m. Event organizers said official closures will be shared be the city of Spokane on Thursday.
Starting at 8 a.m., Spokane Falls Boulevard between Stevens and Post Street and Wall and Howard Street between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Avenue will close for the Cruzin’ the Falls Car Show and Lilac City Market on Saturday.
At 4 p.m., streets adjacent to Washington north of Spokane Falls Boulevard to Boone and Spokane Falls Boulevard between Browne and Stevens will begin to close to prepare for staging.
At 5:30 p.m., the remaining streets along the parade route will close between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Second Avenue.
Traffic on the Monroe Street Bridge will be reduced to accommodate exiting parade units. Vehicles passing through downtown during that time are recommended to detour to Division or Maple.
All streets will re-open around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. Click here to see the map.
Spokane Transit Authority (STA) will operate alternate boarding zones for the downtown plaza on 2nd and 3rd between Wall and Stevens and on Howard between 2nd and 4th for the Lilac Parade. The meters will be bagged by 4 p.m., on Friday, May 19.
The parade will start promptly at 7:45 p.m. People can look to the clocktower around 7:30 p.m. for a fly-by of a KC 135 from Fairchild Airforce Base to kick off the festivities. This year’s parade will feature over 150 units.
Here is the full list of festivities taking place during the 2023 Spokane Lilac Festival this week:
Tuesday, May 16
- Lilac Legacy Art Show will be taking place on Tuesday, May 16 at 6 p.m. The show will feature artwork from 14 local artists and the 2024 Official Festival Artist and artwork selection. Entry to the art show is $5. Tickets can be found here.
Friday, May 19
- Queen’s Luncheon: The event takes place on Friday, May 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Historic Davenport Hotel. Tickets for the event are $55 per person. Tickets can be found here.
- President’s Gala: Community leaders from across the Pacific Northwest will recognize Civil and Military Persons of the Year while enjoying entertainment and a keynote from 2023 Parade Grand Marshal, Rear Admiral Douglas Asbjornsen. The event will be followed by dancing with Mojo, the Party Band. The takes place on Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Davenport Hotel. Tickets are $110 per person. Tickets can be found here.
Saturday, May 20
- Cruzin’ the Falls Car Show: This beloved car show returns to Spokane Falls Blvd. near Riverfront Park. Registration opens at 9 a.m. and closes when full or at 11 a.m. The awards presentation starts at 4 p.m. followed by a reverse car parade through the parade route at 5:30 p.m.
- Lilac City Marketplace: The Lilac City Marketplace is a chance to support local artisans and find something uniquely Spokane. The event takes place on Howard Street next to the Cruzin’ the Falls Car Show, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Rose Planting by the Portland Rose Festival: The Royal Rosarians will be planting a rose bush in honor of 2023 President, Sam Snow, at the rose garden at Manito Park. The Ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m.
- Second Annual Lilac Festival Brewfest: Brewfest is back for a second year. Brewfest will showcase over 30 of Spokane’s many award-winning and innovative breweries. Tickets include a commemorative glass and tokens for a 5-oz pour at the participating breweries. The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Riverfront Park. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 the day of, and VIP tickets are $40.
- Armed Forces Torchlight Parade: The nation’s largest Armed Forces Torchlight Parade will take over 16 square blocks in the heart of downtown. It begins at 7:45 p.m.
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