Having fun outdoors is easy to do here!
Spokane is surrounded by 76 lakes, 4 major rivers, 13 ski areas, and 32 golf courses.
Held annually at noon on the Saturday preceding St. Patrick's Day, this is a parade that everyone should see at least once. If spring has not made an appearance yet, it usually will for this popular event. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick (FSOSP) host the parade, one of the largest on the West Coast, and it attracts 80,000 to 100,000 onlookers a year with 200 enties of all sorts.
Over the course of the month of May you can't go anywhere without being reminded of Spokane's largest and most longstanding celebration, the Lilac Festival and Parade. The Spokane Lilac Festival has been a "Lilac City" tradition since 1938. It was an effort originated by the Associated Garden Clubs and the Spokane Floral Society to boast our beautiful spring lilacs and to showcase our area youth. They organized a parade and a royalty program to honor young women from the Spokane area. Over the past sixty-plus years, the Lilac Festival has taken on many activities and it has undergone several changes. However, it has always remained true to one of it's original objectives -- promoting our greatest resource, today's youth and showcasing Spokane as one of the greatest tourist destinations of the Inland Northwest!
Along with the Saturday evening 'torchlight parade' in the middle of May, there is also a "Junior Parade". The 'torchlight parade' boasts marching bands and princesses from most of the regional high schools, an anointed Queen, and a long line of floats, clowns, Shriners, classic cars, rotary clubs, and goes on for about 3 hours.
Near the end of May each year, the Museum of Arts and Culture puts on 'Artfest' in the northwest corner of Brownes Addition. An event that runs for three days will have local and national art on display, various demonstrations, food, live music, and a selection of hand-on art activities for people of all ages. Discount admission to the museum (MAC) will be available at this time as well.
The names keep changing, depending on the sponsors, but the events seem to stay the same. Every 4th of July, both Riverfront Park and the city of Coeur D'Alene are buzzing with entertainment options for families. Live music, food booths, open markets, festivals, and art displays are all finished off with a spectacular firework show. In Spokane there are areas all throughout the city that you can watch the show taking place over Riverfront Park; in Coeur D'Alene the crowds gather on the city beach or on their boats just off of the beach to catch an incredible display of fireworks.
Memorial Day weekend has one big 4-day event, controversially known as 'Pig Out in the Park". Both local and well-known chain restaurants show off their specialties from one large food court located right inside Riverfront Park, it is like one big picnic, only you do not have to bring a basket. There is a large array of regional and national live bands that play through the weekend, a beer garden and a chance to enjoy all the other amenities of the park for the last time as the summer draws to a close. Some people will eat nowhere else for the balance of the weekend, using the occasion to try some of the restaurants they never get to try.
The Spokane Symphony puts on several free concerts throughout the year in various locations. The most popular of these events would be the one in the South Hill's Comstock Park. Taking place on Monday evening of Memorial Day weekend, the regular crowd brings picnic dinners, wine, table clothes, lawn chairs, and enjoy a couple hours of music on the last night of the traditional summer. Another tip is that they practice with no crowd (easier parking) the evening before, if you like to avoid the crowd and just want to catch some glimpses of the Monday evening program, a Saturday night picnic can be just as enjoyable (or more) for some.
Starting near the end of September and going through most of October, families and friends travel on the weekends to the community on the hillside in northeast Spokane County known as Greenbluff. There are over 20 orchards putting on various carnivals, festivals, hayrides, BBQs, straw mazes, tours and many families and schools come to get their pumpkins for Halloween. Buying fresh fruit (or even picking your own), pies, seasonal gifts, local crafts, and fresh apple cider is encouraged also.
Spokane has numerious wineries making and selling award winning Washington wines. While most of them are open year round with tasting rooms, gifts, and sales, they all participate together in a large open house weekend in the late fall with more elaborate taste tests, tours, food, and music to celebrate the new harvest.
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