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Washington summer events rebound from pandemic

Courtesy Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival
The Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival had a strong four-day run in June 2023.

Many summer festivals and events in the Inland Northwest have recovered from the challenges caused by the COVID pandemic.

Kathy Podmayer from the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival says her organization’s four-day event in mid-June was a big hit.

“We moved into the Methow Valley Community Center in the center of Twisp and people were very happy to have it in the middle of town as opposed to at a ranch out of town," she said.

The Founders Day parade is one of Re*Imagine Medical Lake's signature events.
Courtesy Re*Imagine Medical Lake
The Founders Day parade is one of Re*Imagine Medical Lake's signature events.

Around the same time, the Founders Day event sponsored by Re*Imagine Medical Lake was also drawing big crowds, says Re*Imagine secretary Ryan Grant.

“This year’s Founders Day was maybe the best we’ve ever had. We counted about four thousand people. Our new stage that we have has been a real success," he said.

Both credit grants from the Washington Department of Commerce for helping them to stay afloat during lean times, when they were unable to hold their signature events. Re*Imagine Medical Lake collected a $15,000 grant last November. The Methow Valley festival was awarded nearly $21,000. Overall, the agency says it gave out more than three million dollars to 200 civic organizations in 36 counties.

“You just look at some of these little community festivals that have been hanging on by a thread for volunteers anyway and then COVID came along," Grant said. "I think Re*Imagine would have always made sure that Founders Day would have happened, but having the backstop there with the grant program to help us get through some of the stuff, it made a difference.”

Kathy Podmayer says the grant helped the Methow Valley festival cover the costs of moving into town and with other expenses.

“Finding a place to store our stuff. Finding a new executive director, paying them. And then whatever was left, putting it toward the actual festival program," she said.

Several other eastern Washington organizations also received state grants, including the Okanogan, Ferry County andWheat Land Communities fairs, TwispWorksand the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.