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Spokane's Junior Lilac Parade to be organized by Lilac Festival

Spokane's Junior Lilac Parade, held the Saturday before the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, will now be overseen by the Lilac Festival Association.
Courtesy of Lilac Festival Association
Spokane's Junior Lilac Parade, held the Saturday before the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, will now be overseen by the Lilac Festival Association.

The organization that operates Spokane’s annual Armed Forces Torchlight Parade is taking over management of the Junior Lilac Parade.

“That’s always the kickoff to our festival week, which is always the third week in May, culminating in Armed Forces Day,” said Elisabeth Hooker, the co-president of this year’s Lilac Festival.

The Lilac Festival Association says it will assume control of the parade for elementary and middle school students at the request of the Roteract Club, which has organized the junior parade since 1992. It has, for a few years, struggled to find enough volunteers to staff the festival.

“There was a loss of institutional knowledge and so, when the Junior Lilac Parade returned in 2022, the Lilac Festival stepped up to help out and fill in some of the gaps,” she said. “As we got back to what is our new normal, it became clear that Roteract continued to need help and so they approached us to see if we would be willing to take on the tradition for them.”

She says the Lilac Festival has the resources it needs to take on organizing the second parade.

“We are able to contract with a lot of the same partners to provide things like Port-a-Potties and barricades and fencing, where those partners were working with the two organizations in the past. Now they’re just working with one and we have one large, you could call it, order,” she said.

Hooker said it was an easy decision for the festival association to step in and make sure the junior parade continues.

“The Junior Lilac Parade is incredibly important not only to the community, but to our parade as well,” she said. “Younger marchers grow into high school marchers and we get to see them and appreciate them in our big parade.”

This year’s Junior Lilac Parade will be during the day on Saturday, May 11. The Armed Forces Torchlight Parade will be the evening of May 18. The festival association says it is accepting applications from organizations that want to participate in one or both.

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.