‘All about community’: Despite rain, many returned, excited for Spokane Lilac Festival’s 84th year

SPOKANE, Wash. – Despite Saturday’s on and off rainy weather, the Spokane Lilac Festival carried on for its 84th year. Many are happy it’s back after a two-year pandemic break, and there’s a new addition to the festival this year.

The Spokane Lilac Festival Association started the first Spokane Lilac Festival Brewfest this year, selling out all of its 500 tickets quickly, said Alan Hart, the festival president.

The festival featured 16 breweries that were happy to be part of the inaugural event.

“It’s really exciting. The turnout was fantastic. We sold out right away and hopefully we can just keep building it and make it bigger next year,” said Matt Hanson, the owner and brewer of Whistle Punk Brewery.

Hanson has lived in Spokane most of his life; to not see the Spokane Lilac Festival and Armed Forces Torchlight Parade for the last two years made him sad.

“It just felt like not having Hoopfest and not having Bloomsday and a lot of things. Missed out on a lot of community experience and what it kind of defines what it looks like to live in Spokane,” Hanson said. “It’s really nice to start having those things back.”

While people enjoyed their samples of beer, Duane Dust showed off his 1970 Cord Royale in the car show.

“I restored it myself. It’s a fun car to drive, and I figured people might enjoy seeing it,” Dust said.

He’s lived in Spokane since 1975 and is a Veteran himself. He doesn’t remember how many times he’s been out to the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, but he’s happy to see it all make a comeback.

“I haven’t been to every one of them, but I’ve been to most of them. I enjoy the parade, the people. The kids especially like it, getting the candy thrown at them and whatnot,” he said chuckling.

“This is all about community. This is all about people coming back out here, enjoying Spokane, enjoying the city streets,” added Hart.