Spokane Culture: The Lilac Festival

Spokane Culture: The Lilac FestivalThe Lilac Festival is one of Spokane's defining community events. It is unique to Spokane and if you are looking to experience signature Spokane culture hanging out at the Lilac Festival is the place to do it. 

What is the Lilac Festival?

The festival started out as a modest celebration and is now a week-long series of events. It is one of the oldest community events in the area. It is 100% volunteer-run through the Spokane Lilac Festival Association SFLA. The SFLA is a grassroots organization that focuses on highlighting what is special about the Lilac City (Spokane). 

There is a focus on honoring the military of Fairchild Airforce Base located in Spokane County in Airway Heights and a big contributor to the Spokane culture. The Armed Forces Torchlight Parade is a highlight of the festival. There is a focus on empowering youth through a scholarship program and of course, showcasing the region. 

This Year's Festival Week Events

Junior Lilac Parade

The Junior Lilac Parade is a smaller version of the Grand Parade this year's parade will be on Saturday, May 11 at 10:30 AM. The parade will wind through downtown Spokane featuring the junior royalty court and several of the cutest members of the Spokane community.

Lilac Legacy Art Show

The art show is on Tuesday, May 14 at 6 PM at FETE -a Nectar Company located at 120 N. Stevens. Check out some of the best work from local area artists showcasing different aspects of the community and beautiful lilac blossoms.

All-City Civic-Military Lunch

On when May 15 at 11 AM at the Centennial Hotel Skyline Ballroom located at 303 W. North River Dr. The luncheon is focused on celebrating local heroes who live work and serve in Spokane. Hear from Dare to Dream copresidents Elizabeth Hooker and Carlie Courtwright while enjoying an amazing lunch. Also enjoy a presentation by the 2024 SLFA queen all while honoring those who serve the country and the Spokane community. Tickets need to be purchased prior to the event, there is no ticket sales at the door. There is a dress code of business attire.

The Queen Luncheon

On Friday, May 17th at 11:30 AM at the Centennial Hotel Skyline Ballroom. This is a chance to meet the 2024 SLF a Dare to Dream Lilac Queen. The lunch will kick off parade weekend and is a great fun time for all those who are interested in meeting the latest Royal Court.

The President's Gala

On Friday, May 17 at 5:30 PM in the Centennial Hotel Riverfront Ballroom. This is a lively event with a dance and dinner before a parade day. It is hosted by co-presidents of the SFLA and the parade grand marshal. There's also a special speaker for the night. Enjoy dinner and stay for the dancing and fun. This is a formal attire event.

The Lilac Marketplace

On Saturday, May 18 beginning at 11 on Howard Street off of Spokane Falls Boulevard. Come out and shop the festival's local vendor booths and enjoy several different items from local companies around the community.

Cruzin' the Falls Car Show

The Car Show is on May 18th beginning at 9 AM on Spokane Falls Boulevard in downtown. Take a stroll down the street and check out all of the amazing cars on display from old classics to new impressive collector cars.


Brewfest is on May 18th. The VIP event starts at noon and is open to the general public at 1 PM in Riverfront Park. VIP admission is $50 and general admission is $35 online before May 17 or $40 at the event. Enjoy tastings of over 30 spoken and Pacific Northwest area breweries along with live music extra food vendors and more. The space is a 21 and older-only area.

The Armed Forces Torchlight Parade

This is the main event of the Lilac Festival. It takes place on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 PM. Enjoy seeing many armed forces units from around the region, school marching bands, local clubs, the festival royalty, and more wind through the streets of downtown Spokane. There will be many vendors set up along the parade route as well to enjoy great food and fun treats.

Coming out to Lilac Festival events is a great way to experience Spokane culture. It is a highly anticipated community event every spring in the Lilac City.

For information on living in Spokane please feel free to browse through our blog about real estate and Spokane living or to check out our individual community pages to find more information about neighborhoods and available real estate in those neighborhoods. If you are interested in a particular property or would like to get started on your homebuying adventure I am here to help. Contact me anytime with any greater Spokane area real estate needs.

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