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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010 @ 09:05 PM
posted by: Karen Jean Matsko Hood

This year’s Armed Forces Torchlight Parade theme was “Freedom is Not Free.” More than 150,000 people crammed the streets of Downtown Spokane yesterday evening to enjoy perfect weather and the parade.  There were more than 200 groups, including floats, bands and princesses that marched in the parade.

The Lilac Festival began as a one-day event in 1938. It was sponsored by the Associated Garden Clubs and the Spokane Floral Association.  This first festival included a lilac show and a small parade.  In the following years, the festival grew to be a week-long event.

No festivals were held in 1943, 1944, or 1945; however, with the end of World War II, some 34 lilac enthusiasts met to discuss the formation of a Lilac Festival Association. The following week the Spokane Lilac Festival Association was officially formed.

Each branch of the service had its own commemorative day.  After the war, on August 31, 1949, the Secretary of Defense declared the third Saturday in May to be Armed Forces Day. Combining the patriotism from the victories in WWII and the partnership of Spokane with Fairchild Air Force Base, the Lilac Festival was knit with Armed Forces Day.

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