Armed Forces Torch Light Parade

The Armed Forces Torch Light Parade (also known as the Spokane Lilac Parade and Lilac Festival Parade) will be held Sunday evening in downtown Spokane.

The parade is always a lot of fun. A list of the nearly 200 parade units and the order they appear in is here (PDF).

I am amazed by the number of high school marching bands that take part, which leads to an economic observation.

In recent years, around 46 to 50 high school bands took park. But this year, there are only 36, plus the winner of the Junior Lilac Parade’s middle school marching band (and of course, the 141st Air National Guard Band of the Northwest.)  Schools across the state had to cut their transportation budgets-or parent fund raising groups were unable to raise the funds to bus their bands and auxiliary units to Spokane.

Only one high school from the west side is represented this year, and traditional bands like Wenatchee High School and others had to skip this year. We are also missing traditional floats such as the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival, and some community floats that I have seen in the past from B.C., plus local states. (I can’t find them in the parade line up sheet – perhaps they changed their name?)

The one high school from the west side – Klahowya High School of Silverdale, Wa – deserves special recognition because, unknown to most, they will march in an Armed Forces Day Parade in Bremerton, board buses, cross Puget Sound by ferry, then drive all the way to Spokane to march that same evening in our parade!

This is an odd economic data point and it is not measuring Spokane but the wider region. Separately, there’s a unique equine disease issue with the horse units this year that has, that had most horse units dropping out (see KHQ report) – but this has nothing to do with the economy!

Hope you can make it out to the parade – it is always a lot of fun.

Afterword – the Parade was great, as always. The rain held off until it started to sprinkle at 11 pm, as the last of the parade units finished up. Great job by the Lilac Festival organizers and volunteers! I had a lot of fun and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves!

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