POST FALLS - Meghan McLeod sat with a friend at a picnic table in Q'emiln Park, enjoying frosty ice cream to counter Saturday's scorching temperatures. The Post Falls Festival was vibrant and musical around her, and the smell of barbecue wafted through the air as she kept cool in the shade.
"I think it's fun for the whole community to get together and do something," said Meghan, 16, of Post Falls.
Meghan said she has been going to the Post Falls Festival for about four years. The annual event has been celebrated for more than 30 years, according to David Fair, director of the Post Falls Parks and Recreation Department.
"I think what I like about this is it brings the community together. There's something for everybody," said Fair, of Post Falls. "And you can't beat this setting. This is what sets us apart from the rest, to have a festival right here on the river, with trees. People seem happy."
The beach along the Spokane River was speckled with swimmers and tanners and the park was full of families and people coming and going as they wandered around the dozens of food and craft vendors and two music stages. Art, jewelry, clothing, toys, face painting and a multitude of unique items and services were available.
Leah Moore of Sandpoint sold "re-purposed, slumped bottles" in the Windward Gift Shop booth. Flattened bottles turned into kitchen glassware and hand-painted bottles tipped upside-down to serve as hummingbird feeders dangled from strings, catching the sunlight and curiosity of passersby.
"I think a lot of people see this as a really unique way to recycle," Moore said. "I don't think it's something that a lot of people have seen before, because their reactions are varied, but a lot of people are excited about it."
The Post Falls Festival is a collaborative effort between the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce and the Post Falls Parks and Recreation Department.
This was the 25th and final year for Post Falls resident Kerri Thoreson to serve as the director of the parade, which took place Saturday morning, and it was the first year the weekend-long celebration featured a movie in the park and lawnmower races. Recreation supervisor Traci Stevenson of Hayden said both new events were a "smashing success," attracting about 500 people to each.
"We had a 40-foot inflatable screen and the whole entire grass area was packed," she said. "It was great."
The Post Falls Festival continues at 10:30 a.m. today with a community worship service in the Post Falls City Hall Plaza (bring a chair) and vendors and attractions in Q'emiln Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.