Changing times for Post Falls event

Four-day festival begins new format tonight

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POST FALLS - Post Falls' largest community event of the year has had a makeover.

The Post Falls Festival, formerly called Post Falls Days, begins its four-day run starting tonight.

The name, dates, switching the carnival from Q'emiln Park to the Trading Co. Store parking lot, new logo and more groups bringing their own activities to the table are among several changes to the event.

"It's a whole new ball game," said Dave Fair, Post Falls parks and recreation director. "It's like we're starting over."

However, some of the core activities - including the parade on Seltice Way on Saturday at 11 a.m., the food and craft vendors, music and beer garden at Q'emiln Park Friday through Sunday and the open house of the fire station on Idaho Street from 1-3 p.m. Saturday - remain.

The reason the dates were changed from early June to this weekend was the weather.

"Historically, we've had poor weather (in early June)," Fair said. "And we're not talking about just a little rain - downpours with flooding."

Fair said after the date was changed the carnival firm originally said it didn't have this weekend available, so the city began to make plans at the park without the carnival. However, the carnival firm later said it could come, so the city connected it with the Post Falls Senior Center, which will benefit from the carnival fundraiser.

Fair said the city has heard a lot of comments both ways about the carnival moving away from the park's activities to the grocery store.

"A lot of people felt the carnival was a part of the festival and others felt it detracted from the event," Fair said. "Personally, I kind of like the noise and lights, but change happens, we'll adapt and see how it affects all of us."

The City Council earlier bantered whether the city should continue to staff and organize the activities at the park. The city has historically at least broke even on covering its hard costs such as organizing the event, but it hasn't made enough to cover the $14,000 in soft costs to staff the event.

Some believe supporting the community event should be held by private groups or nonprofits and not the government. Fair said that, while the city spoke to some groups about the possibility of taking it over, none stepped forward.

"But we've picked up partners to do different pieces," said Fair, adding that the city will be involved for at least another year because the event is included in the upcoming budget.

The parade is organized by Kerri Thoreson and her team of volunteers.

New activities rolled into this year's event include:

* a Retro Night car show, including entertainment and beverages, held at and by the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce tonight from 5:30-7:30 p.m.;

* a barbecue with music at Red Lion Templin's Hotel tonight at 6 p.m.;

* the Post Falls Market at the City Hall Plaza tonight from 4-7 p.m.;

* a "human hamster" ball at Q'emiln Park;

* the Jordan Johnson Boys and Girls Club fun run at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday;

* a car show and vendor fair at Calvary Lutheran Church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday;

* the River City Jam skateboard contest at the park on Greensferry Road on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and

* a community worship at City Hall Plaza at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Fair said the beach at Q'emiln Park will be open during the event, but the boat launch will be closed.

"(The closure) will upset some people, but we're talking one weekend out of the year," Fair said. "This is a celebration of Post Falls. It's about our citizens and community."

There will be free parking at the park for the festival, but that will go quickly, Fair said.

A free shuttle bus will leave every 20 minutes from Templin's, City Hall, Black Bay Park and Trading Co. Store from after the parade ends on Saturday to 6 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. It will not operate on Friday.

Post Falls Festival highlights

The event starts tonight with a vendor market at City Hall from 4-7 p.m. and a car show and entertainment at the Chamber of Commerce from 5:30-8 p.m. The parade on Seltice Way is on Saturday at 11 a.m. There will be vendors and music at Q'emiln Park from 2-8 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The carnival at Trading Co. Store opens at 6 tonight, 2 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday. (The art show at the Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center originally slated for tonight and the beach volleyball tournament at the park on Saturday have been canceled.) A complete schedule of events is available at City Hall, and was published in Tuesday's Press.

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