Sen. Mike Padden and his colleagues last week recognized the contributions Spokane’s Lilac Festival has made to the state since the annual community event made its debut in 1938.
The occasion included a bonus for Padden because the visit by this year’s Lilac Festival royalty offered a moment for him to say hello to a 4th Legislative District constituent: Lilac Queen Brett Rountree, a senior at Central Valley High School.
“It’s always nice to see people from back home, but this was a particular pleasure; Queen Rountree clearly is doing a great job of representing not only the Lilac Festival but Spokane Valley,” Padden said.
Also present for the reading and approval of Senate Resolution 8646 were Princesses Katie Heitkemper of Lewis and Clark High School, Devyn Russell of Northwest Christian High School, Michelle Tatko of Ferris High School, Hailey Hyde of Saint George's High School, Emily Staker of Gonzaga Prep, and Savannah Sundseth of Mead High School, accompanied by President Christine Leva and three chaperones.
Padden noted the resolution he and other Spokane-area senators sponsored, which was approved unanimously by the Senate, included a description of the festival’s tradition of volunteerism.
“It’s great that the Senate could recognize the members of the royal court and learn the history of the festival; I was glad to see the volunteer aspect get a moment in the spotlight as well. Between visiting and serving at veterans centers, retirement centers, homeless shelters and area hospitals, including Shriners Hospital for Children; reading at elementary schools; participating in the Salvation Army's Clothe-a-Child program; working at Santa Express to raise funds for the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery; supporting the airmen and airwomen at Fairchild Air Force Base through Operation Cookie Drop; and participating in Make-a-Wish, Bloomsday, and the Associated Garden Club Annual Plant Sale, the Lilac Festival contributes more to our area than many people probably realize.”