One might think that pitching a proposed “Winterfest” in Spokane Valley could get a chilly reception, considering that several inches of the white stuff sit on the ground as mid-March approaches.
But the proposal sparked enthusiasm for more study from the Spokane Valley City Council on Tuesday night.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Council Member Brandi Peetz.
Sam Song and Charity Doyl told the council they conceived the event to be similar to that of the Chinese Lantern Festival that had been held in Riverfront Park a few years ago. Displays and activities would be located at Mirabeau Meadows during the months of November and December at a time when the park is minimally in use.
“During that time, there are not a whole lot of events here,” Song noted.
Song said he envisioned a large Christmas tree in the center of the park, which would be ringed with holiday displays and other lighted attractions. There would also be a maze.
Song added that an entrance fee – likely around $15 – would be necessary to cover costs.
Construction and the festival itself, dubbed Northwest Winterfest, would mean that Mirabeau Meadows would not be available to the public from the end of October to the end of December should it receive approval for 2019.
Mike Stone, city director of parks and recreation, said there would have to be several logistics worked out – including parking. While undeveloped property to the west of the park has been made available for events like Valleyfest in September, the land might not be ideal in snowy wintertime.
A shuttle service from the Spokane Valley Mall – which will be busy itself with holiday shoppers -- could be a possibility, Stone said.
“I see a tremendous upside here,” said Mayor Rod Higgins.
The council consensus to move forward means the city manager to work further with Northwest Winterfest to execute a contract and work further on the idea.