Arts & Entertainment

Spokane the place to feast on music, food

With 55 free concerts in six days, 42 food booths and three adult beverage gardens, there's plenty to enjoy at Spokane's Pig Out in the Park Festival.

The festival at Riverfront Park is turning 30, and creator Bill Burke is thrilled. "We control the prices so it's a great deal for families," he said. "For $20 you can have a really fun time. The whole idea was to make it really family friendly, really inexpensive, really acceptable and have really great entertainment."

While the event is great for locals, it also attracts people from far and wide.

"We have people who come from Florida, Utah and California," Burke said. "So they come from all over. Big sound, big lights and it's free. We get really friendly audiences."

The festival won the 2009 Pacific NW Inlander Readers Poll for best outdoor musical festival and best free public festival event.

Burke met Val Workman in 1978 through their love of local music. They worked together to create Pig Out in the Park and Workman later created the Six Bridges Art Association in 1995 to help sponsor the event."Our mission is to promote family entertainment and performing arts for free to the public," Workman said. "We go out and raise money and help support the event and help underwrite some of the costs for music for Pig Out."

The festival used to last three days.

"As we've grown, we've taken more area of the park," Burke said. "Our nighttime shows have become so popular, we had to locate stages towards the interior of the park. We don't want them in the streets."

Some musical highlights include Willie Nelson's son Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real, The Tubes featuring Fee Waybill, Cracker, The Iguanas, Austin Lounge Lizards and more.

But don't forget the food. More than 225 menu items will be available with nothing costing more than $8.95. Just a few of the eclectic vendors are Baja Southwestern Grille, Dim Sum Wok, Euro Gyro, Fiesta Time Foods, Pizza Rita and Taste of India.

"We live in a value-conscience community," Workman said. "So when a family can enjoy live entertainment with national quality, for free, they really appreciate it. That's very gratifying.

"I think everyone should come to Pig Out in the Park at least once. The nice thing about it, by adding the extra days to it, it's not as crowded, so you can come on a Wednesday or Thursday, and still enjoy the event and miss that weekend crowd, where it does get pretty popular."

Pig Out in the Park takes place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 2-7. For more information, go to spokanepigout.com.

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