Check Out Julyamsh -- From July 23-25, Post Falls will be reverberating with the energetic rhythms of the largest outdoor Powwow in the Northwest: Julyamsh. Held at the Coeur d'Alene Greyhound Park and hosted by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, the Powwow brings dozens of tribes together to celebrate their Native American heritage, compete in dance and drum contests, sell wares, network and meet new friends.
"It goes back a long way," says Bob Boswick, public relations director for the Coeur d'Alene Resort and Casino. "All of the spectacular sites along the [Spokane] river are age-old gathering places. People got together from vastly different places. In any culture, no matter how ancient, those traditions exist."
Maybe that's why Julyamsh attracts so many non-native onlookers. People of all cultural backgrounds set up chairs and blankets to watch the brilliantly costumed dancers, festooned in what are often hand-woven and beaded attire. As people move through rows of booths displaying beaded wares, leather work, woven baskets, blankets, saddles, silver and hand-painted wooden d & eacute;cor, a beat permeates the air; the powerful drumming becomes so steady that people breathe to it. This is matched with the undulating pitches of traditional song and the bells on the dancers' skirts, working out flighty patterns from within those steady base notes.
"It's like an offering of the great gift of tribal culture. We're proud those traditions are still alive," says Boswick. "It's a powerful opportunity of Indian country to share that portion of their treasure with the rest of the world."
Get Down with Disc Golf -- It's golf minus the clubs, balls and motorized carts. For that matter, you can subtract the caddies, the vast expanses of fertilized grass and the costly entry fee too. Instead, substitute in place of all those things a few flying discs, some standing metal baskets, forested courses, large groups of outgoing folks and a vastly diverse crowd compared to what you'd see on many golf courses. That's when you know you've made the transition from regular old golf to disc golf, a game that's taken the recreationalist and alternative crowds by storm lately.
"It's gaining popularity algebraically," says Gordy Crafts, course designer for Downriver, one of Spokane's disc golf courses. Established back in the '70s, disc golf is a casual sport that everyone can play. There are professional disc golfers, it's true, but the sport is known more for being more social than competitive. Beginners can play with experts, parents with their kids. And one of the best things about disc golf: It's free.
"The mission of the Spokane Disc Golf Association (SDGA) is to continue to provide free admission, stewardship and maintenance of the course in order to benefit the public," Craft says. Visit www.spokaneoutdoors.com/drdiscgolf.htm for directions to courses, contacts and equipment information, or www.discgolf.com for general information.
Oooh and Aaah -- The Fourth of July is on a Sunday this year, but that won't stop people from getting up early for all the parades, festivals and picnics, nor will it keep people from staying out late for the parties and fireworks shows. Whether you're patriotic, drunk, love explosions or all of the above, the Fourth usually has something for everyone. The Neighbor Day 2004 and Independence Day celebration at Riverfront Park always brings thousands of Inland Northwest residents into the city center for music, food, games, prizes and an amazing display of fireworks. The Lake City, too, is known for its jam-packed day of outdoor events on the Fourth. You can view the fireworks over the lake from a blanket or a boat. The West Coast River Queen will host a river cruise from the Red Lion in Post Falls. Harrison, Idaho, will also have river cruises available for its fireworks display, and Curlew, Wash., will celebrate with a boat parades and fireworks as well. Other happenings include the Laclede Family Day in Laclede, Idaho; the Kalispell Tribe fireworks show in Usk, Wash; a Fourth of July Celebration in Pullman, Wash.; a County Fair and fireworks show in Silver Valley, Idaho; the Americana Celebration in Liberty Lake's Pavillion Park; a vibrant party out in Soap Lake, Wash.; festivities in Clark Fork, Idaho; much ado in Grand Coulee, Wash.; fireworks in West Bonner County Park in Priest River, Idaho; and of course, lots of reveling in Sandpoint, at both the City Beach and the Boundary County Fairgrounds.
Fireworks shows begin at dark; for more information about daytime events, visit city and town Web sites or call your local Chamber of Commerce.
Join the Bikers -- Wild nights are calling, and there's no better way to heed that call than to hook up with one of the many Inland Northwest biker organizations. From Harleys to three-wheelers, from Christian to whiskey-worshipping, there's no shortage of good biker clubs in the region and no reason not to take part in some of the plans. A sampling of some local biker fun has to include "Thunder Thursdays," put on by PAC Riders Northwest, the Hot Rod Caf & eacute; and Graffiti Sound Solutions.
"There's live music, the bar's outside here [at Hot Rod Caf & eacute;] and last Thursday though it was only our third one, there were over 500 people," says Jayden Keys, Hot Rod food and beverage manager. "Thunder Thursdays" includes games, local bands, dancing and prizes. It's a buck per bike, and everyone's welcome. (Visit www.spokanebiker.com.) On July 11, join in on the Armed Forces Family Support Ride, a benefit for the Family Readiness Groups (FRG) and the Fairchild Family Support Center. Call 483-6441, ext. 108. On July 17-18, it's the third annual Ladies on the Loose ride to Leavenworth; call (208) 457-1150. If you're not up for riding with the crew but still want to feel that motor beneath you, try volunteering at this year's Ironman triathlon in Coeur d'Alene on June 27. You might even find yourself transporting some ESPN news crews around. Contact the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce (208-664-3194) for volunteer status and information.
For a detailed calendar of biker events, rides, times, places and prices this summer, and for more information on different biker organizations in the region, visit spokanebiker.com.