Mayfest returns

Resurrected spring festival to create fun in downtown Cheney, help Relay for Life


A group of business owners have teamed up to revive an off-and-on Cheney springtime celebration last held three years ago.

Mayfest 2013 will take place this Saturday, May 11, from 1-9 p.m. in downtown Cheney, with area businesses providing food, drink and fun activities for the entire family. Mayfest began as a celebration at Eastern Washington University the first weekend in May, but was shutdown in the early 1980s. It enjoyed a brief resurgence most recently through the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, which staged the event from 2008-2010.

Mayfest 2013 is spearheaded by many of the local businesses that teamed up to put on Winterfest in January. Just as with that event, Owl Pharmacy’s east parking lot will be closed off, as will F Street between First and Second streets, with vendors lining up on either side of First between F and College Avenue.

As with Winterfest, Mayfest will be serving two purposes, organizer Dorian Byrd said.

“Pretty much all of the proceeds are donated to West Plains Relay for Life,” she said. “It benefits the relay, but also it’s to bring some more life to downtown Cheney.”

Mayfest kicks off at 1 p.m. with a four-and-a-half block walk, .34 miles, through the heart of downtown Cheney to benefit the relay, with registration available at the walk or online at There will also be luminary decorating, which also benefits the local American Cancer Society event.

There will be a number of vendors’ booths with all sorts of wares available. Some of the activities for kids include Cheney Library personnel reading stories from 1-6 p.m. at Owl, and a “Flower” sack race from 4-5 p.m.

There will be an indoor scavenger hunt at the Cheney Museum from 1-6 p.m. as well as live spoken word performances, “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot,” and live visual art creating for a Mayfest Roaming Art Show, with artwork to be rotated for display at local businesses throughout May, Byrd said.

Seven different musical acts from Eastern Washington University and Cheney High School will perform throughout the day and evening, as well as periodic performances by members of Cheney’s Jazzercise.

For those who develop a thirst, there will be beer gardens at The Mason Jar, Eagles Pub and Zentropa on the corner of College and Second. There will also be plenty of sources of non-alcoholic drinks, including free Italian Sodas at Against the Grain.

If you get hungry, there will be plenty of options within walking distance and one in which you won’t have do much walking at all. Byrd said they are providing a “Food Valet,” with menus from local eateries posted and the orders phoned in and delivered to the event.

“Most are within walking distance,” she said.

Byrd said many local businesses are involved and have been supportive. The organizers envisioned the possibility of holding something like Mayfest back in January during the run up to Winterfest, and were encouraged by business and community support for that event.

“The response was great,” Byrd said. “We did that (Winterfest) really quickly. We’ve put more time into this (Mayfest).”

John McCallum can be reached at


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