The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

For first time in 34 years, National Lentil Festival returns for one day only

Festival opens 1 p.m. Aug. 19 at Reaney Park, ends 10 p.m.
Butch T. Cougar and WSU cheerleaders performing at a past National Lentil Festival Grand Parade.

Pullman’s annual National Lentil Festival is returning for one day instead of two this year with a parade, vendors, live music and many other staple festival programs in celebration of Washington-grown lentils. These programs include classic activities like the 3-on-3 Hoop Classic basketball tournament and the Tase T. Lentil 5K Fun Run.

The festival begins at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 19 with the Tase T. Lentil 5K Fun Run and ends at 10 p.m. following a performance by band Eclectic Approach at 8:20 p.m. 

“In the 34 years of Lentil Fest, it has morphed and changed several times so this is the first time that we’ve had changes,” said Marie Dymkoski, Pullman Chamber of Commerce executive director. “However I would say that this year seems more like a hearkening back to early days of Lentil Festival where we did only do it in one day a long time ago.”

Historically the festival was held for two days on a Friday and Saturday, with Friday being the festival’s “kick start,” Dymkoski said. Friday typically featured a beer garden, live music and the World’s Largest Lentil Chili Bowl. Saturday continued the festival with festival classics like the Grand Parade hosted by the Washington State Employees Credit Union.

However, the festival is now only happening for one day due to construction originally scheduled in downtown Pullman, said Jessica Duren, Pullman Chamber of Commerce 2023 Lentil Festival director. The plan was to shorten the festival to avoid any obstacles with construction in downtown Pullman, where the Grand Parade is typically held. However, since then, the construction has been postponed.

“Once the construction was postponed at that point, we were far too developed in the process at that point to change anything,” Duren said.

Despite the change in days, the festival activities will remain the same, Dymkoski said. All of the Friday activities will instead be shifted into the Saturday schedule.

The following is the schedule for this year’s festival:

  • 7:30 a.m.: Tase T. Lentil 5K Fun Run at Pullman Depot Heritage Center parking lot
  • 8 a.m.: Circles of Caring Tennis and Pickleball Tournament at WSU Outdoor Tennis Courts
  • 9 a.m.: 3-on-3 Hoop Classic basketball tournament at Spring Street parking lot
  • 9 a.m.: Co-ed Softball Tournament at City Playfield
  • 12 p.m.: Grand Parade on Main Street
  • 1 p.m.: Festival opens at Reaney Park
  • 1:30 p.m.: Walk of Fame announcement at Delivery Pullman
  • 2 p.m.: Jerry Lee Raines performance at Reaney Park
  • 2 p.m.: Lentil Q-and-A panel at Delivery Pullman
  • 3 p.m.: Lil’ Lentils coronation at Delivery Pullman
  • 3:20 p.m.: James Redfern performance at Reaney Park
  • 4:55 p.m.: Cody Beebe and the Crooks performance at Reaney Park
  • 5 p.m.: Free chili at the World’s Largest Bowl of Chili
  • 6:10 p.m.: Sports awards at Delivery Pullman
  • 6:30 p.m.: Jerry Lee and the Groove performance at Reaney Park
  • 8:20 p.m.: Eclectic Approach performance at Reaney Park
  • 10 p.m.: Festival ends

Festival participants and attendees can register for the parade and sporting events on the festival’s website. Pullman Parks and Recreation Department and Gritman Medical Center planned and sponsored the Fun Run, basketball tournament and softball tournament sporting events.

Lentil chili made of Palouse-brand lentils will be served for free starting at 5 p.m. at the World’s Largest Chili Bowl. The chili is prepared with around 400 pounds of lentils from WSU, Duren said. Emmanuel Baptist Church will provide the silverware for the chili.

There will also be food vendors on Lentil Lane and about 40 Marketplace agriculture, art, clothing, food and real estate vendors at Reaney Park, Duren said. Thirty-five additional non-profit vendors consisting of WSU, Pullman, faith and political organizations will also participate in the festival.

This year’s beer garden sponsors are Paradise Creek Brewery, Another Round Brewery Co., Laht Neppur Brewing Co., Moscow Brewing Company, Liberty Ciderworks and Merry Cellars.

The live music this year consists of Eastern Washington musicians Jerry Lee Raines, James Redfern, Code Beebe and the Crooks, Jerry Lee and the Groove and Eclectic Approach. The musicians will be performing in Reaney Park on the main stage, which is sponsored by Hometown Chevy.

The following is the schedule for Lentil Land, the festival’s designated children’s area:

  • 1–7 p.m.: Amazama Circus School; Schweitzer Engineering Labs science tent; coloring and bubble crafts; and a bounce house
  • 1–5 p.m.: Raptor Club
  • 1–3 p.m.: Mascot photo opportunities
  • 1:30–6:30 p.m.: Fish Kiss face art
  • 7 p.m.: Lentil Land closes

Downtown Vibes: Lentil Fest Friday, the Downtown Pullman Association’s “kick-off” event for the festival, will be from 3–9 p.m. Aug. 18, Dymkoski said. Sponsored by Ziply Fiber, Downtown Vibes features live music, deals from Pullman businesses, a scavenger hunt downtown and other local activities.

“I just really want to encourage folks to come and see what their community is about and this is a good opportunity to kind of get a taste, literal and otherwise figuratively of what the community is like,” Dymkoski said.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
NIKHIL GANTA, Evergreen reporter