Last Friday and Saturday, the 22nd annual National Lentil Festival kicked off to a fanfare of families, fun and lots of legumes. The festival included live performances by the ColdRail Blues Band and the Whiskey River Band, a parade featuring local businesses, organizations and WSU athletes as well as the reigning crowd favorite: a giant vat of free lentil chili.
Pullman families and WSU students alike enjoyed both days of festivities. Corey Nelson, a former Pullman native who relocated with his family to the Seattle area several years ago, returned for a visit to his old hometown before attending college in Oregon.
“It’s great to see the festival again after so many years,” Nelson said. “It’s a festival that’s important to a lot of people, and I’m glad that it’s still so popular after so many years.”
Nelson went on to say that his memories of his participation in the Lentil Festival parade so many years ago was one of his strongest.
“I was the boy scout who got to hold the sign at the beginning of our troop,” he said. “I remember wishing that I could drive all of the awesome old cars instead.”
Nelson’s brother Ryan Nelson matched his brother’s enthusiasm for attending festival.
“It’s fun and I get to eat candy,” Ryan said. “It’s funny to see people dressed up as lentils.”
James Cockburn, a senior pre-law student at WSU from Sequim, said the festival made him nostalgic for home.
“The entire festival reminds me of Sequim’s irrigation festival,” Cockburn said. “It seems like a great community event.”
Cockburn noted that one of the best things about the festival is how laid-back and free flowing the environment is.
“I mostly walked around and checked out all of the booths. I saw a lot of friends there,” he said. “It’s a great way to spend one of the last summer afternoons before classes start.”