By Sherry Jones
For starters, it’s pronounced, “POR-sha.”
“That’s kind of like the secret handshake,” says Ron Gordon, chair of the Porsche Club of America’s (PCA) 62nd Annual Porsche Parade, July 9-15 in Spokane, Washington. “When you hear ‘Porsh’ ”— without the final syllable —“you know it’s not typically somebody who’s familiar with the brand.”
It’s unlikely that you’ll hear that mistake from any of the 2,500 people expected to attend this year’s Porsche Parade.
Just as “Porsche” is more than one syllable, the Porsche Parade is more than a single event, a single parade. In fact, it’s a weeklong celebration with several events open to the public, in addition to those exclusive to PCA registered attendees.
All the Porsche Parade events showcase the automobile brand that represents the best in luxury and sport. Porsche is “a ‘drive for your life car’ that serves up impeccable performance with a German pedigree,” according to Business Insider.
For those of us Porsche-less members of the public, there’ll be chances throughout the week to gawk from the sidelines at the spectacle of perfectly detailed Porsches, both classic and new, showing off their beauty, speed, and handling.
Events Open to the Public
Concours d’Elegance, Monday, July 10, 9am-4pm, Riverfront Park: In this event, the “crown jewel of the parade,” according to Gordon, more than 125 cars will be on public view throughout the day in the park meadows. Judges will score them in each class, and first-place winners will accept trophies in a 2pm ceremony.
Autocross, Wednesday and Thursday, July 12-13, 9am-4pm, Northern Quest Casino parking lots: Watch as cars maneuver along a course of cones in this popular event that shows off drivers’ skills and the Porsche’s superior handling. Winners are determined by the fastest elapsed time; they typically complete the course in 40 to 50 seconds, but judges add time for each cone touched along the way. Gordon says the competition tests drivers’ “ability to really use their car in the manner for which it was designed: in a controlled environment.”
Parade of Porsches, Saturday, July 15, 1-3pm More than 300 Porsches will fill the streets of Spokane, starting at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center and heading downtown in a 13-mile stream of shine, design, and power. The parade ends near The Historic Davenport Hotel at Post Street and Sprague Avenue. Bring your camera!
PCA Members Only Events & Chance Encounters
The Porsche Parade is an automobile-lover’s feast. From the Sunday night welcome party to the Saturday night Victory Banquet (both in the Spokane Convention Center), the Porsche Parade offers opportunities for registered attendees (PCA members) to show their wheels, rev their motors, as well as boast, argue, and sound off on all aspects of the car. For instance, which is superior: the iconic air-cooled 911 model or the new water-cooled version?
Those who miss the public events may get a glimpse of a Porsche or two during the week. Several events will send attendees and their cars around the region.
Tuesday’s TDS (Time-Distance-Speed) Rally challenges drivers to think quickly (maintaining legal speed limits) on a complicated, two-to-three-hour route without GPS. And the Gimmick Rally on Thursday takes participants all the way to Wallace, Idaho in a daylong treasure hunt.
Porsche experts are fanatical about the car and, says Gordon, about one another. Hence the Porsche Club of America’s slogan: “It’s not just the cars, it’s the people.”
The heart of the event is the camaraderie Porsche Club members enjoy, Gordon says. Opportunities abound for socializing at exclusive, members-only banquets, an ice-cream social, catered cruises, art and wine at Pinot’s Palette, wine tours and a tasting at Barrister Winery, a Black Label Brewing Company/Dry Fly Distilling tour, tours of greater Spokane, children’s events, and more.
“The Porsche Parade is our annual meet,” says Gordon; this year’s Parade will be the 25th for him and his spouse. “Some of our dearest friends are people we’ve met over the years at Parade.”
Organizers try to make attendance as easy as possible for the 120,261 far-flung Porsche Club of America members, so they stage the event in a different region of the country each year. The first Porsche Parade in 1955 was in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Last year’s Parade was in Vermont. Next year’s is set for Osage Beach, Missouri.
“Obviously, we have members who live internationally. There are Porsches all through the world, an astounding number,” Gordon says. Some 70 percent of all Porsches ever sold are still running, he adds. This is a testament both to Porsche engineering and to the passion and dedication of PCA, the “largest single-mark car club in the US.”
“Once you get hooked on PCA,” he says, “you’re not going to leave.”
The Porsche Club of America’s 62nd annual Porsche Parade takes place Sunday, July 9 through Saturday, July 15 in Spokane, Washington. Get detailed information including a complete schedule of events here.
The Inland Northwest chapter of the PCA covers northern Idaho and eastern Washington.
Sherry Jones is a freelance writer living in Spokane, Washington.