Festive air: Hot air balloons lift off from CenterPlace Event Center at dawn in 2011 as part of Balloons Over Valleyfest. A balloon named “Spuds,” operated by Stephanie Hughes, of Spokane, is being filled as another lifts off toward the east. SR file photo
Wait no more, Valleyfest is here. The annual festival has been steadily growing and this year is no different. Today's main event is the Hearts of Gold parade down Sprague Avenue at 7:30 p.m. This, of course, means Sprague Avenue will be shut down. The section between University and Bowdish will close at 5:45 p.m. so the floats and marching bands can line up. The section of Sprague between Pines and Bowdish will shut down at 7 p.m. The parade will start around Gillis Road and head east. Go early to get prime seats.
Saturday's events start with the 6:35 a.m. launch of hot air balloons from the CenterPlace west lawn (2426 N. Discovery Place). Next up is the pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at CenterPlace. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-6 and free for kids 2 and under. The main festivities in Mirabeau Park start at 10 a.m. I'd be here all day if I listed every event happening, so I'll just hit the highlights. There will be vendors, food, a car show, live entertainment, Babyfest, fishing at the falls, a walk to benefit Down Syndrome and lots more.
Sunday's events include Responsible Dog Ownership Day, a walk and bike ride on the Centennial Trail and more live entertainment. The full schedule is available at www.valleyfest.org.
If you are wondering where to park, there will be an STA shuttle running from parking lots at the Spokane Valley Mall and the Pinecroft Business Park at Mirabeau Parkway and Pines Road for 75 cents. Look for the special Valleyfest shuttle signs. The buses will stop at CenterPlace and Mirabeau Park.