September 20, 2007 in Voices

Valleyfest rolls back into town

By The Spokesman-Review
 
CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON photo

Dennis and Cathy Johnson eat popcorn and enjoy the Valleyfest parade last year.
(Full-size photo)

What do you get when you cross chain saws with hip-hop dancers, a stocked trout pond and a semitrailer packed with salami samples?

Valleyfest, of course, answers Peggy Doering, orchestrator of Spokane Valley’s largest community festival.

The event will kick off Friday with a 7 p.m. parade down Sprague Avenue, and it won’t shut down until Sunday afternoon with the last ax swing of Logging Fest, a two-day lumberjack and lumberjill chop-a-rama at Mirabeau Point Park.

Valleyfest, which turns 18 this year, usually draws more than 30,000 spectators and is free to the public. Parking spaces are limited, but a free shuttle will run to the festival from Spokane Valley Mall.

“We’ve got Gallo Salame – ‘salami’ with an ‘e,’ ” Doering said. “They have a 40-foot-long semitruck trailer, and it’s 10 or 15 feet wide. The sides fold down, and it becomes the Gallo test kitchen,”

“And they’ve also got Sara Lee. You don’t understand – we’re going national here.”

But the fun doesn’t stop at burling and Italian meat snacks.

Nine acts performing a variety of music, including contemporary American Indian music and Latin jazz, will appear on the Mirabeau Point Park stages. There’s a community in-line skate to the Barker Bridge and back, croquet for senior citizens on the CenterPlace lawn and two nights of outdoor family movies at sundown in Mirabeau Point Park.

Valleyfest got its start in 1990 with a humble two-firetruck parade south down McDonald Road, then over to Terrace View Park. It was a way to bring the community together for a day of children’s games at Terrace View and presentations by nonprofit organizations providing public services to Spokane Valley.

The event became more celebratory as it matured. While more than 120 nonprofit agencies will be on hand this weekend to talk about issues such as clean water and energy conservation, events such as the Saturday and Sunday kids’ “fish-out” at Mirabeau Falls keep families coming back.

Valleyfest now includes a car show that is getting national attention. The show on the Mirabeau Point Park lawn will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“We have been contacted by two companies to be at Valleyfest,” Doering said. “Cruising Magazine and Hotrod Online. I think they are coming to take pictures.”

Music probably is the biggest addition to Valleyfest.

Here’s a list of the performers in order of appearance:

Friday

“WyldStylez, 8 p.m., Comcast Valleyfest Outdoor Cinema Theater.

Comcast, which is bringing a big outdoor movie screen to Mirabeau, is presenting the warmup act before Friday’s movie, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” a spoof of NASCAR. The opening act is a local hip-hop troupe. The movie is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.

Saturday

“Red Wing, 10 a.m., Family Stage.

A traditional fiddle trio with harmonizing vocals, Red Wing specializes in toe-tapping bluegrass and swing music. Members Amanda Ward, Beth Perry and Ashley Ward are joined by Amy Muhs on upright bass and Heather Ward on acoustic guitar.

“Revolver, 11:30 a.m., Festival Stage.

Right down to its mop tops and faux British accents, this tribute band is all about The Beatles. Before Revolver’s 70-minute show begins, the Inland Northwest Dance Association will get the crowd jumping.

“Big Mumbo Blues Band, 1 p.m., Festival Stage.

This blues crew rakes in the awards every year in Inland Empire Blues Society competitions. Big Mumbo plays electric Chicago-style blues you can dance to. The show is expected to last 70 minutes.

“Milonga, 2:30 p.m., Festival Stage.

This is a Latin rock/jazz band that specializes in dance-party music. Expect constant dancing for 70 minutes.

“Jim Boyd Band, 4 p.m., Festival Stage.

Colville Indian singer/songwriter Jim Boyd has won four Native American Music Awards for Best Songwriter. He has recorded with Bonnie Raitt and Indigo Girls, and his music is included in several motion-picture soundtracks. The show should last 75 minutes.

“Dick Frost Magic Show, 4 p.m., Family Stage.

If you need a break from the crowd, check out Frost’s magic show. Although he is scheduled for the Family Stage, Frost likes to wander. His magic could occur anywhere.

“Bloodline, 5:45 p.m., Festival Stage.

An eight-piece rock ‘n’ roll band featuring five members of the musical Kinch family, Bloodline covers four decades of American music. An REO Speedwagon cover isn’t out of the question, but neither is Avril Lavigne or Kelly Clarkson. The band’s 90-minute show is expected to be the longest performance of the day.

“Movie, “Happy Feet,” 7:30 p.m., Comcast Valleyfest Outdoor Cinema Theater.

The second of two free movies at Valleyfest will be “Happy Feet,” the computer-animated film about a young penguin’s struggle to be accepted. This show is rated PG for mild peril and rude humor.

Sunday

“Smash Hit Carnival, 2 p.m., Festival Stage.

Smash Hit Carnival pays tribute to a whole jukebox of rock ‘n’ roll greats such as Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones and the Supremes. This is a two-hour show, the grand finale on the main stage.

“2 Weeks Notice, 4 p.m., Festival Stage.

Youth fiddlers from Spokane Valley will put on a show that grows as it goes. Three teens start the show, and more players take the stage as the music continues. They’ll keep on playing until their elbows wear out.


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