Get ready for Valleyfest
Hot air balloons, dog events added to annual event
Valleyfest is going to the dogs this year. The 19th annual event fills Mirabeau Point Park for three days the third weekend of September, and this year organizers will add a day of dog activities hosted by the Spokane Kennel Club.
Dogs can attend training clinics and their owners can see K-9 demonstrations on Sept. 21. The dog show will be taking over the space vacated by the car show set for Saturday. “Sunday the cars are gone, and we’re bringing in the dogs,” said Valleyfest organizer Peggy Doering. “They can bring their dogs, if they’re leashed, and they behave.”
Area animal shelters will have a steady stream of dogs available for adoption all day.
The other major addition to this year’s event is a hot air balloon show called Balloons over Valleyfest. Between five and nine balloons are expected and will take off from Liberty Lake or Mirabeau Park at 6:30 a.m. Sept. 20 and 21, weather permitting. Rides will not be given to the public.
Balloons traditionally fly in the two hours after sunrise or the two hours before sunset, said balloon organizer Stephanie Hughes. “That’s when the winds are the best,” Hughes said.
Balloons cannot fly if winds are higher than 8 miles per hour, which may affect plans for the balloon show. Organizers also need a special waiver to allow the balloons to fly lower than 1,000 feet over an urban area so the balloon pilots can have a competition that calls for dropping small bags of rice on a target. That typically means balloons have to fly at about 100 feet, creating quite a show for spectators. “You have to be fairly close to the target,” Hughes said.
The balloon show may also include afternoon flights or a night glow if sponsors and interested pilots are found and the weather cooperates.
Organizers are still looking for sponsors for several other activities, including the traditional free STA shuttle that picks riders up at the Valley Mall and other locations and ferries them to Mirabeau Park. A parade sponsor is still needed as well. “We are growing,” Doering said. “Growth needs sponsorships. That money goes back into the community and back into the event.”
The three day event costs about $120,000 to put on and is run by volunteers.
All the traditional events are returning, including the Loggingfest, pancake breakfast, car show, fishing, a fun run, live entertainment and vendors. “I’m kind of running out of real estate,” Doering said. “I’ve got a lot going on.”
Attendance at the festival, which started as a small, one-day event in Terrace View Park, also continues to grow. “I had to double the amount of port-a-potties,” she said.
Organizers are still looking for volunteers to help out with everything from parking to serving pancakes. Call 922-3299 to sign up.