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Planetarium joins Valleyfest

Crowds mill around food and merchandise booths at Valleyfest  2008 at Mirabeau Park. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Crowds mill around food and merchandise booths at Valleyfest 2008 at Mirabeau Park. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Some new offerings planned at annual event

The 20th incarnation of Valleyfest in September will have a few things added and a few things taken away, in some cases because of the faltering economy.

“Valleyfest is going forward, but it has had some impact on us,” said event organizer Peggy Doering. The event is largely funded by corporate sponsors and donations.

The annual community event, set for Sept. 25-27, will be a little bit more spread out this year. Some events will migrate from Mirabeau Point Park to CenterPlace because the park is always bursting at the seams, Doering said.

First, as always, is the annual parade at 7 p.m. Friday on Sprague Avenue between University and Pines. On Saturday events include a fun run, pancake breakfast at CenterPlace, children’s activities and lots of live music and entertainment.

The classic car show will be moved to a grassy area by CenterPlace. “We felt they needed more space,” Doering said.

New this year is a planetarium inside CenterPlace run by the Palouse Discovery Science Center in honor of the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope. The Spokane Astronomical Society will hold a star gazing event Saturday night in the park. There will be an outside patio party at CenterPlace Saturday afternoon with live music, beer, wine and food.

Also new is the Taste of the Valley event at CenterPlace Saturday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The only ticketed event of the weekend, it includes wine tasting of local wines and catered food. The cost is $30 and people are asked to buy tickets in advance.

There won’t be an art auction as part of Valleyfest this year because the event grew too big, Doering said. There will be art in the park and a juried art show for children. The hot air balloons introduced last year will be back, with the addition of a night glow Saturday, weather permitting.

What won’t be back is the two-day Loggingfest. Local mills have been hit hard financially, Doering said. “It just wasn’t feasible this year.”

The Spokane Transit Authority will once again be offering shuttle service from the Valley Mall and the parking lot at Mirabeau Parkway and Pines, but the service is no longer free due to a new federal rule, Doering said. People will have to pay 50 cents for all-day service.

“What I did in the past was I found a sponsor for the buses and they paid for the buses,” she said. “They can’t do it anymore.”