This year’s Valleyfest celebration goes down in the book as a success for organizer Peggy Doering.
Attendance seemed to be up significantly at both the Friday night parade and the two-day event in Mirabeau Park, she said. It’s estimated that 13,000 people attended the parade last year and Doering thinks the crowd may have hit 20,000 this year. “There were huge amounts of people,” she said. “We had more parade entries and larger entries in the parade.”
There are no estimates yet for attendance at the park, but Doering said that ridership on the STA shuttles remained steady even though there was a 50 cent per day charge this year. “They observed a lot more people using the Centennial Trail to walk over,” she said. “Last year we had some weather issues and this year we didn’t.”
Even though the event didn’t get rained out this year, there were still some weather-related problems. The hot air balloons were grounded on Saturday, when there was supposed to be a sunrise launch and a night glow. “On Saturday wind was a factor,” Doering said. “Hot air balloons are very weather-dependent.”
More people showed up for the pancake breakfast and more signed up for the fun run. The number of cars in the car show was up. About the only thing that didn’t go as well as Doering hoped was the new Taste of the Valley event with local caterers and wineries. It was a ticketed event. “We didn’t sell as many tickets as we had hoped to,” she said. “We thought it was something to develop for next year.”
And it’s never too soon to think about next year. Doering is already making plans to move the breakfast to a larger room and making other tweaks to make things go more smoothly. She’s also looking forward to incorporating the new Universal Playground the city is building into next year’s activities. It will tie in nicely with the theme of diversity. “It’ll be really cool to have that beautiful playground built,” she said.