The 20th annual Valleyfest event in Mirabeau Meadows Park this weekend has a few new attractions designed for kids as well as adults. The hot air balloons will be back and a night glow has been added Saturday night. Adults can check out local wines and food at the special “Taste of the Valley” event Saturday night at CenterPlace. And astronomy buffs of all ages can check out the Planetarium at CenterPlace and a stargazing event Saturday night in Mirabeau Meadows Park.
This week has seen a frantic burst of last-minute activity from organizers and volunteers. “The city is going up this week,” said longtime organizer Peggy Doering. “We work all year for this weekend.”
The event kicks off Friday with its usual Hearts of Gold parade down Sprague Avenue at 7 p.m. The parade begins at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave., and heads west to University. By this week 110 entries were signed up, said Doering. “It’s more than last year at this time,” she said.
Early risers can catch the hot air balloon launch at 6:45 a.m. Saturday, followed by pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at CenterPlace. The cost of the meal is $5 for adults and $4 for kids 6 and under. The timed 5K or 10K Run for Hunger begins at 9 a.m. on the Centennial Trail, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. A portion of the $15 entry fee will benefit the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank and World Vision.
Back again this year is the classic car show on Saturday, numerous food and activity booths in the park and fishing at Mirabeau Falls. Fish are brought in specifically for the event, which is one of the most popular, said Doering. Young anglers can even request to take their fish home. Volunteers will pack the fish on ice until people are ready to leave the event.
The children’s stage will boast a full lineup of local acts, including the Angus Scott Pipe Band, Jenks Music, the Northwest Hula Dancers and a Native American dance group. Entertainment scheduled for other stages include the Rawk and BobFest winners, the Inland Northwest Dance Association, the Sammy Eubanks band, Big Red Barn and Six Foot Swing.
New this year is a juried art show for kids. Youth ages 3 to 18 can sign up to create a painting at the festival. Judging will take place after the show and winners will receive free arts classes. The top artwork will be displayed at the Ink to Media Art Gallery during October. The winner will have their work featured in next year’s Valleyfest poster.
Last year’s Loggingfest was a victim of the poor economy and won’t be back, but the Responsible Dog Ownership Day activities on Sunday will be. “We were rained out last year,” said Doering. “These people carried on like there was no rain. People loved it.”
Several local dog clubs are hosting the activities, which include a dog safety course for children and obedience and agility demonstrations. Dogs will be available for adoption and those attending are invited to bring their dogs as long as they have current vaccinations, are well trained and are on a leash.
Sunday’s schedule also includes a 6:45 a.m. hot air balloon launch and a family bike ride on the Centennial Trail beginning at 11 a.m.
As always, there will be no parking available at Mirabeau Meadows Park. The Spokane Transit Authority will again be offering shuttle rides to the park from the Spokane Valley Mall and the Pinecroft Business Park at Mirabeau Parkway and Pines Road. Riders should look for signs that indicate shuttle stops. Shuttles will run every 15 minutes and cost 50 cents for all day.