September 23, 2012 in City

23rd Valleyfest attracts all types

Alligators, martial arts and babies all in one place
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Picture story: Valleyfest 2012
PHOTOS BY COLIN MULVANY photo

Performers with Isabelle’s Dance Time swing dance on the main stage during Valleyfest.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Map of this story's location
If you go

Today’s Valleyfest schedule

CenterPlace Regional Event Center

6:35 a.m., Hot Air Balloon Launch, weather permitting

Mirabeau Point Park

8:30 a.m., 5k/10K Run for a Cause

10 a.m., Song worship with Barry Lee White

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day

11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Family Stage entertainment/Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom

12 p.m., Centennial Trail Ride, starts at the North Centennial trail head

12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Meadow Festival Stage music and entertainment

Admission is free. For more information, visit www.valleyfest.org

Several indicators give Valleyfest organizers a hint as to how many people visit the annual three-day event.

How much food did vendors sell? How many marched in the parade? How much garbage was emptied from the trash cans? And how many maintenance employees were brought in to clean up after the event?

One promising indicator: Saturday’s pancake breakfast sold out for the first time in years.

But it was too early to tell on the other measures Saturday afternoon as people milled about Mirabeau Point Park and the CenterPlace event center. So far the event, which continues today, has drawn a big crowd, said Executive Director Peggy Doering.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” Doering said. “I think it’s pretty good.”

The 23rd annual Valleyfest included activities attendees look forward to each year: the Hearts of Gold parade, Balloons over Valleyfest, food, art, music and a car show. Billed as the Valley’s biggest event, Valleyfest had a small start, but has grown over the years and includes a number of new attractions this year.

Babyfest, held Saturday, was one of the new attractions, and it drew more people than organizers anticipated.

Organized by area nonprofits Bloom Spokane and Inland NW Baby, Babyfest included prizes and activities for kids, baby-friendly products, educational workshops, giveaways and local resources related to pregnancy, birth and parenting.

“All things considered, this is a great first-time event,” said organizer Tine Reese, founder of Bloom Spokane. “We just need more room for more strollers. It’s a stroller logjam in here. Next year we’re going to have to have more space.

“It’s a good problem to have,” she added.

After some controversy earlier this year over whether the Spokane Valley City Council would grant Valleyfest lodging tax funding, it ultimately did approve a $30,000 grant to market the event.

Other big draws include Fishing at the Falls, in which kids got to cast their lines and catch a fish, and “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” an interactive presentation featuring an alligator, porcupine, lemur and python.

“There’s something for all ages,” said Mary Scott, who was there with her daughter and grandchildren. “We come every year. The kids love it.”


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