Valleyfest is part of the fabric of Spokane Valley, established as an annual community festival decades before the city incorporated in 2003. What started as a small one-day event in Terrace View Park has morphed into a three-day celebration that fills the city’s largest outdoor venue – Mirabeau Point Park – and spills over to the nearby CenterPlace Event Center.
You can stuff your stomach, check out classic cars, get your face painted and listen to live music during the festival.
In the interest of helping you plan your weekend, here’s what you need to know before you go:
When: Today through Sunday at Mirabeau Park (13500 E. Mirabeau Parkway) and CenterPlace (2126 N. Discovery Place). All booths are open in the park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: Free. Parking is also free at the nearby Pinecroft Business Park and the Spokane Valley Mall. An STA shuttle will be available between the festival and the mall for 75 cents per day.
About that parade: The “Hearts of Gold” parade tonight, however, is not in the park. It will travel down Sprague Avenue between Gillis Road and Pines Road beginning at 7:30 p.m. Get there early for the pre-parade entertainment (and free candy) that starts at 6:45 p.m.
What does Hearts of Gold mean, Anyway? It refers to a popular type of cantaloupe grown by farmers in the Spokane Valley way back when.
What’s new? Check out the triathlon that starts at the Mirabeau Trailhead at 9 a.m. Sunday. It combines a 1.5-mile canoe or kayak trip down the Spokane River with an 11-mile bike ride and a 3-mile run. Also check out the robotics and engineering demonstrations and activities in CenterPlace from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Hot air balloons: Head out to hot air balloon launches at 6:40 a.m. today, Saturday and Sunday. Just keep repeating the phrase “Weather permitting, weather permitting, weather permitting” to yourself. If it’s raining or really windy, hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. There’s also a night glow flight set for 8 p.m. Saturday. It is – you guessed it – weather permitting.
I just gotta dance: There will be tons of dance acts on the Family Stage on Saturday, including a competitive cheerleading group, Northwest Hula and the Japanese Dancers.
Music galore: Live music acts on the Meadow Festival Stage include Barry Lee White (12:30 p.m. Saturday), Men in the Making (2:45 p.m. Saturday), Atomic Jive (4:45 p.m. Saturday), the Pearl Snaps (11 a.m. Sunday), Chutzpah (12:30 p.m. Sunday) and Twisted Bisquit (2:30 p.m. Sunday).
What? There are three stages? There are. The CenterPlace Patio Stage will have a good roundup on Saturday, starting with the band Spare Parts at noon, The Plaid Cats at 6 p.m. and Miss Abby and Her Red Hot Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. If you need a laugh – and who doesn’t? – check out the PG rated Comedy Cup at 4 p.m.
Dogs, dogs, dogs: Sunday is AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day in the park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out demonstrations from local police K-9’s and an arson dog. You can also adopt a canine companion to take home with you and take part in a lot of other dog-centered events.
Family stuff: Do Fishing the Falls Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or attend the free showing of the animated movie “Surf’s Up” in the park at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Hot grub: The annual pancake breakfast will be served at CenterPlace from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday. The cost is $7 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3-6. Children age 2 and under are free. There will also be plenty of food booths in the park Saturday and Sunday.
Got bratwurst? Johnsonville will bring its huge Big Taste Grill that can cook 2,500 bratwursts in an hour, so bring your appetite. It will be in the park Saturday and Sunday.
Did we forget something? We can’t list it all, but a full schedule of events is available at www.valleyfest.org.