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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Valleyfest full of information, fun

Darin Z. Krogh Special to Voice

Last weekend’s Valleyfest was a huge success.

By 10 a.m. Saturday, the police were instructing arriving cars to make an illegal U-turn and head down the street because the Mirabeau Point parking lots were full. “Go to the Valley Mall and take the free shuttle bus back,” they were saying.

My wife suffers from a pre-existing condition (Shopper’s Syndrome), and I realized that taking her to the Valley Mall would mean we might not make it back until the following night, so I ditched our car at an STA minilot on Montgomery Street.

We hoofed it half a mile to the festival, which is probably 91/2 miles less than we would have walked around the Valley Mall looking for a suitable pair of capri pants.

Mirabeau Point Park is huge. Everything seems fresh and new. There were tents and pavilions covering acres of grassy expanses, huge parking lots with no empty spaces, wooded areas with paved walkways and a newly constructed CenterPlace, a multifloor building housing a community center and other public services for Valleyites.

There also was music and an outdoor movie screen showing “Shrek 2” on Saturday night.

A fun run (are they ever really fun?) kicked off Saturday morning’s events.

Although a few greasy fast food vendors operated among the festival attractions, the theme for the whole event was health and wellness. No beer garden – even though I understand that dark beer extends the life of moderate drinkers.

Dentists, hospitals, health clinics and other medically related concerns were giving away trinkets. When we got home, I poured all our mouthwash samples into five-gallon buckets that will be sold at my year-end garage sale.

One information booth demonstrated “TV Ears,” which perform both a dental and a hearing service. “TV Ears” has a microphone you stick to the television speaker. The microphone connects to a headset that Grandpa is wearing so he can hear the television without turning up the volume to a level that vibrates the fillings out of the teeth of other people.

Mental health was not forgotten. There were wine tours on the schedule. Not only does wine repair the mind, I understand that red wine also extends the life of moderate drinkers.

OutSpokane had an informational booth at Valleyfest. OutSpokane is an organization that serves the “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (that’s me) and Allied Community.” See the Web site (www.outspokane.com). The city of Spokane Valley is probably forward thinking by providing this information in an effort to avoid some of the political problems of the town next-door (that would be to the west, Bob).

The healthy-living focus of Valleyfest didn’t apply to some unfortunate attendees – the 8- to 10-inch trout planted in the Mirabeau Springs Pond.

They were trapped in a pond that contained a buffet of fish bait dropped into the water by hundreds of fisherchildren whose hooks were baited by the good folks of the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council who should receive the council’s “Job-of-the-Bible- Patience-Award” for not strangling any of the eager little tykes.

The Mirabeau Springs Pond fish population is generally limited to various size koi that seemed fine with sharing their pond with some trout who probably would not be staying overnight.

One of the baiters regularly announced to the fisherchildren that they need not worry about the koi taking the trout bait: “Koi do not eat this kind of bait.” However, some of the smaller koi could not hear her announcement (because they had water in their ears?) and took the bait, anyway.

A caught trout could be taken home for dinner by the lucky caster or given to a local food bank.

I did not feel badly for the trout; they made a lot of fun for many children at Valleyfest. And there are worse things than being fried in a pan for dinner. Try shopping with my wife.

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