The second day of Valleyfest kicked off under sunny, blue skies Saturday, though early morning wind and fog cut short hot air balloon flights at dawn.
The three-day, family-friendly event had a few organizational changes this year designed to alleviate congestion at CenterPlace, where some of the events are held. Totfest will be Sunday at CenterPlace, along with the traditional Responsible Dog Ownership Day in Mirabeau Point Park.
The 5K and 10K runs were moved to Sunday, as was a duathlon that takes the place of last year’s triathlon. “People are still registering for those events today,” Valleyfest organizer Peggy Doering said Saturday.
The family bike ride that gives four length options from 6.8 to 15.6 miles will still start at noon Sunday at the Centennial Trail trailhead near the park.
Hundreds of families turned out for the booths, food, games and free activities for kids Saturday. Kids could fish at the Mirabeau Falls while adults checked out the nearby car show. A Spokane Valley Fire Department truck, ambulance, Spokane Transit Authority bus and garbage truck were there to be climbed on and sat in.
Saturday’s Step Up for Down Syndrome walk was the biggest ever, attracting 700 people, Doering said.
“People came from all over the Northwest,” she said.
Seven-year-old Tehya Torres tackled the climbing wall in the park as her parents watched. At first she climbed with confidence even though she was wearing flip-flops. But about halfway up she got stuck, electing to come down when she couldn’t figure out a way to continue her route to the top.
“She did it last year,” said her mother, Tegan Ellis. “She got to the top.”
But Tehya was undeterred, even though her only climbing experience was at last year’s Valleyfest, and got right back in line to try it again.
Ellis said she likes that Valleyfest is a family-friendly event that has plenty of free activities. “We like to visit the little pet area,” she said.
Up the hill there was an explosion of excitement near the family stage when a Minion appeared, causing kids to clamor for pictures with the movie character.
Spokane Aerial Performance Art had a set of climbing silks set up nearby and 59-year-old Kathryn Ann Hobbs climbed up to the top to give a demonstration. She twirled and stretched more than a dozen feet off the ground, wrapping the silks around her legs and ankles to hold her in place.
Hobbs said she got involved in a class at Aerial Performance Arts for people ages 50 and older about two years ago. She started with one class a week and is now up to three.
“It is a fantastic upper body, core workout,” she said. “It’s more fun than going to the gym and lifting weights.”
Plus, at age 59 is it “empowering” to be able to climb into the air and do what she does, Hobbs said.
Despite the relatively good weather, there were still some hitches in the annual event. The float from Davenport, Washington, kept malfunctioning during the Hearts of Gold parade down Sprague Avenue on Friday night, Doering said, but they were determined to participate.
“Four young men from the Davenport community got behind it and started pushing it,” she said. “I love Davenport and their spirit.”
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