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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Celebrate the things you can’: Spokane Valley residents prepare for modified Valleyfest, porch parade

Shirene Young, who lives in Millwood, has given her porch a fair theme for this year’s Valleyfest Lily Pad Procession  (COLIN MULVANY)
Shirene Young, who lives in Millwood, has given her porch a fair theme for this year’s Valleyfest Lily Pad Procession (COLIN MULVANY)

Though this year’s Valleyfest won’t be the traditional gathering in the park that many long-time residents remember, organizers say there are still many ways to celebrate.

This Saturday, organizers will launch the 31st Valleyfest with a parade at home. Families around the greater Spokane Valley area have turned their yards or porches into floats, and a procession made up of the Spokane Valley police chief, the Spokane County sheriff, the fire department, county library staff and the Valleyfest Court will visit several of the participating neighborhoods.

Valleyfest organizers have asked participating families to keep their porches decorated for the next two weeks to give the entire region a chance to download the official Valleyfest map and tour neighborhoods with decorated porches.

Valleyfest Executive Director Peggy Doering acknowledged the last six months have been challenging and she hopes participating in the festival will give residents something positive to look forward to.

“I want everyone to feel like they belong to a community,” she said.

The deadline to participate in the porch-decorating event, known as the Lily Pad Procession, is Saturday. Doering said she knows going back to school, smoke and COVID-19 have been challenging for many, and organizers were willing to be flexible and include late entries.

About 15 people have already submitted their porches to be included in the map and procession, including Millwood resident Shirene Young, who hoped to use her decorated yard and porch to celebrate her city and have some fun in spite of canceled fairs this year.

Young, a Valleyfest Board member, decorated her yard with a scarecrow, a wagon full of vegetables, pinwheels, pumpkins, pictures of cows and banners from Millwood celebrations. She said her fair inspiration came after the event was canceled and her granddaughter wasn’t able to participate in the way she had planned. Instead of going to the fair, she’s given her family a chance to celebrate in their front yard.

“You’ve got to celebrate the things you can,” she said.

Young said she’s encouraged her neighbors to participate and is hoping more people sign up or decorate before this weekend.

Otis Orchards resident Amy Larson also used fall and harvest items to decorate her yard for the Lily Pad Procession, along with spooky Halloween decorations.

Larson, who owns an interior design business, said she loves decorating for the holidays and was excited to showcase her yard for the event. Larson’s yard includes a wagon full of pumpkins, a giant spiderweb with spiders climbing on it, a huge pair of eyes on the garage and an oversized spider by her door with a sunflower on its back.

She said she’s hoping her decorated yard will encourage children in the neighborhood to take advantage of her Little Free Library. The event was also a chance for own daughter, Joelle Larson, to be involved.

Doering said people can register for all Valleyfest events on the organization’s website at Participants in the Lily Pad Procession will need to provide their contact information, a photo and their address. She said addresses would be used to create a map that will be available to the public so they can visit the different neighborhoods that have porch floats, but names or other identifying information will not be included on the map.

A team of Valleyfest judges will rank porches and yards, and the winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Lowe’s, while second place will receive a $50 gift certificate to Simply Northwest and third place will receive a $25 gift card to Peter’s Hardware.

This year’s Valleyfest will also have a mini parade, an online market, a drive-in movie and an athletics challenge.

Valleyfest will show the movie “The Sandlot” on Saturday night at the HUB Sports Center at 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. The movie starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are free, but participants must sign up online on Valleyfest’s website to reserve a spot in advance.

Registration for the “Marvelous Mini Parade” has already closed, but the entries will be available for the public to view on Valleyfest’s website and social media.

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