By Valerie Shelton, Editor
The start of fall in Clovis is symbolized by a myriad of colorfully festive hot air balloons soaring across the Valley sky. These beautiful balloons are part of the draw of one of the city’s largest events—ClovisFest.
This year ClovisFest falls on Sept. 19 and 20, with the hot air balloons signaling the festivities 7 a.m. Saturday start.
Fran Blackney of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce said early birds are sure to enjoy hot cinnamon rolls and a pancake breakfast at the rodeo grounds as they watch the balloons get ready for take off. While public rides aren’t allowed per usual, Blackney said, she knows many citizens and visitors will wake up not wanting to miss the iconic site of balloons floating to the sky. This being ClovisFest’s 41st year, she said the flight of the balloons has become a tradition that many families partake in and go to year after year.
ClovisFest, however, offers more than the spectacular sight of flying hot air balloons, across the street in Old Town, Blackney said there will be fun booths, good eats and lots of activities.
This year, she said, the emphasis is on family fun.
“What we’re doing this year is we are emphasizing family activities on the side streets and we’re not calling it street entertainment, it’s more things that kids can do or see,” Blackney said. “On 5th Street, on the west side, we’re going to have the MB2 from the mall demonstrating their racecars. The kids can’t ride in them because of liability but they can watch. Across the street on 5th, the Clovis North Robotics Club is going to have their robotics team out there. Also on Saturday, the AIA of San Joaquin, which is an architect association, is going to do a sand castle competition among themselves, but they are going to have sand for the kids to play in. That will be judged at 1 p.m. Saturday. Then on 7th Street we’re going to have the four wheelers down there and the racing room stimulators. Lucha Libre extreme wrestlers will also be here again and then we will have the no surrender laser tag games for the kids. We have a lot of activities.”
In addition to the new activities going on, ClovisFest will also feature its usual carnival for kids on 5th Street and there will be a balloon man creating balloon animals for kids. The toy hauler liquidators will also have a display as usual between 7th and 8th Streets. There will also be a beer garden. This year Bud Light sponsors the beer garden. Also, on both days, there will be a ClovisFest Treasure Hunt starting at 1 p.m. Maps for the hunt can be downloaded via the Clovis Chamber app. The person to solve all the clues first will win $100.
Food will also be front and center. There will be cotton candy, funnel cakes, roasted nuts and root beer floats among other tasty treats. For those early birds (and those who need caffeine all day), coffee will also be available from Amber Avenue Coffee Roasters—one of Blackney’s favorites.