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Summerfest, balloon bash come together at Crown Mountain Park

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Crown Mountain Park has a lot to celebrate with the passage of the 7A mill levy increase, and this year’s Summerfest and Balloon Bash is set to be a party to match.

“It’s a great time to see the park,” said Park & Recreation Manager Nate Grinzinger. “We’re right around the corner from asking for a bunch of community feedback and this is just a little teaser on what we can be and what we can provide.”

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Coming right on the heels of the Market Street Block Party in Willits Friday night, Summerfest kicks things off early Saturday, June 23 with a 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. pancake breakfast thanks to the Lions. That leads right into a 7 a.m. balloon launch — combining two previously separate festivals.

“Summerfest was a three-until-sunset type of event. The balloons by nature are a morning and night deal, so it fit,” Grinzinger explained.

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Hot air balloon tether rides go until 10 a.m., followed by a bit of a break. It’s worth getting swimsuits for the kids, because the kids zone opens at 3 p.m. and an expanded kids foam city at 5 p.m. — and it’s a lovely, wet and messy affair.

Meanwhile, the taco competition gets rolling at 3 p.m. as well, with Capitol Creek Brewery, Free Range Kitchen, Plaga Chilanga, Roaring Fork Club, Smoke and more vying for the top title.

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“I’ve had four chefs guarantee victory,” noted Grinzinger. “I feel like the taco is so much more about who this valley is. Of all the valley food competitions, this could be the best one.”

It’s all designed to be free or affordable and family friendly, backed by music from songwriter Kevin Heinz at 5 p.m. and roadhouse rock band Ivory Deville from 6:30 until the 8:30 p.m. hot air balloon glow. If you still want more, come back Sunday for a pancake and tether ride redux.

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