After 42 years, ClovisFest is getting a makeover.
Traditionally held the last full weekend in September, the annual ClovisFest & Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly in Old Town Clovis will move permanently to the last full weekend in October, welcoming cooler weather.
“We needed a whole new facelift,” said event coordinator Tammi Walton, of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve been wanting to do this for years, because September is so hot. The event will go on rain or shine.”
Also new to the free Oct. 29-30 event is a massive multicultural attraction.
Diversity and world cultures will be celebrated during the new ClovisFest International Village, sponsored by PG&E.
“We have more than 20 booths, with people doing storytelling, lei making, sharing everything about their cultures,” Walton said.
Attendees will be encouraged to visit each booth to get their “international passport” stamped to earn prizes.
A stage will be set up on Pollasky between 7th and 8th streets to feature performances by Polynesian Club of Fresno, Fresno State’s Los Danzantes de Aztlan, Fresno Gumyo Taiko, United Khmer Cultural Preservation, Hmoob Ntxhais Kom Txuj (Hmong Dance Group), Andalee Belly Dancing and more.
“There will be singing, dancing and everybody in their costumes — it’s going to be beautiful,” Walton said.
Performances will begin every 30 minutes throughout the weekend.
The International Village will be just part of the four-block stretch of ClovisFest, which will house nearly 300 craft and food vendor booths.
“We’re going to have pony rides, a petting zoo, food and crafts,” Walton said. “We are completely jam-packed, and everything is family-oriented.”
ClovisFest, sponsored by Table Mountain Casino, will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with a kickoff set for 10 a.m. Saturday at Centennial Plaza at Pollasky and Bullard avenues.
While many attend ClovisFest for its vendors, carnival rides and family atmosphere, plenty will admit that it’s the food that draws them to the annual tradition.
Kettle corn, shaved ice, cotton candy, smoothies and more will be spread along Pollasky, and the popular Bullard Food Court will feature a diverse selection of fair foods — including new additions.
“There’s every type of food you can imagine throughout the whole event — food of different cultures and ethnicities,” Walton said.
The Michelob Ultra Beer Garden will be open to those 21 and over to enjoy an adult beverage while listening to the sounds of local professional bands. Rocky Rock Band and Max Headroom are scheduled for Saturday, while A.C. Myles and Foreigner Unauthorized is set to take the stage Sunday. The Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, will begin at 7 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, with dozens of balloons taking to the sky.
Families wishing to watch the event can gather in the Clovis Rodeo Grounds at 6:15 a.m.; breakfast items will be available for purchase from the Old Town Clovis Kiwanis Club.
Tethered hot air balloon rides will be available to sponsors of the event, but are not open to the public.
Back again this year is the AIA San Joaquin Sand Castle Competition on Saturday morning, where teams will sculpt hand-crafted designs to win prizes. Clovis North Robotics will also do robot demonstrations on Sunday.
Organizers would like to remind attendees that pets are not allowed at ClovisFest.
Parking is free in surrounding lots and streets, with the largest lot at Clovis Rodeo Grounds, 748 Rodeo Drive off Clovis Avenue.
ClovisFest & Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 30. Hot air balloons launch each morning at 7 a.m.
Where: Old Town Clovis, mainly on Pollasky Avenue between 3rd and 8th streets. Hot air balloons launch from Clovis Rodeo Grounds, 748 Rodeo Drive.
How much: Entrance and parking are free.