DUVALL–The city’s centennial committee managed to combine two 1968 events – Duvall’s Piano Drop and Sultan’s Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter than Air Fair into one great summer party.
Numerous rock bands took the stage at the SnoRiver Rock Concert and Lighter Than Air Fare Aug. 3 at McCormick Park. Other attractions included vintage Volkswagens, motorcycles and scooters on display, hot air balloon rides and, of course, the piano drop, which took place just before sunset.
The piano, exquisitely painted by Safeway manager Roger Jones, had been on display on the Main Street sidewalk over the summer, attracting many budding musicians, many of them children who enjoyed plunking on the keys.
The weather took its toll on the instrument, however. By the time it was due to be the victim at the Aug. 3 event, the end was near anyway – many of the keys had fallen off and it was completely out of tune. The drop took place during the hot air balloon rides, giving a few lucky folks a great view of the event.
The fire department reported that the only injury during the entire day was a scraped knee.
Event-goers watch with anticipation as the piano makes its final ascent prior to being dropped from the crane. Photo by Deanna HobbsComposite shot of the piano drop from start to finish. Photo by Ron Bailey
Duvall-area resident Andy Weiss (l) poses with 1968 Piano Drop originator Larry Van Over. Weiss hitchhiked to Duvall at age 15 to attend the Piano Drop on Van Over’s farm on Cherry Valley Road. Van Over said he simply wanted to find out what a piano sounded like when it hit the ground. The piano, dropped from a helicopter, landed with a thud in the wet grass and broke apart, but the well-attended event became a local legend. Weiss, in a speech to the Duvall Rotary a couple of years ago, mentioned the “drop,” sparking the idea to re-create it, which the organization did in 2011 and repeated again on Saturday, Aug. 3. Lisa Allen/staff photoGuitarist Roger Fisher was the SnoRiver Rock Concert and Lighter Than Air Fare special guest. He attended the original Sky River event in 68 (as did Alice Stuart who was also scheduled to play on Saturday but became ill). Roger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. (He was one of the founding members of the band Heart from Seattle in the 70’s). The 1968 3-day Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair attracted 40 acts and over 20,000 spectators (historylink.org). Photo courtesy of Jcarmichael photography
The tethered hot air balloons were packed and offered great views. Courtesy of Jcarmichael photography