Up, Up, and Away at Carolina Balloon Fest
Skies will be dappled in color October 17-19 during the Carolina Balloon Fest at Statesville Regional Airport. Dedicated to helping out local charities, the fun-filled weekend allows families to bring lawn chairs and blankets to bask in the Carolina autumn weather and enjoy the sights and sounds of 50 colorful hot air balloons. Thousands of local and visiting spectators flood the festival area with hopes of seeing the 50- to 100-feet tall balloons take off, as well live entertainment, a kids' play zone, festival food, and North Carolina wines and craft beers.
This year the kids' play zone offers inflatable's, bungee jumping and a climbing wall. Jef Lambdin, founder of InterActive Theater, will be on site featuring his acts of mime, roving artistry and juggling. Families can also take in the scenery from a different perspective with a tethered balloon ride ($5-$10, cash only). Hot air balloon rides can be scheduled with individual balloon pilots, but come with a price tag of $225 per person and only take place in the morning and or late afternoon, depending on the course of the winds and of course the weather. Unlike any other year, pilots are hosting a meet-and-greet for families to peruse the balloons on Saturday and Sunday between 2 and 3 p.m. Enjoy carnival-type food on Eat Street, and peruse the Artisan Village and Marketplace to purchase souvenirs to take home. Family-friendly concerts are also scheduled Saturday afternoon.
Come early Sunday to join in the Kids Fun Run and 5K to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society-Relay for Life of Statesville. Everyone will have the opportunity to run the flat and fast course with balloons in hand. Race registration includes admission to the Sunday festival, free parking, a race shirt, and lawn seating for the afternoon concert. Registration fees are $25-$40 Oct. 2-19.
Last year, the festival generated $60,000 worth of donations for local charities. General admission is $5-$15. Purchase tickets in advance online or bring cash to purchase tickets at the gate. Find more information at carolinaballoonfest.com.