FINDLAY — Hot air balloons will be filling the skies of Findlay this weekend at the Flag City Balloonfest held in Emory Adams Park.
“This is our 17th year,” said Bruce Baker, vice president of the Flag City Balloonfest. “We have also raised $35,000 for local charities.”
While the general public enjoys watching the hot air balloons in the sky and on the ground, for balloonists, this is a competition to earn points for the U.S. Nationals and World Nationals.
“We have 47 balloons. This is one of the biggest balloonfests in the Midwest, as we are a sanctioned event,” said Baker. “We get a lot of spectators and neat balloonists. We have the top balloonists in the U.S. There is a lot of competing for points and then they will go on to the U.S. Nationals and World Nationals.”
Balloonist earn points by showing their skill at maneuvering their balloon to drop a beanie bag on an X; or ring a 20 foot pole with a hula hoop (the balloonist that does that receives $1,000) or by getting to as many locations in the air as they can.
“At different altitudes winds can go different directions. It takes a lot of skill to what they are doing,” said Baker. “There is good reason to see these balloons on the ground as they are eight stories tall, just massive. In the evening, there are illuminations, the balloons will light burners and glow. They look like Chinese lanterns, it is really beautiful.”
It isn’t just about balloons though as there are a lot of other activities taking place at the Balloonfest.
“We have a lot of things going on. Kids rides, fair food, nine or ten canine police officers with dogs for demonstrations, radio controlled planes, fireworks and The Reese Daily Band on Friday night. Also new this year is a car/motorcycle show on Saturday morning, and following that we are going to have live music with country musician Jana Kramer,” said Baker.
Tickets for the Jana Kramer concert are $20 and can be purchased at Great Scot Community Markets until sold out. Kids ride tickets are $2 per ticket or a ride band for $20. Pony rides are $4 each.
On Sunday, there is a sunrise service that begins at 7:30 a.m. with a free pancake breakfast to the first 400 in attendance.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511