For almost half a century, the Carolina Balloon Festival has delighted tens of thousands of spectators with a full weekend of hot air balloon activities. This October 19th – 21st, the 45th annual Carolina Balloon Fest will take place, rain or shine, near Statesville Regional Airport. Hot Air Balloon flights are scheduled for early morning and late afternoon on each of the days. All ballooning activities include a static display, tethered rides, and balloon flights.
Make your plans now with AAA Travel to be part of the fun!
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Statesville's hot air balloon history dates back to 1965, when Ed Yost with Raven Industries in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, began the development of modern hot air ballooning. Designs were then standardized for Federal Aviation Administration certification. Bill Meadows and Tracy Barnes made the maiden voyage in the triangle wicker carriage from Iredell County in October of 1969. As a result, Barnes formed The Balloon Works in Statesville to ignite the market for hot air ballooning in the United States. Although the rally's name and venue location has changed over the years, the enthusiasm for hot air ballooning has remained constant.
Today, dedicated community leaders, volunteers, and pilots organize and participate in this annual tradition. In addition to ballooning and tethered rides, other highlights include the Artisan Village, live music, Kids Zone, NC Wine & Craft Beer Garden, great festival foods, and more. Gates open on Friday, the 19th at 3:00 P.M., with the Mass Ascension Launch scheduled between 4-5:30 P.M., weather permitting. Saturday and Sunday's activities include a Hot Air Balloon Competition, Pilots Meet & Greet, and the Mass Ascension Launch. On Saturday night, spectators will also enjoy the Evening Glow Window, where balloons are inflated and displayed at dusk.
Schedule your fall getaway with AAA Travel and take in the sights of the Carolina Balloon Festival. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and relax under the Carolina blue sky as you watch the magnificent balloons take flight. Call 1-800-444-8691 or visit your local AAA Travel branch to book your stay at one of these local hotels.