Beneath blue skies, county balloon festival attracts 27,000
By Richard Gaw
For the past 13 years, Debbie Harding of Air Ventures begins her June by appealing to the weather gods for sunshine and minimal winds, as she and hundreds of volunteers, balloonists and vendors prepare for the annual Chester County Hot Air Balloon Festival.
This past weekend, the gods responded. Beneath a postcard-perfect sky and light winds, the 13th annual Chester County Hot Air Balloon Festival drew 27,000 visitors to New Garden Flying Field in Toughkenamon, where they witnessed three consecutive days of spectacular weather, and dozens of balloons of all shapes and colors dotting the sky.
While the festival included tethered balloon rides and balloon glows, there was also a lot of activity on the ground, as well, including monster truck rides, helicopter rides, a Kids Zone, motorcycle riding instruction, a balloon history display, several demonstration activities, live music, and a beer garden for adults that featured several varieties from Victory Brewing Company, wines from the Harvest Ridge Winery and cider from Rebel Seed Cider.
One special demonstration helped connect ballooning with an even larger investigation of the skies.
“The Franklin Institute’s Traveling Science Show came to the festival to conduct presentations on the science behind rocketry in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon, and helped make the link that the original balloon flight was an attempt to discover the skies or outer space, and to literally reach the stars,” Harding said.
The Chester County Balloon Festival is a sponsor of the Chester County Hero Fund, as well as other local youth community groups, such as our local Boy Scouts and athletic groups, where portions of the proceeds of this year's festival have been directed.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].