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Cameras at the ready: Hot air balloon festival back at Sterling
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Christian Stinson helps prepare a hot air balloon during the Harvest Balloon Festival at Sterling on the Lake in Flowery Branch, on Oct. 21, 2017. - photo by David Barnes
Harvest Balloon Festival
When: 3-8 p.m. Oct. 27
Where: Sterling on the Lake, 7004 Lake Sterling Blvd., Flowery Branch; parking will be at Flowery Branch High School, 4450 Hog Mountain Road, Flowery Branch
How much: $10 for adults and children over 5; $5 for children 3-5; free for children 2 and younger
More info: www.harvestballoonfestival.com

North Georgia is in the home stretch of election season, and a Flowery Branch festival is putting some of that hot air to good use with the Harvest Balloon Festival.

The hot air balloon festival is set for 3-8 p.m. Oct. 27 at Sterling on the Lake, and it offers attendees a not just a chance to get familiar with the iconic balloons but also a few stellar photographic opportunities.

Jennifer Landers, vice president of operations for Newland Communities in Atlanta, said the  festival will have tethered rides for $15 per person on a first come, first served basis.

“That's the biggest attraction to this event,” she said. “Those are the rides that go up about 30 to 40 feet in the air and come back down. There’s a line that starts around 5:30 p.m. in the middle of our Village Green. You’ll see the big crowds start to gather as they start to blow the balloons up.”

She said there will also be a few new activities at the festival this year, including a rock wall and zipline.

“We expand the event every year,” she said. “(It) is a family-friendly event for all ages. There’s carnival rides, craft vendors, food vendors — your typical fall festival activities.” 

Landers said the event will benefit the Hall County Animal Shelter and Family Promise of Hall County.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community and enjoy a day of fun,” she said.

She said the festival also offers “Up. Up. And Away!” balloon rides that take guests over the community the day after the festival, but they’re already sold out for this year. 

“Those are the very next morning at sunrise,” she said, adding that people should still come to watch. “It’s a great photo opportunity and you can get up close to the balloons and see how they inflate (them).” 

This year, they anticipate to see approximately 5,000 attendees at the festival.

“It is very popular,” she said. “We have attendees that come from out of state that follow hot air balloons across the country. It’s a great day for families to come enjoy the fall weather and the changing of the leaves in our beautiful community and just to have a good time,” she said. 

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