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Harvest Balloon Festival lifts off in Flowery Branch
Event launches at Sterling on the Lake
1008-GO-BALLOON
Spectators watch the balloon-glow just after dark during the 2013 Sterling on the Lake Harvest Balloon Festival.

Harvest Balloon Festival

When: 1-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17

Where: Sterling on the Lake, 7004 Lake Sterling Blvd., Flowery Branch

Cost: $1 per person

More info: www.harvestballoonfestival.com

If you’re tired of the hot air blowing out of politicians’ mouths during this election cycle, the Harvest Balloon Festival will offer a different take on hot air.

Visitors to Sterling on the Lake may find themselves floating through the sky as hot-air balloons launch from Flowery Branch during the annual event from 1-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

As fall brings many opportunities for gathering and celebrating the changing season, the sixth annual festival will feature autumn traditions along with new activities for a $1.

All ages may participate in hayrides showcasing the changing leaves, and tethered balloon rides overlooking the festival grounds below with the weather permitting.

Tethered rides will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 and 8-9:30 a.m. Oct. 18. Tickets cost $15 per person in cash and are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Children younger than 18 year old must have a parent present to sign a liability release, which must be signed on site. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by their adults parent.

Entertaining the younger audience will be a moonbounce, Zany Hairdos, face painting and hamster ball racing, to name a few. Such happenings can be enjoyed by purchasing tickets the day of the festival. Different activities will require a different number of tickets.

For anyone who enjoys showcasing their artistic talents, spin art and sand art will be available to create an abstract souvenir of the day.

If buying art is preferable, more than 20 craft vendors will sell an abundance of different wares.

In keeping with the conventional fall festival quality, food vendors will satisfy hungry customers.

Live entertainment and performances will be throughout the day, with a special performance by Collins Hill Dance Group at 1:30 p.m.

Once dusk arrives, balloons will rise for Balloon Glow if weather permitting. The tethered ride will not contain any passengers as the balloon behemoths light up against the backdrop of the night sky.

Proceeds from admission, ticket sales and balloon rides will benefit Challenged Child & Friends and the Hall County Animal Shelter.

From 1-7 p.m. the Hall County Animal Shelter will supply pets for possible adoptions. Guests may play and bond with the animals in the hope of finding the pet the perfect forever home.

In past years, more than 7,000 people have attended the event, drawing crowds from as far away as Utah and New York.

For more information, visit www.harvestballoonfestival.com.

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