Saying that the Harvest Balloon Festival in Flowery Branch was a pretty big deal over the weekend, may be an understatement.
Event planners were preparing for around 4,000 guests for the entire two-day festival, but attendance exceeded that just on the first day.
To put things into perspective, the town’s regular population count is around 4,100 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“I knew something had to be going on, we were a lot busier than usual,” said Sandy Jordan, a waitress at a nearby restaurant.
“Usually you can count on things to slow down around 2 in the afternoon, but not this weekend.”
Festival attendees weren’t just limited to Hall County residents — or metro Atlanta visitors for that matter.
“Our hot air balloon (pilots) came from all over the country, so we anticipated attendees coming from all over the state too,” said Jennifer Landers, Sterling marketing director.
“We wanted to have a huge event to announce the grand opening of the D.R. Horton model home. It took us around six months to pull everything together.”
Over the summer, Newland Communities — the developers behind Sterling on the Lake — brought in D.R. Horton as a new building partner.
Sunday marked the first day that the public could tour one of the builder’s homes in the budding neighborhood.
In addition to showcasing the model homes, the Sterling staff also used the festival as an opportunity to raise one for Challenged Child and Friends and the National Military Family Association.
“This is the fifth year that we’ve held a festival — we had a pumpkin festival for the first four years. We always like to support one local and one national charity,” Landers said.
“We try to support a children’s based charity so Challenged Child is a great fit — they lead our costume parade for us. The military association is a good fit too because the money that we raise goes to support Operation Purple Camp — which is for children with at least one parent away on deployment.”