What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Disabled veterans get chance to fly at hot air balloon fest

Posted May 18, 2015

WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest

— This weekend's WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest will include spectacular sights and honor those who have served this country.

"We're going to be celebrating our military, our freedom, honoring their service to our nation and remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice," event organizer Brian Hoyle said.

Project Uplift NC, a service project from the Raleigh Jaycees, will allow people in wheelchairs and with limited mobility, including disabled veterans, a chance to soar in hot air balloons. The specially designed basket features a door and reinforced sidewall so those with mobility challenges can easily get inside. Traditional baskets require people to climb over the side.

In addition to special rides, organizers are also trying to raise money to help veterans across the state.

A Field of Flags will be populated over the weekend at Bennett Bunn Plantation in Zebulon, one of the locations hosting the balloon festival. For a $2 donation, people can get an American flag and plant it there. The money will go to AMVETS, which provides support to veterans hospitals, homeless veterans, youth programs and service work.The goal is to get 10,000 flags planted by Memorial Day, when volunteer groups plan to transport the flags to cemeteries, military monuments and Department of Veterans Affairs nursing facilities.

The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest is Friday through Memorial Day. Events are being held at two locations – Spring Forest Road Park in Raleigh and Bennett Bunn Plantation in Zebulon. Get a full list of events, parking info and more

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