Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest is a full weekend of sights, sounds, shopping and, this year, a variety of tastes.
One of the complaints about the festival's first iteration in 2015 was a lack of variety in the food options. Organizers answered that question and upped the local emphasis this year by inviting dozens of the Triangle's most popular food trucks to serve alongside tents offering state-fair favorites like funnel cakes, hot dogs, fries and pizza.
The trucks range from savory Stuft Gourmet Baked Potatoes and Heavy Metal Grillers to sweet Dusty Donuts and Mr A's Beignets.
There is also a craft beer and wine garden. Four local breweries are featured at the festival and Adams Vineyard commissioned a special bottle of wine, a semisweet, for the event.
While the best times to see balloons in flight are at the beginning and end of each day, the festival grounds at Fuquay-Varina's Fleming Loop Park are open Friday from 2 to 10:30 p.m. and open Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 5:30 a.m. with a full slate of musical guests, military displays, rides for the kids and an arts and crafts vendor village.
Admission to the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest is free, but food, like balloon rides and parking, carries a cost. Many vendors accept credit cards, but cash is recommended.