Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — After some brief drizzle, the four-day WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival returned Sunday with warm temperatures and pleasantly breezy skies.
The drizzle postponed the early morning hot air balloon flights scheduled for Sunday, but clear, sunny skies look promising for the full day of planned outdoor events ahead.
Food trucks and booths and a craft and vendor village are open on festival grounds in Fuquay-Varina, and other events on Sunday include a non-denominational church service, a car show, a dog Frisbee competitions, rides, inflatables, live music and more.
"It's turning out to be a beautiful day, but we started out with a little wind and weather situation off to the west, so we decided to cancel the morning competition flights for safety reasons," said Brian Hoyle, the festival's volunteer lead organizer.
That doesn't mean there weren't any balloons out this morning, though.
"Some pilots have broken out baskets this morning for folks to give them a chance to see and feel what it's like to experience gondolas of all shapes and sizes," said Hoyle.
A very special basket at Balloon Fest on Sunday is dedicated specifically for those with mobility challenges. "This handicapped accessible basket is one-of-a-kind," said Hoyle. "It's dedicated specifically to providing balloon experiences to military and children living with mobility issues."
Hoyle also recommends ALL Sunday guests check out the dog Frisbee competitions scattered throughout the day. "The dogs were great yesterday," he said. "They really have been a real crowd pleaser for children of all ages -- they are high-flying athletes on four legs."
Weather permitting, festival-goers will be able to take tethered balloon flights Sunday evening and watch a beautiful mass ascension and balloon glow.
"Our balloon activities start after 6:45 this evening," said Hoyle. "The glow we had last night was spectacular. We had 36 balloons glowing."
You can view the entire schedule of events online, but some of the larger events scheduled for Sunday at Balloon Fest include:
- 10 a.m. - Church service on RE/MAX Stage
- 8:30, 11:30, 2:30, 5:30 - Disc connected K-9 Frisbee dogs
- 3:30 p.m. - Pilot meet-and-greet
- 6:30 p.m. - Hot air balloon mass ascension
- 6:45 p.m. - Tethered hot air balloon rides
- 8:30 p.m. - Hot air balloon glow
The festival grounds close at 10:30 p.m. Admission to the festival is free for everyone.