Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest comes to a close Monday with hot air balloon competition flights and a flag ceremony.
Sunday's morning competition flights were canceled due to weather, but event organizers have given the "okay" for Memorial Day's off-the-ground festivities, which began at 6:30 a.m.
Pilots first have to find a spot to take off, then they race to see who can get in the air the first. They'll have to hit certain targets along the way.
The festival grounds will close at 12 p.m., but not before pilots compete mid-air and veterans and military members are honored around the festival's Field of Flags.
At 11:30 a.m., the flags that have remained at the festival for its duration depart for area military cemeteries to decorate the grave sites of service members.
Residents in and around the Triangle enjoyed live music, balloon glows, tethered rides, food trucks and stands and more during the four-day event at Fleming Loop Park.
The 2017 festival brought out a record-setting 100,000 people, beating all previous years, including last year's total of 74,000.