What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Get ready to glow: Wake County to host hot air balloon festival in 2015

Posted December 18, 2014
Updated December 19, 2014

— Look up in awe! A major hot air balloon festival and skills competition is coming to Wake County on Memorial Day weekend.

The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest launches Friday, May 22, with a balloon "glow" at sunset. The fun continues with balloon rides and races and other family fun through Monday, May 25.

Events will take place in Zebulon, at Bennett Bunn Plantation, and in north Raleigh, at Spring Forest Road Park.

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said she's excited to bring the festival to the city.

"It's especially fun that there will be a peace event in Zebulon and Raleigh. We're really looking forward to this," she said. "We've had a lot of success with large festivals. Raleigh really does love the events that have something for everybody."


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  • Barbara Sossomon Mar 27, 2015
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    We lived in Rapid City, SD for 6 years. They have 2 or 3 balloon events each year. Loved to see all of the interesting balloons. Looking forward to this, but I would like to know what they mean about "peace" event. This sounds like something fun. Don't want to have a bunch of quacks there creating trouble.

  • etshoney Dec 19, 2014

    What, exactly is a "peace event". That's what the mayor said it was. I certainly hope they are not turning this into a political rally.

  • Michael Hart Dec 19, 2014
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    don't land in my yard you won't get your Balloon back.....

  • Eq Videri Dec 19, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    Good thing it never happens...





  • Obama-in-2016 Dec 19, 2014

    Interesting...has North Korea approved this?

  • Doug Hanthorn Dec 19, 2014
    user avatar

    Another thing you can do to tell if your pilot is qualified to take you up is ask to see his license. In order to take you up for money, he must have a commercial pilot's license, not a private license. A private pilot can ask you to share the expenses of that one individual flight with him, but if he is charging full fare like all the other commercial pilots, he needs a commercial license.

    Another thing to ask about is if he has insurance. He doesn't have to have it, so that would be a warning flag if he didn't.

  • simplylindsey2010 Dec 19, 2014

    Having lived in Albuquerque for awhile, I can tell you the baloon fest was one of the year's highlights. All the pretty colors set against a blue sky. Plus what will amaze you during a ride is how quiet it is. One word of caution for all of us. Do not avert your eyes off the road to look at the baloons when they are up in the air. Pull over and enjoy. Rear end collisions tended to escalate in Duke City during the fest.

  • heard-it-all-before Dec 19, 2014

    View quoted thread

    thanks for clarifying. i thought you were joking.

  • dwntwnboy2 Dec 19, 2014

    Finally something those "I won't go downtown" folks can go to!! LOL Sounds like a wonderful event- hope we can make it out there.

  • Doug Hanthorn Dec 19, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    Yes, there is a tell-tale in the top of the envelope to sense over temping. Typically, when you take the balloon in for the annual or 100 hour inspection, they check that. If you have exceeded the maximum temperature, then they have to do more testing of the fabric and possibly replace some. But bottom line is that the fabric gets weak over time. At every inspection they will do a "pull" test on it. Eventually, it will cost more to replace all the weak panels than to buy a new one. So, the most expensive part of the balloon wears out and gets thrown away, unlike airplanes where you typically don't have to throw away 2/3 of the plane every 5-7 years, or whatever.