I grew up in upstate New York where you saw hot air balloons almost daily in the spring, summer and fall. So I'm so excited to check out the second WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest, which is in Fuquay-Varina this year.
The event includes 35 beautiful hot air balloons in the sky over Fuquay-Varina, along with live music, military equipment and interactive displays, dozens of your favorite kinds of festival food, 40,000 square feet of amusements geared for the kids, a craft beer and wine garden, and the Merchant, Arts & Crafts Village.
The festival happens at Fuquay-Varina's Fleming Loop Park.
Some tips if you go ...
If you are like me and have some early risers at your house, get there at 6 a.m. to see the morning balloon flights - one of the best times to see the balloons. Depending on wind and weather, pilots go out and fly back to the park or they will launch from the park.
If you're interested in a tethered balloon ride, which will take you 30 to 40 feet off the ground, the event's website has much more information on the guidelines.
Parking is $10 per car and there is no parking at the park. There is a network of shuttles, buses, trolleys and trams to handle nearly 10,000 cars from four lots. The festival's website has the details and addresses.
A portion of the festivals's proceeds help support a variety of military organizations and charities including AMVETS Service Foundation, US Veterans Corp and MMIA.