Balloon Fest takes to the air next weekend

By Ashley M. Casey

Oswego County will be holding its first balloon festival June 6-8 at the Oswego County Fairgrounds in Sandy Creek.

The event, organized by All Over Events of Pulaski, will feature more than 10 hot air balloons, live music, local craft and food vendors, and activities for kids.

“I just thought we needed a little more to do in Oswego County, and the balloons are beautiful,” said festival coordinator Melissa Stevens of All Over Events. “They always have the one in Syracuse, so I thought we should have one up here.”

Stevens was a craft vendor at the 2013 Jamesville Balloonfest, near Syracuse, and began researching the possibilities of a festival for Oswego County. She chose the fairgrounds in Sandy Creek for its availability and its aesthetic appeal.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property,” she said.

Scott and Peter Griswold of Above All Balloon Rides of Syracuse will provide balloon rides. Call Peter Griswold at 263-6124 to schedule a balloon ride in advance.

The Griswolds helped found the Jamesville Balloonfest.

Stevens said booking the bands was the “easiest part of planning the whole thing.” Among the 14-artist lineup is Chris Taylor and the Custom Taylor Band of Syracuse, the Fulton Chain Gang of Old Forge, and Frostbit Blue of Oswego.

All Over Events is teaming up with several local organizations for the Balloon Fest. Local sponsors include Tunes 92, Port City Blue Print, Zink Shirts and Wolf Radio. A portion of the Balloon Fest’s proceeds will benefit Music for the Mission of Syracuse.

Media sponsor CNY Central is running commercials on channels 3, 5 and 6.

A Facebook page for the Balloon Fest has gained nearly 1,500 likes.

“The response so far has been really good,” Stevens said. “We’re selling tickets in Syracuse and Liverpool, and I didn’t think we would.”

Stevens said she is hoping for 3,000 people to attend the balloon fest. The

emergency management team is prepared for up to 6,000.

With most of the details in place, the only thing left to do is watch the forecast.

“There is no ‘plan B’ for hot air balloons. If the weather isn’t good, they can’t launch,” Stevens said. “I’ve been watching the weather for two weeks now … The majority of the time, it looks really good.”

The Oswego County Balloon Fest takes place June 6, 7 and 8 at the Oswego County Fairgrounds on Ellisburg Street in Sandy Creek.

Come watch the balloons launch from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and 5:45 to 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Balloon glows will begin at 8:30 Friday and Saturday nights.

Presale tickets to the Balloon Fest are available for $8. The ticket price at the gate will be $10. Children 10 and under get in for free.

For more information, visit facebook.com/OswegoCountyBalloonFestival or email Melissa Stevens at alloverevents@yahoo.com.

See The Valley News’ event listing for the Balloon Fest here.

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