by KAITLYN NAPLES
The Plainville Fire Company is already planning its 28th annual Hot Air Balloon Festival & Outdoor Arts and Crafts Show, which is one of the biggest events in town every year. The festival, which is full of craft vendors, food and hot air balloons, is being held this year on Friday, Aug. 24 to Sunday, Aug. 26, and the company is looking for crafters and vendors interested in participating.
“We are always looking for hand-crafted materials,” chairman of the festival committee Will Donovan said, adding that he sees the trade diminishing. “The commercial stuff is nice to have, but we are finding it difficult to find those hand-crafted items. We want them to come show us their work.”
Crafted item booths are $100, and commercial merchandise or publicity booths are $150 for the weekend. Vendors interested should fill out an application that must be submitted by Monday, July 30. There will be a $25 fee for vendors who register after the deadline of July 30. Vendors can begin to check-in on Friday at noon and all booth sites are pre-assigned. Applications can be found on the fire company’s website at www.plainvillefireco.com/Balloon_Festival.
Donovan said the fire company is trying out some new merchandise designs this year on the t-shirts, sweatshirts and lawn blankets, which he said are perfect for watching the fireworks.
Also new this year is some added entertainment. On Saturday, there will be entertainment from noon until 10 p.m. including a comedian, a hypnotist and some music, all of which are family friendly.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Donovan said, adding that the weekend is geared to be a family fun event. “Instead of going back to the town for more money (in the budget) we try to raise some money on our own.” Donovan said some of the proceeds from the balloon festival go towards scholarships given to local Plainville students.
“It’s our way to give back to the people that give to us throughout the year,” he said.
The 28th annual festival will open up on Friday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. at Norton Park on South Washington Street. There is a schedule of live music all weekend, which will kick off at 6 on Friday and go until 9:45. There will be a balloon glow from 8:15 until 9 p.m., followed by a fireworks display.
On Friday night, some of the balloonists will offer tethered rides for a nominal fee, however flights can be obtained by prior arrangement through the individual balloon companies, and guests can arrange future flights with balloonists, at the festival, especially in time for the fall.
On Saturday, the festival will open up at 6 a.m. with a balloon launch, and an all-day craft fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There also will be a car show from noon until 5 p.m. on Saturday and another balloon launch at 6 p.m. On Sunday, there will be a final balloon launch at 6 a.m. to finish off the festival for the weekend. Parking and admission are free and there is handicapped parking and motorcycle parking.
For more information on crafters and vending and the festival, visit the Plainville Fire Company’s website as well as its Facebook page for updates.