By KAITLYN NAPLES
It’s that time of the year again when summer is beginning to wind down. But summer won’t come to an end before hot air balloons take over Norton Park for the 29th year.
Next weekend, the Plainville Fire Company will hold its annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, which is its largest event and fund raiser held each year.
“Everyone enjoys coming down to a free event, and have a lot to see and do,” said Will Donovan, chairman of the festival committee.
This year festival-goers can expect different bands to be playing throughout the weekend, and better fireworks, Donovan said, adding the fireworks are his favorite part of the weekend. He added that the festival committee has been trying to get more craft vendors, and said there are at least 27 vendors already signed up for the festival.
The festival will kick off on Friday, Aug. 23, and will run until Sunday morning. The festival begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, with music beginning at 7 p.m. There will be food and craft vendors all weekend, and the balloons will be set up and ready for a balloon glow at dusk. The fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m. on Friday as well, and music will go on until 10 p.m. The festival starts back up again at 5 a.m. Saturday morning with a balloon launch at 6 a.m. Donovan said the balloon launch is one of the best sites to see “especially if the weather is good.”
“It is really amazing to see about 20 balloons take off in one spot. It’s truly something to see,” Donovan added.
The car show will go from noon to 5 p.m., and there will be bands playing throughout the day. There also will be a hypnotist from 5 to 6 p.m., and another balloon launch at 6 p.m. There will be food, crafts and entertainment until 10 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday morning another balloon launch will take place at 6 a.m., bringing the festival to a close.
“Everybody has a good time,” Donovan said, adding that the Plainville community is supportive of the fire company and its causes. The money made from the balloon festival goes towards the scholarships that are handed out to college-bound students, and also donations that are made to local non-profit organizations.
“We are always looking to help out our local community and the non-profits that need it,” Donovan said.
The balloonists may also be offering 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.
Norton Park is located on South Washington Street, and at the festival, 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, www.plainvillefireco.com, as well as its Facebook page for updates and an updated schedule of events. For further information or inquiries about the festival, email firstname.lastname@example.org.