Catch the thrill and excitement as hot air balloons float over Lakewood Ranch during the Florida Balloon Festival for three fascinating days on October 3 -5. Kicking off the Lakewood Ranch 2014 Tour of Homes, the Florida Balloon Festival is being held on the lush grounds of the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch.
A great attraction for the whole family, the days are filled with activities for fun lovers of all ages, and the early evening hours feature the beauty of the Balloon Glow, a stunning show with special colored lighting effects to choreographed music.
During the day, the green fields of the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch will host kid’s games and activities such as face painting, a Bounce House and other diversions including a Saturday morning Kids’ Dash, held in conjunction with a 5K Fun Run and Walk. Adults can stroll among the offerings of local crafts people and enjoy varied fare and beverages as provided by Suncoast Food Trucks and area restaurants or get a close-up view of the magical giant Hot Air Balloons, and even take a balloon ride.
The “Balloonmeister” who oversees the lift-off and landing of the gaily-trimmed vessels of the air at the Lakewood Ranch Hot Air Balloon Festival is Bill Whidden, an accomplished FAA certified commercial balloon pilot. He has logged over 2700 hours of flight time, and has been a consultant to balloon
festival organizers for more than twenty years, as well as serving as the Balloonmeister for over 100 events across the country.
Three special events benefiting important local non-profit organizations add to the appeal of the Florida Balloon Festival. The first extraordinary occasion on Friday night is a Balloon Glow dinner supporting the work of the Food Bank of Manatee County. A Wild, Wild East Barbecue on Saturday night will benefit the Humane Society of Manatee, while on Sunday The Manatee Education Foundation will be the beneficiary of a Grand Sunday Brunch. All three special events will include musical and dance entertainment co-hosted by the Sarasota International Dance Festival and the Del Couch Music Education Foundation.
Hours of the Festival on Friday, October 3rd are from 4 pm – 8 pm, on Saturday, October 4th from 9 am – 8 pm (with the 5 K Fun Run and Walk and Kid’s Dash starting at 8 am, registration at 7 am). On Sunday, October 5th the Festival is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
For more information, or to make reservations for the special dinners or the Sunday brunch, refer to the website, www.floridaballoonfestival.com, or call 1-800-661-0823.