Food

Balloons in the Sky

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Forty hot air balloons glow in the twilight, creating a kaleidoscope of colors towering more than five stories high. The balloons” pilots have lit the burners, evoking images of floating stained glass windows that dance across Robin Lake”s waters. Guests who feasted earlier on the buffet barbecue now relax to the Antebellum Brass and enjoy the view. It”s the first evening of Callaway Garden”s annual Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival, August 30 through September 1, and the sky”s the limit for this festival.

Beginning Friday evening, Callaway kicks off the hot air balloon festival with a buffet of barbecue and entertainment, then ends the evening with the balloon glow. Early risers on Saturday and Sunday can enjoy a pancake breakfast provided by the Columbus Exchange Club and watch the balloons take off at 7:15 a.m. Between the morning and evening balloon launches, many activities such as tethered balloon rides, a classic car show on Saturday, sidewalk chalk art, a rock climbing wall, ballooning demonstrations, Green Beret Parachute Jump Team demonstrations and more will be held. Live entertainment will also add to the festivities.

Would you rather be actively involved in the festival? How about being a balloon chase crewmember? Someone has to get the balloons and pilots back to Callaway Gardens, and you could help. Chase crews made up of volunteers maintain radio contact with each balloon pilot. Once the balloon lands, the chase crew drives the pilot”s vehicle to the landing site where they assist in loading the balloon, including the task of properly folding the balloon. To participate, you must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid driver”s license and be able to volunteer throughout the weekend. Each balloon needs a three or four-member chase crew. For more information on participating as a chase crewmember, call Michael Willey at 706-663-5043.

For more information on the festival, visit www.callawaygardens.com.