South County Hot Air Balloon Festival
Presented by Rotary Club of Wakefield
July 19 - July 21, 2013
In the air, or on the ground, there is something for everyone at the 35th annual South County Hot Air Balloon Festival on July 19-21 at the URI Athletic Fields on Route 138 in South Kingstown, RI. Approximately 10 balloonists will show off their balloons Friday and Saturday evening with the Balloon Glow accompanied by a Friday evening concert and fireworks on Saturday night. The Kansas City BBQ Competition will return Saturday and Sunday. The festival kicks off Friday evening with the Balloon Glow. The balloonists give tethered rides during the glow, meaning the balloons are tied to the ground and fly about 150 feet off the ground. The flames that heat the balloons also light them up, giving off a warm “glow” in the darkening sky Friday and Saturday night. Longer rides can be negotiated for Saturday and Sunday with the individual pilots. The festival was rated a Top 20 Rhode Island event by Yankee Magazine in 2011, 2012 and again for 2013. During the Friday evening glow, Roomful of Blues will perform. Enjoy the music, spread out a blanket or relax in a lawn chair while eating dinner from the numerous food vendors. There is plenty to do at the fields throughout the weekend. Bwana Jim will host his Wild Animal Show each day and the Cannon Lady will provide thrills as she is shot through the air several times each day. Try fishing at the Catch & Release pond, take a pony ride, visit the petting zoo, or watch the radio controlled airplanes and other shows and demonstrations. In its three and a half decades in existence, the Balloon Festival has grown from a small gathering of balloon enthusiasts to a full-fledged Rhode Island summer fair, complete with carnival rides and games, overnight RV camping and arts and crafts shows. BBQ fans can watch the second Annual Rhode Island State BBQ Championship on Sunday. Local grilling champs will vie for the top spot and a chance to head to Tennessee in August for the Kansas City Barbeque Society National Barbeque championship in Jack Daniels Hollows, in August. Saturday will feature a “People’s Choice” chicken wing cook-off from 1-3 p.m. Interested tasters can purchase tickets which will allow them to taste BBQ wings prepared by the teams and then vote for their favorite. Admission to the festival for adults is $10 and children 14 and under $5, all weekend. Families (mom, dad and kids) are $25. Parking is free. RV camping is available on site. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wakefield. This event has raised over $1.5 million with the help of your support. All proceeds go to local scholarships and charities. For more information visit www.southcountyballoonfest.com.