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Charlotte, North Carolina
November 28, 2010
From journal Full Funnery 2010
March 9, 2006
If you happen to be in NC this June 2nd to 4th, head to Statesville and keep your eye toward the sky. The Statesville fairgrounds are the setting for the 33rd annual Balloon Rally.
The event is the second oldest balloon event in the United States. Only Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been hosting these multihued and dazzling balloons longer. Between 30 to 40 balloons compete in this nationally sanctioned event for cash prizes. Through the weekend there are sunrise ascents, the moon glow displays in the evening after the balloons have returned, and a mass ascent in the afternoon that draw the biggest crowds.
You will see balloons in an array of bold and dazzling hues, animal characters, and company sponsored balloons. Make sure that you find your way to the end field early and secure a vantage spot for optimal balloon viewing. John and I had a fantastic spot last year that ended up being right beside of one of the teams. We were able to see all of the work that goes into getting these guys afloat. Make sure to bring a blanket or chairs for comfort.
While waiting for the balloons there are a few things to keep you occupied. There are a number of booths selling everything from homemade crafts, to organizations selling chances on cruises and cars. There are musical performances throughout the day. Most, however, are county music or bluegrass. To keep your tummy and taste buds happy, check out the variety of stalls selling food. You can find burgers, hotdogs, snacks, and of course, barbecue. There is also a section with rides and entertainment for the small fries in your group.
Last year was our first venture to the rally. I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed. The balloons themselves were amazing. But once they lift off there isn’t much to do unless you’re into country music, which we're not. The event runs the whole weekend and your ticket is good for the entire time. You can come and go as often as you like.
You’re never too old to marvel as these balloons fill the air with color and silently drift away, allowing your imaginations to take flight. Even if you come for nothing else, the balloons are the stars of the show and well worth the 30-minute drive from Charlotte to here. Last years admission was $10 for the whole weekend. There is parking on the fairgrounds for $2. The money is used for local charities, so make sure you park here and help someone while you’re at it. Don’t even think of parking at nearby business, as you will surely be towed. The big signs around will remind you of that. For more information go to www.statesvillechamber.org.
From journal Come… Have Fun in NC