Hot air balloons fill the sky over OWA May 12-14

By Melanie LeCroy
Lifestyle Editor
melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 5/11/22

The 18th-annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival will fill the grounds and sky around OWA with over 50 balloons May 12-14. The annual event draws balloons and spectators from across the country …

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Hot air balloons fill the sky over OWA May 12-14

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The 18th-annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival will fill the grounds and sky around OWA with over 50 balloons May 12-14. The annual event draws balloons and spectators from across the country each year. In 2021, the event was named the Event of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department.

The family friendly event is full of high-flying adventure, entertainment, arts and craft vendors and more each day. Balloon flights, nightly balloon glows and tethered rides (weather permitting) add to the fun at dawn and dusk. Don't miss seeing the three uniquely shaped balloons this year; Humpty from Kentucky, Laska the Unicorn from Florida and Sunny Boy (a giant sun shaped balloon) from Georgia.

The festival opens at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 12 with food, arts and crafts and retail vendors and live music. The Tip Tops take to the stage at 7 p.m. and a balloon glow will fill the sky at 7:30 p.m. (weather and wind permitting).

Tickets can be purchased at gulfcoastballoonfestival.com for tethered rides and the V.I.P. Experience. A full schedule of events is also available on the festival website. The festival grounds are located at 100 North OWA Boulevard, Foley.

Here is the entertainment lineup for the festival weekend:

Thursday, May 12
• 5 to 10 p.m. - Festival open to the public
• 5 to 7 p.m. - Yeah, Probably
• 7 to 9 p.m. - The Tip Tops
• 7:30 p.m. - Balloon glow begins

Friday, May 13
• 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. - Festival open to the public
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Gypsy Spark
• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo at meet and greet tent
• 1:15 to 1:30 p.m. - Legends sneak peek

• 2 to 3:30 p.m. - Jenna McClelland
• 2 to 4 p.m. - Interactive hot air balloon display (weather permitting)
• 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. - Hot air balloon pilots at meet and greet tent
• 4 to 6 p.m. - Southern Approach
• 5 to 7 p.m. - Miss Alabama, Lauren Bradford at meet and greet tent
• 6 to 8 p.m. - 56 Low
• 7:30 p.m. - Tethered rides and balloon glow begin (weather permitting)
• 8 to 10 p.m. - Miles Flatt Band

Saturday, May 14
• 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. - Festival open to the public

• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo at meet and greet tent
• 11:30 to 11:45 a.m. - Legends sneak peek and national anthem
• 12 to 12:45 p.m. - Poarch Creek Pow Wow Club and Tribal Dancers
• 1 to 2:30 p.m. - Mario Mena Band
• 2 to 4 p.m. - Interactive hot air balloon display (weather permitting)
• 2:30 to 2:45 p.m. - Legends sneak peek
• 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. - Hot air balloon pilots at meet and greet tent
• 3 to 4 p.m. - DJ Tim Brown
• 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. - Kirk Jay
• 5 to 7 p.m. - Miss Alabama, Lauren Bradford at meet and greet tent
• 7:30 p.m. - Tethered rides and balloon glow begin (weather permitting)
• 7 to 10:30 p.m. - Velcro Pygmies

It is important to note that hot air balloons are extremely weather dependent and flight/glow times may be delayed. Balloons are only visible at dusk and dawn, weather permitting.

Three, off-site shuttle locations will be available at Tanger Outlets, Liberty Church and Irwin Square. Park off-site and ride the shuttle for free to beat the traffic. Shuttles run from 2 until 11 p.m. Friday and from noon until 11 p.m. Saturday.

For the complete list of activities, visit gulfcoastballoonfestival.com/schedule.

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