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Up, up and away in RI’s South County balloon fest

Posted by Paul Kandarian  May 25, 2013 11:31 AM

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The 35th annual South County Hot Air Balloon Festival runs July 19-21 at the athletic fields of the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, an event that started as a small group of balloon enthusiasts and is now a full-blown Rhode Island summer fair, with carnival rides, games, overnight RV camping and arts and crafts show. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wakefield, R.I., the event has raised more than $1.5 million over the years, all going to local scholarships and charities, organizers said. About 10 balloonists will show off their aircrafts July 19 and 20, with a “Balloon Glow,” accompanied by a Friday night concert by Roomful of Blues, and Saturday night fireworks. 

Balloonists will give tethered rides during each “Glow” event, with balloons tied to the ground and floating up about 150 feet, with the flames heating the balloons also lighting them up in the night sky. The Kansas City BBQ Competition returns this year to a festival proven to be one of the most popular in the state, with Yankee magazine rating it a Top 20 R.I. event from 2010-2013. 

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 14 and under, with $25 charged for family admission. Parking is free, and RV camping is available. For information, visit www.southcountyballoonfest.com

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