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Every third weekend in October, the skies over Statesville, N.C., are filled with colorful hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes as the annual Carolina BalloonFest takes over the town for three days of fun-filled activities. A perfect way to usher in the fall season, festival goers can bask in the crisp Carolina autumn weather while hot air balloons soar overhead.

Hot air balloon launches occur twice a day, once in the early morning and again in the late afternoon, with a total of five flights scheduled throughout the three-day festival. Many of the participating pilots will take part in competitions, skillfully completing tasks as spectators watch from below. Do keep in mind that all ballooning activities are weather dependent for the safety of the pilots and the crowds.

In between launches, there’s plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Guests can purchase hot air balloon rides with participating pilots or take a tethered balloon ride. You also can enjoy live music from local musicians, walk through the artisan village and marketplace, or stroll through the wine and craft beer tasting garden. Don’t forget to taste the local fare, as plenty of vendors will be on hand with tasty treats.

Carolina BalloonFest has entertained the region for more than 40 years. The event is organized by National Balloon Rally Charities Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and a percentage of the proceeds from the event are donated to local nonprofit organizations in Iredell County.

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and blankets if you plan on watching the launches. Ticket prices vary, based on the day and whether admission is purchased in advanced or the day of. However, children ages 12 and under are admitted for free during all three days of the event.

Dates: October 20-22, 2017

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