Another favorite summer event for our family, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Balloon Classic/Jackson-Belden Food Fest & Fireworks kicks off this Friday, July 20, and runs through Sunday, July 22, at Kent State University at Stark and Stark State College campuses.
Approximate times for scheduled flights, weather permitting, will be Friday at 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. There will be 58 awesome sport, commercial and special shape hot air balloons, including The Pig, Annie the Ladybug and Clown-N-Around. The participating pilots have impressive credentials and hail from 14 different states, including 36 from Ohio and include two international champions.
The Dawn Patrol will take place on Friday, July 20, at 5 a.m. If you are an early bird, you won’t want to miss this photo opportunity! Pilots will take off in the dark and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites. These balloons create a very strange appearance in the early-morning sky, especially to those on the ground never having experienced this show in the past.
Additional ballooning activities over the weekend include:
- Some pilots will compete in a team format for a prize package valued at $19,000, while others will fly “fiesta” in a non-competitive format.
- All will participate in a $3,000 Pole Grab, where the pilots will maneuver their balloons over a pole erected on the launch field and attempt to grab the cash from the top of the pole.
- 19 pilots will participate in the “Night Glow,” sponsored by Fresh Express/Fishers Foods, on Friday at 9:45 p.m. when they illuminate their balloon envelopes while tethered at the launch field.
- The Balloon Education Area, sponsored by Uncrustables, will provide a special opportunity for adults and children to enter a fully inflated balloon envelope and learn about the envelope, balloon basket and burners.
Great food and entertainment are also on tap at the Jackson-Belden Food Fest & Fireworks on Friday and Saturday evenings. There will be a variety of food from more than 20 vendors, a playground of inflatables for children, and musical concerts.
Friday night concerts include performances by Brighter Side at 4 p.m., Wild West Band at 6 p.m., and Buckle Down at 9 p.m. Saturday night’s line-up starts with Messy Face at 5 p.m., followed by OFHUMAN at 7 p.m., with Downplay at 9 p.m. and again at 10:30 p.m. at the conclusion of the fireworks. Food Fest hours are Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11:30 p.m., with a spectacular fireworks display on Saturday at 10 p.m.
For more information, visit www.profootballhofef.com.