Balloon Glows event returns to East Ridge
Event to be held at Camp Jordan, tethered rides to be offered
EAST RIDGE, Tenn. (WDEF) — There were plenty of residents looking to catch a ride in a hot air balloon Friday night or just to watch those that were airborne with the sunset fading, but Mother Nature had other plans.
Although Friday’s weather kept the fleet grounded, the event’s organizer is still optimistic for the weekend ahead.
The family-friendly Balloon Glows Event has returned to East Ridge yet again.
Over the weekend, residents of all ages will be able to enjoy plenty of food vendors, bounce houses and, of course, tethered hot air balloon rides.
“A lot of people don’t know what a tether ride is but that gives you an opportunity to go up and down in a hot air balloon,” said Event Director Vicki Fogue. “But it’s tied off to the ground, so you won’t actually be doing a flight over town. They just get a taste of what it’s like to go in a hot air balloon.”
Fogue says the East Ridge community has always been welcoming to the event — something she sees as a perfect spectacle for those who can’t make it to bigger events, such as Albuquerque, New Mexico’s International Balloon Fiesta.
It’s a weekend that doesn’t just feature a variety of hot air balloons, but a variety of pilots, as well, such as 20-year-old Connor Fogue — Vicki’s son.
“It’s a fun experience,” Fogue said. “I always got told from my grandma, ‘something new and different’s always good’ — this was the ballon grandma, of course.”
The fear of heights isn’t uncommon or unwelcomed among visitors.
Fogue says during her time overseeing the festival, she’s seen residents throw caution to the wind and face their fears.
“I’ve had people just white-knuckling, holding on to the uprights and they’re scared to death until they get out,” Fogue said. “This one lady I took the other night, she kind of squealed the whole time and I said, ‘just take some deep breaths, look out,’ and she was so glad she did it and checked that off her bucket list that she got to go in a hot air balloon.”
For those who aren’t afraid of touching the sky and taking a ride this weekend, the event will be held both Saturday and Sunday at Camp Jordan from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Connor Vogue says if there are still lines in the late hours, they aren’t afraid of staying open just a little longer.