Chattanooga Balloon Festival kicks off

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Chattanooga Balloon Festival kicked off on Friday, despite the recent rainy and windy weather we’ve had in the area.

The Tennessee River Park was getting transformed. On Friday afternoon, preparations were underway for the Chattanooga Balloon Festival.

“Well I enjoy meeting the crowd, particularly the children. Who does not love a balloon? Young kids from 8 to 80 love hot air ballooning,” said Robert Willbanks, the balloon meister.

Jeremy Kwaterski, the festival director, says they’ve had to work around recent storms.

“We have been in the rain and mud for days, but today is a beautiful day. We are expecting the wind, the wind is a little bit high right now, but we are expecting it to drop down,” Kwaterski said.

In addition to the balloons, there are different booths set up, including one for Special Olympics Tennessee.

They say this is a great way for people to donate and learn how to get involved.

“All of our athletes compete at no cost to them, so everything we do is completely driven by donations and sponsorships and partnerships like these. We have about 1100 athletes in our local area and we serve ten counties. So all of those athletes are driven by these donations and participation,” said Jennifer McAfee, with Special Olympics Tennessee.

People are looking forward to show off their hot air balloons.

“After three days of absorbed rain and high wind, it is a great opportunity for the local family to bring their children out and enjoy the activities today and tomorrow,” Willbanks said.

Organizers are optimistic the weather will cooperate.

“Maybe we will get started a little bit later than we anticipated, but as long as there is a line here, we will keep taking people to ride the balloons,” Kwaterski said.

The festival started on Friday, from 4 p.m to 10 p.m. and will continue on Saturday, at 4 p.m.

Categories: Featured, Local News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *