With just over two weeks to go, New Haven is gearing up for the 29th Pepsi Balloon Race and Balloon Festival on Friday and Saturday, September 21-22, at City Park.
The free event starts with a Balloon Glow Friday night and continues Saturday with a parade, concessions and children’s activities at the park and the race itself, which usually starts around 5 p.m., weather permitting
Park Drive will be closed for all events and spectators are encouraged to park on Lions Drive or in the New Haven High School and Municipal Swimming Pool parking lots.
The Balloon Glow, sponsored by Pepsi, offers spectators an up close view of inflated hot air balloons lighted by their burners. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The public can walk around the balloons and meet the pilots. Limited concessions are available for purchase on the park grounds.
The Balloon Glow is held at the New Haven City Park and is a walk through event only. The Balloon Glow is free and open to the public.
Pepsi sponsors the race and glow and the New Haven Chamber of Commerce sponsors the parade and the festival in the park.
Race day kicks off with a parade at 2 p.m., followed by a festival in the park. Bounce houses are offered for the kids, who can bounce all day for $5. Refreshments and food are available for purchase.
Parade entries for the "Serving Our Community and Our Country" are now being accepted. There is no cost to enter. The top prize is a $300 donation to the local charitable organization or civic cause of the winner's choice.
Entries of all types will be considered. Contact co-chairmen Laura Murdock (573-237-1393) or Ruth Wiemann (573-237-3439) for more information. They can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Forms may be picked up at any of the three New Haven banks or clipped from this week’s Independent News.
The parade begins at New Haven Elementary School and ends at the American Legion. The parade route is left on Miller Street, left on Maiden Lane, left on Maupin Avenue, right on Emmons Street, left on Douglas Street, across Highway 100 to Park Drive.
Lineup for the 2 p.m. parade starts at 1 p.m. in the grade school parking lot and along Elton Street. The trophy presentation will be held after the last entry arrives and the judges’ scores are tallied.
The balloons begin inflating for launch between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., weather permitting.
The race begins when the lead “hare” balloon takes off ahead of the pack. Over 20 “hound” balloons then launch in pursuit. The hound balloon that drops its bean bag closest to the hare balloon’s landing site will be declared the winner.
For information about concession booths and other Festival matters, contact chairman Craig Montgomery at 314-805-9542 or email NHChamberSite@gmail.com.