11:43 AM EDT, May 16, 2013
Turf Valley's annual Preakness Celebration Hot Air Balloon Festival kicks off Thursday afternoon, and has some new attractions.
Aside from its famous balloon glow at night, tethered rides and fly-away rides, the festival will have several food trucks and a model search contest for teens, ages 12-17.
The winner of the model contest, held by local service Model Rehab, will be given a $2,300 prize package, according to Regina Ford, director of marketing at Turf Valley.
Hot-air balloon launches will take place 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 17, and 6:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18. Evening activities run from 4 – 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The only Saturday event is the early-morning balloon launch.
Admission to the festival is free. Public parking will be available off-site at the Howard County Fairgrounds for the evening events. For the 6:30 a.m. balloon launches, parking will be available only at Turf Valley. Fairground parking is $5 per car. Shuttle buses will be available to and from Turf Valley. The last shuttle departs Turf Valley at 10:30 p.m.
To get a bird's-eye view from Tailwinds Over Frederick's miniature hot air balloon, and to see more of the featured balloons, watch the video above.