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.