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Hot air balloon to fill Carroll County skies during festival at end of August

More than a dozen balloons will be released in the air at the end of the month. But they will not be small rubber ones filled with helium; instead, they will be much bigger balloons filled with hot air.

The Carroll County Balloon Festival, which will release three ascension flights of 15 hot air balloons, will be held at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster Aug. 28 and 29, starting at 1 p.m. on both days.

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Friendship Hot Air Balloon Company holds a balloon glow at one of its previous Balloon Festivals.
Friendship Hot Air Balloon Company holds a balloon glow at one of its previous Balloon Festivals. (Friendship Hot Air Balloon Company)

Attendees can see special shape balloons, balloon training demonstrations, walk inside the balloon and, of course, ride in the balloon. The festival will also feature music, crafts and food. It’s presented by the Friendship Hot Air Balloon Company and an official is encouraging people to register soon.

Ron Broderick, the event organizer, said he’s flown hot air balloons in Carroll County for a long time, but this is the first time he’s brought the festival to the county.

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“Carroll is a beautiful flying area and it deserves its own festival,” he said.

The one thing that could prevent flying is the weather, Broderick said, a drizzle of rain or excessive wind could stall or cancel the flight. But they add the entertainment to “keep it a fun-filled event.”

He said the walk-trough of the balloon is an “attention-getter.” And of course, so are the balloon flights. Tickets for the flights are sold out. Aside from the balloon flights, the festival will also have tethered balloons that will lift the baskets 60 to 80 feet in the air but remain in place.

On Saturday night, balloons will glow in the dark for 20 minutes, which Broderick said will be a “magnificent view.”

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What Broderick is most excited about, he said, is the ceremony that will be held to honor the front-line COVID-19 workers at the hospital taking place at 6 p.m. each night.

“That’s going to be a big deal for me,” he said.

Other activities include a balloon training demonstration, special shape balloons and a kids zone.

Tickets for those 12 years old and older are $20 and $5 for those ages 6 to 12. Children under 6 can attend for free.

Broderick said tickets are sold online and encouraged people to buy their tickets early.

For more information about the festival, go to carrollcountyballoonfestival.com.

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