Get ready to take off with the two-day Augusta hot air balloon festival

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 11:27 PM EDT
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GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Augusta Balloon Fest kicked off in colorful fashion tonight. And in what seems like the year of cancelations, it’s a chance for people to come out and look up.

Food, games, and hot air balloons: Day one of Augusta’s Hot Air Balloon Festival-- lifted off on a high note

“And we’ve already made reservations for next year. The excitement’s been that great,” Jeremy Kwaterski, an event organizer, said.

Organizers say so many festivals were already canceled this year because of the pandemic, so instead of canceling, they changed the way they do it.

“We have really strived to make an effort for social distancing and crowd control and mitigate the amount of crowd out here, so everybody can come out and enjoy safely,” Kwaterski said.

A typical show would host 20,000 to 25,000 people, but this year, they limited the capacity to 5,000 over the two days.

“Smaller, but safer,” Kwaterski said. “We were really concerned that maybe our business was over. So really what it did is it took some going back to the drawing board and redesigning how we do things.”

This year, you’ll see seven balloons in different shapes, including a turtle and an eagle.

“We like to mix it up a little bit so we have, four or five regular shape balloons what people would think of teardrop shape balloon with a basket. And then, we have, for exciting special shape balloons kind of like the Macy’s day, where we have a 180-foot-tall American eagle. That thing’s huge,” Kwaterski said.

And guests didn’t just get to see the balloons --

“Check off that bucket, list I should say, and ride in a hot air balloon,” Kwaterski said.

But if you missed today’s show, you’ll have another chance to take flight tomorrow. The flights are tethered so you won’t have to worry about landing in a field somewhere.

On top of that, the festival also includes a laser light show. You can still buy tickets on-line for tomorrow for the show on the Columbia County fairgrounds.


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