The 22nd annual Great Falls Balloon Festival, set for August 15 through 17 in Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston, will feature a pirate-themed weekend. Visitors and area residents will enjoy the sight of dozens of hot air balloons – including featured entries Pegleg Pete and Sunny Boy – as they take to the skies over the Androscoggin River and Great Falls. Balloon launches will take place Friday through Sunday at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., weather permitting. Balloon rides will be available; arrange in advance at www.greatfallsballoonfestival.org.
When balloons aren’t floating overhead, the Festival will offer plenty of family entertainment. Concession stands run by local nonprofit groups will serve everything from fried dough to taco salads, including a pancake breakfast following each morning’s launch. Along the walkway, which follows the river and winds along the edge of the festival grounds, craft and trade booths will invite browsing. A children’s area with a bounce house, miniature horse rides, games and face painting will please kids of all ages.
Live entertainment will include children’s shows and musical performances ranging from blues to jazz to rock and oldies. There will also be a festival parade, carnival rides, and various demonstrations and contests. Family Fun Day on Sunday will feature free face painting, balloon twisting and more. Admission to the festival is free, though concessions and some activities will charge fees.
Since 1992, the Great Falls Balloon Festival has provided fundraising opportunities for local nonprofit groups while celebrating the Twin Cities community and promoting the Lewiston-Auburn area as a visitor destination. Thanks to the cooperative efforts of the cities of Lewiston and Auburn, an army of volunteers and the generosity of valued local businesses, the Festival has grown into a truly memorable event, with annual attendance estimated at over 100,000, a financial impact in excess of $2,000,000, and tens of thousands of dollars raised by participating nonprofits. For more information, follow the Festival on Facebook and Twitter, call (800) 639-6331, or see www.greatfallsballoonfestival.org.