Northampton to host Northeast Balloon Festival in July 

  • Matthew Burgos, owner of Inkblots and Snapshots NORTHEAST BALLOON FESTIVAL

  • Paul Sena’s hot air balloon “Thunderbuster”  PAUL SENA

For the Gazette
Published: 6/24/2019 4:26:03 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Festivalgoers can take flight at the Three County Fairgrounds July 12-14 when the second annual Northeast Balloon Festival comes to Northampton.

The event has merged with the Northeast Food Festival and Northeast Vendor Expo and will include over 30 food vendors, artisan craft vendors and kid-friendly activities, including a free petting zoo and amusement rides. The festival will also feature craft beer, live music from New England artists and more. Balloon events are weather dependent, but the rest of the festivities will go on rain or shine.

The festival runs from Friday at 3 p.m. until Sunday at 8 p.m. At least 30,000 people are expected to attend.

“Hot air ballooning is a really magical experience that you can’t recreate with any other activity,” said festival director Veronica Parsloe.

Local balloon pilot Paul Sena said he looks forward to taking to the skies from the fairgrounds.

“It’s a great venue, great for the public (and) a great buzz for the Valley,” he said while reflecting on last year’s well-attended Northeast Balloon Festival in Milford, New Hampshire.

Parsloe said she hopes to be invited back to the fairgrounds for next year’s festival. According to Parsloe, the fairgrounds offer plenty of space for both balloons and a large number of attendees.

Tethered balloon rides can be purchased on site for $20. Balloon flights, which are scheduled between 4:30 and 6:30 a.m. and at 6 p.m., must be scheduled in advance with individual pilots. According to Sena, flyers will experience scenic views of the Connecticut River, surrounding farmland and hills bordering the Pioneer Valley. Contact information and photos of pilots’ balloons are available at www.northeastballoonfestival.com.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to walk inside a balloon, take portraits in balloon baskets, and view a balloon glow on Friday and Saturday night after sunset. According to Sena, 30-foot flames will illuminate the balloons from within. Balloon illumination will be choreographed to music played over a sound system.

Live music will include artists One Time Weekend, Keepers of the Vibe, Paul Driscoll, Justin Cohn, Jon Pond and more.

Craft beer will be provided by sponsor Two Roads Brewing Company of Stratford, Connecticut. Two Roads will also park their logo-adorned 1960 Volkswagen van at the festival and host giveaways.

The New England Bacon Eating Contest will be held at the festival on Saturday, July 13 at 3 p.m. sponsored by F&W Caterers. Wristbands for rides and games will be available for purchase throughout the festival.

One-day general admission tickets and full weekend tickets are on sale for half price until July 1. Sale prices are $7.50 and $20 respectively. Weekend RV camping passes including up to eight general admission tickets also are available until July 5 at $350 or $400 depending on RV size. On-site parking costs $5 per vehicle. Handicapped accessible spots are available.

More information including lists of vendors and food trucks, a schedule of events and a link to purchase tickets can be found in addition to pilot contacts on the festival website.




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