There is much more than just hot air balloon competition at the 9th annual MidUSA Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival on July 15-17 at Smith Park in downtown Middletown, Ohio. Admission is included in the $8 per vehicle parking fee OR $3 for those who walk in (children 12 and under free). Many on-site activities are included at no additional cost.
Friday and Saturday evenings when the park opens at 4 pm a Circus Workshop and Aerial Acrobatic performance by Cincinnati Circus will be just part of the entertainment. Team Fastrax skydivers, based at Middletown Regional Airport, will perform several times during the weekend.
Forty hot air balloons, including the Purple People Eater and Smiley, will fly out of the festival site each evening and into the site on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Of course, all balloon flights are weather permitting.
There will be tethered balloon rides, helicopter rides, tandem skydives and a trackless train. Topping off both evenings, balloons return to Smith Park for a balloon glow after dark with the Team Fastrax pyrotechnic jump.
Children are invited to walk inside a cold-air inflated balloon each evening. A Children’s Discovery Tent offers crafts and activities related to hot air ballooning. Miami University Middletown will be on hand with free kites so kids of all ages may join in the fun during a special Thunderhawk Fly-over on Saturday.
The Murray Brothers Carnival, Arts & Crafts, the best of festival foods, and Native American camp add to the opportunities on the grounds.
On Saturday morning, the balloon flight will be accompanied by a pancake breakfast on site. Saturday evening the annual classic car show will display carefully restored vehicles from days gone by.
Music during Friday evening will be by LunaMan from Radio Station WGRR. Saturday evening the featured performers on the outdoor stage will be Dueling Pianos.
The festival ends after the Sunday morning flight.
For more information and a complete listing of activities and competitors visit www.midusaohiochallenge.com or call 513-705-1770.