PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (WRBL) — Balloons are coming to Callaway Resort & Gardens. Over Labor Day weekend, Callaway will host its 25th Annual Balloon Festival. The family-friendly event will begin on Friday Sept. 1, ending on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 3.
“I think that my favorite part of the event is truly the balloon glow that happens on Robin Lake Beach,” said Callaway Resort & Gardens Marketing Manager Rachael McConnell. She described sitting on the beach past sunset, watching rainbow-colored balloons lining the show light up.
McConnell, who has been part of the team planning this year’s event for the past several months said, “It’s almost like a symphony of balloons, in a way, because they are in tune to the songs that are playing by the balloon meister.”
One year, Callaway’s balloon meister directed pilots to light up their balloons to the tune of Dolly Parton’s 1980 song “9 to 5.” This year, Dan Stukas will serve as balloon meister for the first time.
On the resort and gardens’ website, one- two- and three-day passes to the festival are available for purchase. Prices range from $39.95 to $69.95, depending on age and package. Each ticket type includes admission to Callaway Gardens and all Labor Day activities, including a firework show and balloon glow.
Daily event schedules are also available on the gardens’ website. McConnell said Saturday, Sept. 2 will be the most eventful day of the weekend. This is the only day of the festival which features the “Car Cruise-In” car show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The car show will feature vintage vehicles on display and the Robin Lake Beach Dome. Saturday and Sunday will also include the “K-9s in Flight” at Robin Lake Beach, with multiple showtimes throughout the day. This performance will include stunts by canine performers, according to Callaway Gardens’ website.
According to McConnell, the Balloon Festival is a sight to behold. Though the marketing manager has lived in Columbus her whole life, she explained she didn’t know about the festival until taking on her job at Callaway.
“When I was finally able to attend it for the first time I was just blown away by the magnificence of the balloons,” said McConnel, who added she wants the festival to be a staple on her yearly calendar.
McConnell advised those looking to take tethered balloon rides on Saturday and Sunday should plan to arrive early to allow time for paying their balloon pilot.
Rides will take guests flying about 20 feet in the air and can fit one-to-three people, according to Callaway’s marketing manager. Balloon flights are weather dependent; however, conditions will be closely monitored by Stukas.
“Really, it’s just a great way to kind of sign off on the summer and enjoy the weekend,” McConnell said.