Saturday begins the hot air balloon festival in Dandridge

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The event included a children’s fair, food trucks, live music and of course hot air balloon rides.

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. – Residents of Jefferson County may have spotted the colorful spots in the sky on Saturday. It was part of the Lakeside of the Smokies Balloonfest — one of Dandridge’s largest festivals.

The event featured around 20 hot air balloons, but some remained on the grounds as a static display. However, some also flew through the sky carrying people eager to get a view of the Great Smoky Mountains from above. It was organized during a working hay fair.

At night, people might also be lucky enough to see a “Hot Air Balloon Glow”. This is the result of the way balloons inflate, using fire located near the center of the balloon. At night, they can look like giant light bulbs floating towards the clouds.

Organizers said the pilots would coordinate “all the burns” at night, which is when they turn on the burners at the same time and put on a flickering screen.

The event is hosted by Jefferson County Festival Charities, which strives to “promote community, camaraderie and friendship throughout Jefferson County and Appalachia.” They also work to educate people about Jefferson County agriculture and teach them to balloon.

There was also a display of antique tractors, craft vendors, live music as well as wine and beer gardens. Children also had the chance to have fun with bouncy houses, games and an obstacle course. anyone wishing to learn more about piloting hot air balloons could also ask questions at a Pilot Q&A event.

The event will also take place on Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is located at 295 West Dumplin Valley Road in Dandridge.

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