Hot air balloon festival underway this weekend

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OLATHE, Kan. -- An estimated 50,000 plus people are expected to converge on Kansas City this weekend for the 4th annual U.S. Bank Great Midwest Balloon Festival. Held Friday and Saturday, August 9 and 10, on the grounds of the Great Mall of Great Plains in Olathe, the festival will feature 50 balloons, including special-shape and corporate balloons from across the country.

“My husband and I attended the nation’s largest balloon festival several years ago in New Mexico and had such a terrific time that we decided Kansas City needed it’s own festival,” Robbie Small, festival co-founder, said. “Each year we get bigger and better and frankly, with Kansas City’s reputation for being a friendly, affordable destination, we are attracting more and more families and balloon enthusiasts from all across the country.”

In addition to nightly balloon glows, tethered balloon rides, special shape balloon glows (think a giant shark in honor of Shark Week!), early morning balloon fly-in competitions, carnival rides, crafters, food vendors and food trucks, the festival will also feature:

·      Charity Challenge Balloon Race -Twenty-one local charities will be participating in the first-ever race on Friday night with one charity walking away with a whopping $10,000 First Prize.

·      Nightly concerts - Friday night the popular Celtic-pop band, The Elders, will heat up the main stage and Saturday night, the Kansas City area’s premier new country act, the Scott Peery Band will close the festival out to the best of Country’s Top 40 hits and their own rockin’ original music.

·      Culinary Challenge - Four of Kansas City’s most gifted and engaging culinary masters including KC Favorites, Jasper Mirabile (Jasper's Restaurant) and Lisa Farmer (Fox 4’s Cooking with Lisa) will be competing for bragging rights of BEST IN SHOW during an educational and entertaining culinary competition from 1-5 pm on Saturday.

·      Kite Demonstrations – The KC Kite Club will show of their aerial artistry from 2:45-5:45 pm on Saturday afternoon.

View the entire schedule of events at

Festival hours are Friday, August 9th, 4 - 11 p.m. and Saturday, August 10th, 1 -11 p.m. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-12) and 5 and under are FREE. Tickets are available at area HyVee locations, on-line at and from 21 area charities that may be found at Adult tickets are $15 at the gate.

Drawing nearly 50,000 fans over three days, the 4th Annual U.S. Bank Great Midwest Balloon Fest is conveniently located on the grounds of the Great Mall of the Great Plains, at approximately I-35 and 151st Street in Olathe. All balloon activities are subject to weather permitting. Parking is FREE.

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